The hardest part of moving from Ohio to Seattle was leaving behind all my friends. I flew back there to visit once in the first year, but after that my parents had moved to Arizona and my sisters were scattered in three different locations. There was nothing pulling me back.
I was newly married, a reporter at a major metro newspaper in a very hip and happening city, and suddenly Ohio seemed very small and backward. I began to refer to Ohio as “a good place to be FROM.”
I completely, and rather deliberately, lost touch with all but one of my Ohio friends.
When my dad turned 80, in 2000, someone decided we ought to have a family reunion in Ohio. All of us girls came, along with the two brothers-in-law (I was divorced by then), and my niece. My nephew and his kids came one evening too. It’s the only time we were ALL together, I think.
During the week we spent together – which was a lovely time on Lake Erie, for me – my sister Ann had a fight with our mother and another sister. My family never had fought much. But the tension between Ann and Mom went on for months afterward, and I got in the middle of it.
Neither Ann nor I can remember how long it took to resolve this. I guess it’s another greaser.
In honor of that year, and Dad, I choose a 2000 D penny for today, my first day back in Ohio on the annual pilgrimage back.
In 2012, Ann and I began making these annual trips to Ohio to do ancestry research. In these trips, I have found a kind of absolution – and a benediction.
All the negative things I ever felt or experienced in the first 25 years of my life have mostly just been washed away.
I see the place where I grew up as simply a lovely small town on the lake. And all is forgiven.