My ex-boyfriend tracked me down. This happens when you grow up in the world’s largest small town and then some Harvard punk invents Facebook and all the people in your hometown are all “her last name is now Coble and she lives in Tennessee.”
So that happened. And we exchanged pictures and he hammered me about how could I be really happy even though I never had kids. You see, I wanted kids.
I am now FB friends with his wife (we are getting to the title, I promise) because I have a policy of not Friending married men without Friending their wives. Right now I’m sure there are five or six wives out there who wonder why I asked to be their friend.
Anyway, my thesis statement for this odd little piece is this: in looking at people who have the kind of life I once assumed I would have it occurs to me that I have a bit of the wanderer’s spirit. No, I didn’t leave Ireland ahead od the lord’s justice. I didn’t flee pogroms. But I moved to a strange land at a young age to become something different than the home country would allow.
Right about now I feel a strong sense of sisterhood with all those women who huddled in ships, dreaming of streets paved with gold, only to get here and find out that they were Irish and expendable. Or Jewish and expendable.
In other words, I emigrated to a better life and wound up doing piecework in a tenement.
Could I have been a disabled secretary back home? Probably. But I wouldn’t have seen the Statue of Liberty.
Gosh, this is a weird post, isn’t it? I hate the ones I write on the iPad because the stupid little clackless keys on screen are not as conducive to the spillage of my thoughts. That makes my analogies disjointed and senseless. So this whole idea I had about writing a post about the modern emigration from region to region within the country sounds like a cross between a suicide note and a drunken creative writing assignment.
I know a lot os displaced midwesterners. We all felt out of place when we were in Indiana or Ohio or Illinois or Michigan or Missouri but then when we moved away we realized that we were just weirdos, period. And that we have retained more of the Midwest than we ever realized.
I wonder,looking at pictures of my ex-boyfriend’s family, if I would have been happier staying there and having my kids grow up alongside their cousins in that Indiana clannish way.
Then I look around me and know for certain that I’m one who can’t rest until I’ve tried to find new limits, new friends and new ways to look at things. It startles me to think that I’m this way instead od the way I’d assumed I would be. But I’m glad.