Where I’m From

Where moms and dads were high school flames. Gave their children grandmothers maiden name. Yes it may not sound like much. But its where I’m from …

I’m from a small town in Southern Illinois, think south of Chicago. Now think further south. Okay, you are almost there. Yes, even further south than Springfield. Yes, there is life down there, between the rivers (Ohio & Mississippi), about 2.5 hours from St. Louis. It’s a good place to be from, I like to go back now and again because my entire family has always lived there. About 13 years ago my dad, stepmom and brother moved to one of the STL burbs, and about 6 months ago my mom & stepdad moved to the same town I live in now, but my hometown is still nestled down in between other smaller towns that used to thrive due to coal-mines, but are now all but dead communities.

My last entry was about the Apple Festival 5k, but it was only a very small part of the Apple Festival. HUGE parade – like 2.5 – 3 hours long, drawing every little band, pom-pom squad and fire engine from as far as 100 miles away. Over the course of the 5 day festival, my hometown of 9000 people will see as many as 45,000 people. It’s a big deal. Class reunions and family reunions are scheduled over the weekend to cooincide with the festival.

Well, missed my family reunion on Sunday because we had to drive back up here for a football game that was ultimately canceled due to rain. Grrr…..Anyway, ya’ll wanna see the stock I come from? Here’s a pic of my mom and her 3 sisters. My mom is the oldest, and her sisters are spaced just like my kids and they were all 3 years apart in school. My grandma died the year before I was born, so there are a lot of cousins with “Jayne” or “Jane” or “Layne” in their names. Mary Jane Layne was her maiden name, and if you listen to country music, there’s a song called “Where I’m From” by Jason Michael Carroll and one of the lines in it talks about children bearing grandmother’s maiden name. My own middle name is Nolen, which my mom gave me to honor my grandpa’s new wife, whom he married about a year after my grandma died. You may know that Dorothy’s middle name is Jayne, now you know where it came from….and Dorothy was my dad’s mom….

From left to right – Kelly, Robyn, Crey (my mom) and Leslie

I just couldn’t stop myself

Nope. I couldn’t do it. My husband, children and I made the traipse to my hometown Friday night after work, camper in tow. Due to some strange construction, it took over 3 hours. We missed my cousin’s 40th bday party, oops. We set up in the dark, which amazingly went pretty well. My brother and his new girlfriend, whom I like, set up camp in the site next to us, so we sat up and chatted for a while.

Even though my husband thinks I’m crazy, I set the alarm for 6am and had all my gear laid out. At 6:45 all 6 of us loaded into the car and headed downtown. It was Apple Festival weekend and there was a 5k walk/run with seperate categories for runners and walkers, of course I wanted to enter! I figured this would be like a “walk in the park” after last weekend, and since I wanted to train on Saturday, this would be a fun way. I signed up, got my t-shirt and we headed to McD’s so everyone but me could eat. Nom nom nom. Next thing you know, Maggie, a stroller and I are dropped off at the finish line.

I entered the Walking category. We were told that any jogging would eliminate you from the competition. I pushed my stroller, chatting all the way to my little pumkin who made it clear before the first mile that she had no desire to be in the stroller. We talked about how I grew up in this town, how much things had changed, where things used to be, I pointed out birds, a landfill and my little sister’s old house. We walked past dozens of landmarks, and I realized during this walk exactly how small the town actually is. As we passed the Middle School (was the Jr. High when I was younger), little Miss Maggie decided there was no stinking way she was sitting any longer. Not.Gonna.Do.It.

She twisted, turned and wriggled out of her safety straps and climbed up the back of the stroller screaming “MOMMA”. Oh. No. So, I did what any good mom would do and I encouraged her to sit back down. Nope, she wouldn’t.

I briskly walked the last half mile with a sweet little 16 month old on a hip messing with my face and pushed a stroller with my other arm.

The people at the finish laughed. A couple days later, I do think it is funny, but doggone, she’s getting heavy!

Well, I took my finishline popsicle stick to the race officials and tell them I”m 33 so they can find my name. Now, this is where the story gets really cool. I see that she only has 2 blanks filled in with times and I realize that I may have PLACED! HOT DOG!!! We hang out forever and ever while times and places are tallied and, Yes, I did place. I got 2nd place for ladies aged 30-39!!! I got a medal!!!

The finish time isn’t a big deal, but I”m keeping track for the future – 48 min, 11 sec.