Inside of me has always been a being that wanted to be part of a large family. What I got was a small family with it's ups and downs like all families but still after 53 years I have not changed that gypsy type vs rooted type person. Currently I am viewing this as my lack of commitment skills not being so sharp. I was born in Akron Ohio, lived there until 5 and was uprooted to live in the Rochester NY area. I lived in three different towns by the time I was in 3rd grade, the third town I lived in until I was in 9th grade. Still, I would not call those towns "home" nor even Akron for that matter because what sense of roots can you feel at 5? In 9th grade my mother remarried to a wonderful man who taught my sister and I that "Dad" was not a bad word. I was angry from being uprooted from my friends and made them pay dearly with my awful awful behavior..something I still regret to this day. My "Dad" will never know how I suffer still at how awful I was to him when all he did was offer me unconditional love. And in one short year of living there the Police Department knew me well. Thankfully I wasn't a career criminal but did have a year of the worst of decision making skills possible, lol. Still, through all that HE taught us what it was to have a "home town" and he taught us the value of community. I wish my Mom had been more a part of his community. I am the "daughter" of a volunteer Firefighter and watched a man dedicate a good 30 to 40 years to the fire department of what I consider my "home town". I remember in my early 20's I wanted to be a firefighter too and he told me no. I said I would do it anyway and he said no, I could join the Ladies Auxiliary which I took (at the time) as the highest insult. Well come on, back then I was 20 and the Ladies were all my mothers age and older! And that wasn't what I wanted to do, I wanted to save the world! He was adamant.
Forward time, I owned a house in my home town and divorced. I wanted to start "new" and moved to a neighboring town and learned what it was just to live "somewhere" not live home. Sadly, I didn't see this at the time but when I think back I remember feeling odd in my move but threw myself into work and social life. I met a man and married him, we decided we would buy property in my home town and in the meantime we would move to a town in the next county to save money to build our house. Well, best laid plans. My daughter started school there, we saw a house we liked and bought it but still didn't give up on the house build idea and then my marriage with him didn't work out. By then my daughter had just a few years of school left before she graduated so I stuck it out so she could graduate with the friends she had grown up with. It was the best of sacrifices by the way. She came out of her school years with life long friends and a sense of home. Sadly, I never did make this town that I lived in for 16-17 years "home". I was involved in many things but still always considered Webster my home. So then my move took me to yet another town surrounding Rochester which was 15 minutes closer to work for me and where my daughter was going to college. So I lived there for 3 years for her. Now this is another town that I could have gotten involved with but I didn't because in the back of my mind for 30 years now is to end up back in my "home town" to put down my roots and involve myself in all the things I wanted to do there. Are we seeing the transient trend to my life yet? It's exhausting isn't it? So now, my daughter is finished with school and she is moving in with her fiance and what did I do? Moved to yet another town, a town I do like very much, and the bonus! A 7 minute commute to work. And still, going on 2 years here and I am still not involved in my community because I STILL consider my home town my community. And if volunteerism is that important to me, wouldn't any town do? Now don't get me wrong, I am active in many ways in helping other people but it is not me really dedicating my living breathing life in helping people the way I want to.
So.. This past year has been a doozy and maybe it took this past doozy of a year to bring that mirror up for me to take a good and hard look into. I met a man who is the embodiment of what I have always wanted for myself. He is his community and he happens to be from my home town. And while I have been "home sick" for a very long time even if local, gosh, he made me even more homesick. And for years, every time I drove through town for whatever errand I had to wonder why I was not back there yet. So recently I have been ready to return "home". Seriously, my commute would be like 20 minutes instead of 7 minutes so just what is the problem? Well one is that I like being on the closer side to my kids but that is just geography, we are all still local. It is not like they are states away.
Recently I said at work.. "Oh I never felt like this area was home, I easily could pick up and move anywhere to start a new life…"
Christmas Eve morning, 2012, the incident of open fire on Firefighters showing up to put out a fire turned out to make me the largest of liars in that above statement. The Firemen that were wounded and died are from my "home town". I would have taken this incident anywhere in the world personally having grown up in a firefighters house but this was my home town and this stuck the very core of what I consider home. This man I spoke of above is a first responder as well, they are all hero's every day of their life. In the days that followed I showed up to help at that fire department and had the delightful experience of the women of my home town making me feel so welcome and remembered. Two of the senior Ladies looked me up and down and said I looked familiar and as soon as I spoke one heard my mother's voice. In June of this year I was very ill and almost didn't make it. I asked myself what would I be doing with my gift of life? For a very long time I have been ignoring the call and the hints and the things that happened that were pointing me home.
And so… it's time to go home. It's time to fulfill the legacy I want for myself. I think Genealogists and Family Historians can understand this maybe better than most.. We strive for our history and roots.
Rest In Peace and thank you for your selfless service to our community Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka.
Happy New Year to good.