Wander, Indiana

Indiana is a foreign place. It used to be comfortable. It used to be familiar. It used to be home. It is none of that now. It is a foreign place, full of memories, hauntings, and longings of the past.

It's also where my dad lives. And my two best childhood friends. And as much as I run from this place, I keep coming back. Part of me wants to stop anything in the town from changing, keep it the same, keep it as my childhood memory had it. As if that would be a Good Thing ®.

I'm here to visit with Jessica. She recently had surgery and I wanted to visit with her, cheer her up if I could. I met her daughter Gabby for the first time. Damn, that little girl is cute! She's cute in pictures, but incredibly adorable in person. She likes posing for the camera, is a total girly girl, has lots of pink and purple clothing and the high squeaky voice of young girls. She's 5 and I can't believe this waif of a thing will be in kindergarden this year.

Jessica is doing well. She's still in pain from the surgery. Having never actually had surgery, I can only imagine how the loss of mobility can hamper one's disposition. Jess was definitely in good spirits, though, which is way more than I would be if the situation was reversed.

Jessica's husband David came home with Gabby while I was there. After Gabby and I played with the eyeToy (must get one of these, it's hysterical), and she wandered off, David, Jess and I took a trip down memory lane. And it was quite the entertaining road.

We talked about

    Mr. Neitart and Jane Carter, the junior high school teacher caught having an affair with a 9th grader, Jane. Mrs. Neitart was my 2-4th grade art teacher
    Anne Satterlee, her mom owns LifeStyles, some knick-knack store downtown. Anne was always matter-of-fact to me.
    Donna Hardick, who is an office manager in town, and once told someone (and I overheard) that she lived on the fourth floor of the (now) Best Western on 30 near 2
    Bonnie Nuest, who was a cute classmate of ours, but who is now overweight and nearly unrecognizable, not that I would be able to recognize her, as the only memory I truly have of her is of her with BJ when I went to pick him up from Kindergarden and walk home with him. That would make Bonnie and I all of 9 years old.
    Loren Huck, who is now married and living in France, working as a chef. Jess's memory of him is from a field trip to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (my favorite place when I was growing up!). He brought a sardine sandwich for lunch and was told he had to get off the bus to eat it. My memory of him was passing him on Joliet when I ran (literally) into town (I was grounded) to mail a contest entry (which I won 3rd place in). He was running the opposite way and waved as we passed. Odd that I can't find him anywhere on Google.
    John Pinkerton, who Jess thinks died a few years ago, but I didn't realize. He was a good friend of my dad growing up, and I knew him as Pinky. Brother Chris had a class with him, though I didn't. Pinky's dog was Pepper. His wife was Jane. He had two girls and taught at the high school.
    Pat S (hell if I can spell his last name), whose brother went to culinary school and opened the restaurant Dish in town.
    John Walsh, who I had the biggest crush on in 9th grade. He dated a cousin of Jessica's that year. :\ Turns out, he became an EMT (comes from a long line of firemen, apparently), and was involved in an accident that killed someone. I think David said alcohol was involved, but he didn't say how. Walsh was unable to continue driving ambulences, and is now a mechanic, married somewhere with two boys.

To this day, I don't understand why I didn't have a boyfriend in junior high school. I'm sure someone will tell me what was up. Probably because I was incredibly shy, but only until someone talked to me. Bah. What a horrible point in life. I'm just glad I made it through (with my love of math and science still in tact).

Those were rough years, better left as memories.