I’ve always heard that age-old saying that home is where the heart is, and if that’s true, I would write mine off to a couple places.
The earliest place that comes to mind is my childhood home: an old, black and white two story house placed on a too-busy-to-play-on-road right down the street from an even more ancient landmark grocery store. Across the street lived a lady who had too many cats to count, and next door lived the man who voiced Sebastian the Crab from “The Little Mermaid,” Sam Wright.
From being enriched by some pretty diverse neighbors, I became accustomed to playing with cats and being sung “Happy Birthday” each year by Sebastian the Crab from between the backyard fence. If these experiences taught me anything, it was that it doesn’t matter how nice your house is as long as you’re doing what you love, whether it be living life covered in cat hair or becoming the only famous person to ever come from Walden by voicing characters in famous Disney films, you are still going to make a difference in the lives of others. In this case, these others just happen to be cats, small children or college aged people (me) who still have an affinity for mermaids.
Despite how strange these memories sound paired together, thinking about them makes me smile. But it also makes me a little disappointed that I don’t live there anymore. On my drives through town, I take an extra turn just to pass by this old house that holds the memories of the first eight years of my life even if it isn’t necessarily a short cut.
Another place close to my heart but not so close in location is my mother’s hometown of Street, M.D. I’m not used to seeing my family much since this is where all of them live and I’m here in New York, but when I do it seems as though nothing about this town ever changes. And that’s what I love so much about it.
At any given time, I can go down there and feel so at home and comfortable. Corn fields line the roads; trailer parks outnumber two-story homes; and everyone there is just so much friendlier there than here in New York. You can drive down the street to the store and the majority of people you’ll see will be dressed in camouflage and have their hunting dogs in the back of their pickup truck.
Being down there with my family, playing guitar and singing Lynyrd Skynyrd songs with my uncle and cousin, eating a bushel of Maryland blue crabs and hearing myself acquire more and more of a southern drawl by the second is my definition of feeling complete. This town does so much for me that New York can’t. One of my favorite memories was going down for Thanksgiving and eating dinner at my grandma’s house not even ten minutes after we’re about to explode from this huge meal she cooked for us, and she’s asking, “Y’all still hungry? Want me to fix some hot dogs?” Now that’s a Southern grandmother’s charm at its finest.
Among the cherished places that have been around for a lot of my life, a couple of months ago a new one emerged pretty unexpectedly. Over winter break, I got a message asking if I would be interesting in joining The Oracle staff, and I am so glad that I did.
In high school, I had found my niche in the Music and Performing Arts Department, and in college I have found mine in The Oracle. I can’t express enough how awesome it is to be able to see my work in print every week; to spend hours and hours working into the night in this office; and most importantly learning from and working alongside such an amazingly dedicated group of journalists who make every minute of it so rewarding. You know when people say you’ll never work a day in your life if you love what you’re doing? This is it. I’m so happy and proud to be on The Oracle, and this is only the beginning.
So, I guess you could say if you’re looking for where my heart feels at home right now, it’s probably hidden somewhere on the copy desk.