I apologize in advance. This is a sad, whiney, and pointless post.
My mom has been very sick which means trips home to visit. I love living close enough to visit, but far enough away not to have to visit often. Trips to Hanover are filled with mixed emotions. I love my parents, but I hate the town. Too many bad childhood memories still hit a little close to the heart.
Growing up in Hanover wasn’t fun. I was adopted from South Korea. For many years I was the only non-white person in the entire town. Actually, that isn’t completely true, I remember one African American family moving into a nearby neighborhood. They didn’t stay long because they got chased away by fowl neighbors. Chased. Away. So sad. Even then, as a young child, I saw how wrong this was.
My mom tried to encourage me. Saying I wasn’t any different, that I was just like the other girls. This of course was terribly wrong. Instead of celebrating my uniqueness, I hated it. All throughout grade school I tried to be “just like everyone else”. But I couldn’t change my race. I got teased and harassed daily. I ended up compromising my sense of self in an effort to fit in. I wished I could be chased away.
It wasn’t until I moved to Lancaster for college did I start to feel like I could become myself. It took a long time for me to rediscover exactly who that was. Now that I have found myself, I would never dream of moving back to Hanover.
Of course things are better now. But, still, I cannot shake that very unwelcome feeling. Just driving through this dreary little town, looking at how things are getting run down, imagining the mean spirited people that live in these ever more shoddy looking homes…