Thursday, April 28, 2011

V is for Villa Rica (aka Welcome Home)

“In my little town
I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all.
He used to lean upon me
As I pledged allegiance
to the wall, Lord I recall
My little town...” ~ Paul Simon

Over the years I’ve found much meaning in song, prose written by kindred spirits expressing my heart. Paul Simon is one such author.

His song goes on to say, “…in my little town I never meant nothin' I was just my father's son. Saving my money. Dreaming of glory. Twitching like a finger on the trigger of a gun..."

I could relate.

Why? Because my mama told me that there was nothing in my little town for me. She often called it a one-horse town, and not in a fond, off-hand manner. More like disgust. Anger even. Of course, back then I didn’t get that. It was my mother after all, the woman whose job it was to look out for my best interest.

There is a law in life: that which we dwell upon, we create. Over time, the evidence mounted. Convinced she was right, Mama’s words became my own. And I left.

This coming June I’ll turn fifty-four. For fifty-three of those years the belief, deeply rooted, remained. I stayed far away.

Last year, I began making forays back home with cousin Kek, drawn to this kin who became my best friend.

One day while here, I realized I was happy. Delightfully so. I had family that loved me and a town full of classmates and their children’s children. It was nice knowing I had a history, people who knew me and loved me anyway.

Now that I am officially back, I see with different eyes and hear with different ears. I have come to understand. My mother had no reason to like Villa Rica. She was a foster kid from New York who met my father in Texas, a sailor in uniform who won her heart.

She came home with him to Villa Rica for love. She found resentment, maybe worse. My grandmother didn’t want Daddy to marry. He was to go back to college, after all. A wife and kids ruined her dreams. Did it ruin his too?

No, Villa Rica wasn’t kind to my mama. I understand why she was bitter. I understand why I was branded by it. She was a powerful woman and she was, after all, my mother.

But Villa Rica is my town.

As an adult with nothing left to prove, I am home. Mama’s gone. No longer do I have to live her words. I drive the streets of my childhood, see the houses I remember, and pride blooms in my heart.

My town.

I like the sound of that, the feel as it rolls off my tongue.

My town. Villa Rica.

Welcome home, Roaming Rebel. Welcome home.

~ Olivia J. Herrell



I enjoyed this because many years ago we went on holiday in Devon UK.there was a bridge there with a plaque saying that Simon and Garfunkel based their song Bridge Over Troubled Waters on that bridge.


Jemi Fraser said...

So glad you've found your place. I'm a hometown girl - have only lived in one place and I have no plans to move ever! :)

Eric W. Trant said...

I honest to God thought this was a post on Vanilla Ice.

I gotta stop skimming...

- Eric

dolorah said...

I love Simon and Garfunkl.

And I love home. The sentiment of it. I'm from a pretty small place myself. My family is still there, and I will return to live out my retirement years - ahem, when that happens. Sometimes you just gotta experience somewhere else to appreciate where you grew up.

As I became an adult, and expreienced life, and came to my own decisions and impressions about places, I realized the attachment is important.

I'm glad you're so happy about going home. Maybe you're now able to appreciate more in your life and experiences. Home has a different meaning . .


Elliot Grace said...

...there's a quote from my book that an aging ball coach tells his son, "No matter what you decide to do with yourself, always make sure and throw from the heart."
Olivia, my dear, whether hammering out the next Pulitzer, or bounding along on Blogger, when you write, it's like soul food...because you throw it from the heart:)

Great post, Olivia, and welcome home.


anthony stemke said...

A lovely essay. I always liked that song.

Thank You.

Lorraina said...

It's funny the way life is different for other people sometimes. I left my hometown in a hurry and a flurry of scandal and never looked back. Eventually the old folks passed away and most of the neighbours too.I returned last year and found a town full of strangers, not even a classmate remains. The town itself; the buildings but with all new tennants still looks pretty much the same and so does my old house. The view is the same but the trees are different. I'm glad i went; i'm no longer sad over it. More of my life has been lived right here rather than there.
This is my kids hometown and now mine too. So glad i finally realized that i can erase the old town from my mind and call this my hometown now.
I should mention too; a visit to the museum turned up no graduation pics of my class; they were burned in a fire in the old museum.It's just as well for me as i can still remember my classmates at age 15 like they never grew after i left, they simply vanished.

Gujjari said...

Nice to see you in A2Z challenge.
Wonderful post for V.
And you blog looks beautiful.
I am following your blog.

Please visit my blog and if you like, please follow my blog.

With warm welcome,

Michelle Gregory said...

very nice.

Walter Knight said...

Well said. To look about where you grew up and see the short cuts and walls you climbed as a kid brings back happy feelings. I'm still homesick.

But I write good. Angst, you know.

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