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Fierce in Seattle: You Can Always Go Home — But Do You Want To?


a blogumn by Kelli Bielema
Home of the Prophets and my cousin, the hometown hero.

Home of the Prophets and my cousin, the hometown hero.

I’ve been called a dreamer, a go-getter, a spaz, impulsive, ambitious. While some of these labels garner validity, I think I’m just mostly impatient.  This would explain just one of several reasons why I could never live the rest of my life in my hometown of Prophetstown, Illinois.

After a week-long visit to celebrate my niece’s 6th birthday, I return to Seattle feeling like I’ve been gone for a month.  When I’m in P-town, as the locals dub it, life slows considerably.  There’s one grocery store, one bank, one Laundromat.  There are no stop lights in town, merely stop signs. The highest speed limit is 30, which nary a pick-up truck ever seems to reach cruising down Main Street.  I can’t recall this ever bothering me in my youth.

My brother and I were raised by two, uh, ambitious parents in the country. As a kid I always wanted to live in town, population 1700.  You could walk to the dime store, rent a video, buy a fountain pop! The possibilities were limitless for excitement in town!  Now when I return I feel stymied by the early closure of the Mini-Mart since it won’t be able to fulfill my 1 a.m. hankering for a jo-jo potato.  And what if I needed to suddenly drive far, far away, just how will I get my gas tank filled at midnight? This could likely explain the uncanny preparedness of the town folk to always have an acre of rock salt and 6 gallons of milk ready for The Big One…or Sunday.

I don’t ever discount my feelings for my upbringing or diss the town that many of my family members and childhood friends still call home.  There’s something about Prophetstown that was idyllic for me, retrospectively.  Kinda  like a John Cougar Mellencamp song.   But somehow pink houses, peace, tranquility, and no Thai food delivery options do not bode well with my current adult sensibilities.  And I don’t expect P-town to adapt to me, nor do I presume its denizens will feel right at home in Seattle.

Part of what makes this country great is that there is a place for everyone.  And once you’ve found that place, you dig your heels in and call it home. Sweet, sweet, Super Big Gulp Home.