A vast majority of people do not end up living in the town that they grew up in. Most of us move to different areas or cities and towns for job opportunities after we finish high school or college. Such is the case for myself. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota, population of around 8,000. It was my dream to move away from that small town when I finished college. I was simply bored with the small town atmosphere and lack of job opportunities. I desperately wanted to live in a large metro area. My dream came through shortly after I graduated from college. But that small town still was a part of me and has never left. I relish the times when I can go back and visit. Times have changed dramatically since my parents used to live in that small town in Minnesota. My dad passed away and my mother re-married and moved to another small town located in the state. As you can imagine, those opportunities to visit have decreased dramatically in the past years, but last weekend was another opportunity to visit during a family gathering. I could not pass it up. I just had to see my old stomping grounds again.
I think many of you can probably relate to what I went through when I went back to visit. The first thing that comes to mind is how things have changed. While driving through town at a seemingly snail’s pace compared to what I encounter here in the large metro area, I was shocked at how things have changed. Some of my favorite spots as a youth were no long there. A restaurant that I used to visit frequently in my younger days was no longer there. It was replaced by some coffee shop. Everything seemed to be so different. The street lights seemed to have a different look to them. I used to know nearly everyone in town, but now I felt like some sort of alien visiting a new area. It was a very strange feeling indeed.
My cousin, who is also a native of the town and nearly my age, decided to take a little tour of the town after the family cookout. We just had to see some of the old houses that I used to live in. So many flashbacks came to mind when we drove by those houses. All those early mornings walking to school and my family came to mind. Those houses are barely recognizable now. The new owners have change things up a lot, but the memories of those houses will never be forgotten. They will forever be etched in my life. We also paid a visit to some of our old schools that we have attended. Unlike many things in that town, the schools did not appear to have change much. The same ball field still existed that my cousin and I have very fond memories of. And of course on a personal note, memories of hanging out with my old hometown friends and a few girlfriends really came out during our tour. Some of my best and worst memories ever happened there.
Some of us live many miles from places where we grew up and we no longer have connections to those places. Why not plan a trip like I did and relive some of those long last memories? It is quite amazing to think about how our lives have changed so much since our younger days. Nothing beats visiting your old stomping grounds. Through the internet and social media, I still stay in touch with that small town. It is something that is embedded in me forever even though I am a full-fledged city boy now. Those memories of my younger years will never be forgotten.