A song by Montgomery Gentry called My Town, includes the lyrics, “Where I was born, where I was raised, where I keep all my yesterdays. Where I ran off ‘cos I got mad, an’ it came to blows with my old man. Where I came back to settle down, it’s where they’ll put me in the ground: This is my town. Na, na, na, na, na.”
We collect many memories from towns where we began our road to adulthood. We learned lessons, developed friendships, and probably graduated from high school. As graduations are scheduled and planned, I reflect on my graduation in My Town, Akron CO.
The day was sunny and still, and graduation was in the school auditorium. I remember my best friend, Bonnie. She wore a white dress with embroidered flowers curved from the neckline toward the hem. I can see her opening the door into the band-room laughing, snapping her brown eyes, and flipping her dark hair away from her face.
Forty of us, in alphabetical order, wearing blue caps and gowns, sat on the stage in semi-circle rows looking toward families seated in the audience. That’s it. That’s all I remember; not the speaker, or awards, or walking across the stage, the music, or any celebration afterward. Nothing else.
We all received an 8×10 group photo, and I was the only person with my head cocked to the left. Everyone else sat straight as a pencil.
I do remember thinking I was soon leaving My Town; I was off to college and independence. Yippee!
As life happened, I spent most of my adult life in or around My Town. Goals and aspirations for my future and career changed numerous times since I received my high school diploma. Thank goodness.
Although my memories are absent of grandeur, growing-up in My Town and graduating from high school set a positive foundation.
To seniors and parents: Graduation is a point in time for beginnings and endings. It doesn’t put an end to kids growing-up or parents parenting. It is a moment to help seniors say goodbye to childhood and accept more responsibility, and for parents to gradually let go of control.
Seniors, go forth with enthusiasm and confidence allowing yourself permission to adjust dreams to fit your changing needs. Treasure memories of YOUR town; it will always be a part of you.
Until the next time: Live while you live
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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