Today, I feel like reminiscing my hometown. Since I no longer have a house there, I visit only once in while when I’m driving through. Lately, I’ve been missing it. I grew up in a small beach town in New Hampshire called North Hampton, founded in 1742. It’s not on the level of Stars Hollow with a crazy town selectman or a bitter Korean Antique store owner, but it has its boosts of colonial charm, and similar to Stars Hollow, all of the houses are extremely old and hold some form of historical value.
Solid example of every day life at North Hampton Elementary:
Let me start off by looking back at the fond memories of my fellow neighbors. There were the M’s to the left of us that seemed to never have a bad day. When I pulled into my driveway, me being the naturally bitter New Englander that I am, used to dread seeing Mr. M watering his lawn because that meant he would drop the hose with excitement and run across his yard just to pop over and say, “howdy”. We hated that. They had a daughter named Michelle who was the same age as my sisters, and occasionally babysat me. We didn’t exactly get along. One afternoon, my sister came home from school to hear me screaming at Michelle from their house, calling her a “Buttface” while she yelled something along the lines of, “I’m going to kill you you little brat!” I’m sure it was more vulgar, but basically my sister grabbed my hand and hauled me back home while I smirked. (I also won’t forget that time on the trampoline when I was probably seven and she jumped so hard that I flew into the air like a humpback whale punting a seal and landed face first into the trampoline. My nose bled pretty badly that day.)
We had our neighbors, the P’s to the right of us who liked to party just as much as we did. Their son, Nick, had a pet snake and my sisters recall Mr. P taking the snake into the garage and chopping him up into pieces. Of course, seeing only Mr. P’s torso with a butcher knife in his hand made it look even more disturbing than it actually was. They also had a fat beagle named Spike who would slip and tumble into the ditches in our backyard from our dog Jasmine. Occasionally, I’d look out the back door and see little legs pointing up and some scrambling before I ran out to help him.
We also had a lady down the street with a very impressive collection of flamingoes in her yard. And the grumpy elderly couple who was always performing yard work every day and never bought one single box of Girl Scout cookies from me. There was also a farmhouse with a donkey, and every day on the school bus, I’d see the Donkey named Jericho and his butt in the doorway. He recently died and I mourned his loss 3,000 miles away.
My school was tiny. I went to one school that had grades Preschool to 8th grade, and there were about 65 kids in my 8th grade class. I knew most of my classmates since the finger painting days which is probably why health class was so unbearably uncomfortable. Imagine sitting in a classroom talking about the inner workings of the vagina with 65 kids who you practically call brother and sister. Even when dating became popular, it still felt weirdly like incest. It seemed like our health class lasted years. We learned about sex starting from fifth grade all the way to eighth grade. I remember one activity we did, the boys sat on one side while the girls sat on the other, and we asked each other a series of questions and I wanted someone to just bury me alive. One boy decided to announce to everyone that he didn’t like blow jobs. Some force came over me, and even though I didn’t know what a blow job was at the age of twelve, I then blurted out, “How do you know?” Everyone started laughing and I instantly felt like crap.
Because of our small, close-knit class, we were extremely sheltered because nothing bad ever happened in this quaint town. It wasn’t until we went to high school and met kids from other towns that it felt like we had been hit over the head with a frying pan of reality.
We had the annual walk to the beach at the end of the school year that was a 3.5 mile walk. I wouldn’t consider it child labor but….
We had a middle school teacher that followed us through 6-8 grade so she was like our Mr. Feeny.
Our middle school dances were combined with the students at Hampton Falls, who had an even smaller school than we did. The dances consisted of us standing in a corner watching the other teachers dance to 50 Cent and “Tipsy”. And I really hated the fact that they always played “Stairway to Heaven” as the last slow song of the evening. It’s way too damn long.
Every year we held a Thanksgiving lunch where we could dress up as either a pilgrim or an Indian. 97% of North Hampton’s population is white, so naturally, everyone dressed as a pilgrim. My mom always tried to convince me to dress as an Indian every year because I’d be “different”, but I always fought back with, “EVERYONE ELSE WILL BE A PILGRIM THOUGH!” I always won that argument.
These fond memories get me all jazzed to go home in T-minus 18 days. How many of you are going home for the holidays?
Be sure to send me your holiday stories for the very first You’re Fine Holiday Contest! The winner will receive a New Years gift from me as well as your story posted to my blog on Christmas Day. Any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!