My current address makes the sixth city that I've lived in since moving to the penis-shaped state back in the 1990's. I was barely 16 when my family moved to Florida. It wasn't my idea, and honestly I wasn't exactly thrilled at changing schools my Sophomore year of high school. And what the hell did a farm girl from the mountains in Georgia know about palm trees and beaches anyway? It's not like I was going to jump on a surf board and hang ten, for crying out loud. I knew about tubing down the Toccoa River and jet skiing on the chilly waters of Lakes Lanier, Notley and Blue Ridge in the sweltering July heat. Frankly, I thought (and still think sometimes) that Florida smelled like rotten eggs. Swimming in waters that have the potential threats of alligators, sharks, jellyfish and the like just didn't thrill me. I don't like sand between my toes--or in any other crevice for that matter.
My first landing place on the big move to Florida was the town of Indian Harbour Beach. It's a small town, although compared to where I came from in Georgia, it was a bustling megalopolis full of promise. Pizza delivery? That actually exists? Cable television? These were things only dreamt of by those of us who grew up where I did. Satellite Beach was next on the zip code tour of Central Florida. Satellite and Indian Harbour are basically the same town. Then came the big, fat ugly mistake: Orlando. My family stayed on the coast while my idiot self moved inland. I hung in there in the interior for about 9 months before I made my way back to the coastal breezes of the Melbourne area. A few years and boyfriends later, I found myself living on the west coast in Tampa. After three years it was back to Melbourne... And now I'm in Longwood, which is a suburb of Orlando. Incidentally, I lived in the wrong part of Orlando during my first foray to the interior parts of the Sunshine State. Longwood is beautiful. And really, the name Longwood is hilarious. That shit's on my driver's license!
When I look back at all the places I've bounced around, I realize that I don't have a place I truly consider my hometown. I was born in Gainesville, Georgia, a town I never lived in. The place I associate my childhood with, Suches, is still missing from some maps because it has a post office, the smallest public school in the state of Georgia, and one convenience store. That's ALL. Blue Ridge, the town I lived in before I made my triumphant entrance into weiner land (aka Florida), probably would be the closest thing I have to a 'hometown'. Here's the thing, though. None of my family lives there. I have very few friends there. I haven't been back there in 13 long years. I fear I wouldn't recognize it, there have been so many changes there since I left.
Although both my parents, my grandmother, a cousin and a stepsister live in Melbourne, I've never considered that home. Yes, I know a lot of people there, and when I visit I often run into people I know. I just never felt any sort of affection for that place. I guess the way I feel is how military brats must feel. When you move around a lot, you don't get a hometown. I'm hardly complaining, because I have friends in each of the places I've mentioned. I could have a couch to sleep on in Blue Ridge tonight if I wanted it. I'm always welcome in Melbourne, especially because my family is there. But there isn't that pull to come "home" to any of these places like there is with a real hometown. When people ask me where I'm from, my answer is usually along the lines of, 'Originally from Georgia, but I've lived all over Florida most of my adult life.' That's kind of a sad way of saying, 'I'm not really from anywhere except where I am right now.'
I do consider myself a Georgia Peach, however. I am a Southerner in all the best ways (not the Bible-thumping, gun wielding, South-Shall-Rise-Again ways). I suppose all I'm really trying to say is that home is where your heart is. It's where you hang your hat and your heart. I'm so glad to be happy where I am, even if it won't ever be where I'm "from".
*Today's title is from the song of the same name by Drivin' N' Cryin'. Reminds me of Suches!