Saturday, August 25, 2007

W is for Woodstock.

The house I've always wanted

I spent the first 24 and a half years in my town. Give or take the four years at ISU, where I only lived there for a few months each year.

I always like my town.

I remember a time, maybe eighth grade or so, when one of my good friends who had moved from Chicago a few years earlier, started to declare that Woodstock was so 'hick.' And then other friends started picking up on it as well. It always made me mad.

It really is far from hick. Try the town of 300 I spent summers in for a couple years. Or some of these towns as you work down the state. Those towns you can call hick.

I know there aren't things like chain sit-down restaurants or places to shop for clothes (unless you count Kmart, and now Walmart - ick). When I was younger, you had to drive at least 30 minutes in light traffic to go to a mall for the latest back-to-school fashions. You had to drive to the next town to go out to dinner. But we had multiple stop lights (something I've learned real hick towns tend not to have). Presentable homes, both historic and new. And a serious lack of rusted out pick up trucks and bathtubs in yards (though as I type that, I must admit someone in my parents' neighborhood does have a bathtub in their yard!). People don't have the stereotypical drawl you might associate with 'hicks.'

Things are pretty suburban without being an actual suburb.

I mean, you really can't be a suburb when you're 60 miles from Chicago and only a 20 minute drive from Wisconsin.

We had green. Corn fields and trees. And I never really thought too much about it until about 2 years ago, when Mike and I rescued a couple of his grad school friends from being stranded in Chicago. Four of us crammed in Mike's little pick-up truck driving from downtown to Woodstock to drop me off before they headed back down to Springfield, and the two city dwellers simply stated as we entered Woodstock, "wow, it's really pretty out here."

And though I was never really bothered growing up there, I never intended to stay. I thought I'd move on. Somewhere away from a 30 minute radius from the family. Growing up we were always with family. I wanted something different. I wanted a different state. That was until Bray showed up. He changed a lot of things, but made it hard to imagine leaving where I'd grown up. And Mike and I stayed, we started to lay roots.

But things changed rather quickly, and though at the time it was tough, it turns out that it was probably for the better. Not even just in the long run, but in the short run as well.

Before we left, even though it was the middle of winter, we had some really great weather. I went walking around town. Needing to capture a couple picture of things I always loved in my town. The most important being the photo at the beginning of the entry. That is "my house." The house I always dreamed of owning. Just a few blocks from the Square. A couple blocks from the library. A couple blocks to church (and the Dairy Queen). It was perfect. I even tried to talk my mom into buying it when I was younger and it was for sale. It was the spire, I think. Imagining doing something, like reading, curled up in the sun in my circle room. Or perhaps the porch. The large windows. The curved drive. I'm not really sure. But I've always been drawn to it. I have no idea what it looks like inside, but I knew it was perfect.

Now, we live, not in another state, but several hours away and are starting to plant some roots again. My loyalty will lie with Woodstock for a long time. How could it not. 24 years is a long time, but to top that off Mike and I were married there. We talk about it often, being able to take our children to the park where we were married while visiting their grandparents. A brick lays there to commemorate that day, and I think it will be an even more special trip, as we will have to make a trip to see it.

…and what entry on Woodstock would be complete without the obligatory mention that the movie 'Groundhog Day' was filmed there. It's our claim to fame.

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