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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Portfolio Piece #10: Etna

Trying a little something new.  Something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  For the next few days, I will be posting the pieces I submitted for my Writing Minor Portfolio.  They are all from classes I took Sophomore to Senior Year at Keene State College.  Most of them are memoir in nature, but a few are slightly different.  These are pieces I love, but know still need work.  If you would like to know more of the stories behind the pieces, let me know and I will be happy to share!  Also, any and all constructive feedback is always welcome – just because these were the final versions to be submitted doesn’t mean that they are perfect.

Oh, and also?  These are mine.  Do not steal them.  Thanks.

Written for Theory and Practice: Memoir, Written Senior Year

            Etna, NH was in the country.  There were no blocks, no sidewalks, barely any traffic.  But it wasn’t completely barren of civilization.  We had a church, a branch of the Hanover Town Library, a Post Office, and a General Store.  I think I always wanted to live in suburbia, because growing up in Etna was so different from what I saw on TV – neighborhood kids who played together, block parties, neighborhood barbeques.  We had none of this.  I mean, there were some kids our own age, but none that ever stuck around long enough to really get to know.  I had a friend named Trent Nutting who lived next door, but his family moved away when we were in early elementary school.  A couple of kids from my school lived within walking distance, but I wasn’t really that close with any of them. 
            The houses that lined our road were a mystery to me.  I thought I didn’t know anyone who lived in them.  Looking back, I knew more people than I realized from church, I just had a hard time placing people out of context. 
            Back in the 80s, there was a big Halloween scare because it got all over the news that candy and other Halloween goodies were being tampered with – razors in apples, poison in candy.  The hospital started offering to X-Ray candy bags.  I thought it was ridiculous – just because the houses were mysteries to me didn’t mean the people in them were.  I assumed my dad knew everyone in Etna, because he was the minister of the church, and he wouldn’t take me Trick-or-Treating at houses that were inclined to kill me. 
            Mom didn’t really interact much with people, from what I recall.  But Dad was a social butterfly.  His dad was, too.  It’s where he got it from.  A quick stop at the Post Office would quickly turn into 20 minutes of us waiting impatiently in the car, rolling our eyes and watching the clock.  Even now, when we stop at the general store after Sunday lunch out to get the newspaper, Mom has to remind him “don’t stay and talk for 20 minutes, just get the paper”, and we sit and roll our eyes and watch the clock.  He’s gotten better, but the man does like to talk.
            The thing I never quite got was that not all of the people Dad would gab with were church-goers, or affiliated with my school.  And since church and school made up my whole world, I didn’t realize there were other people out there worth talking to.  I didn’t get that feeling of community pride, because we weren’t an organized community.  But Dad got it.  He understood the importance of knowing who lived on your road, and who hid out in the woods.  Other than knowing that the best place to buy a bike was from the guy down the road who fixed up old ones and sold them cheap (who will forever be simply known as “The Bike Guy”), if they weren’t a member of our church, I didn’t know them.  My world was very small, but I guess everyone’s is.  Even Dad’s doesn’t really stretch much beyond the Upper Valley
            When you get older, you realize that while your world may be small, it can still be rich and meaningful.  When you’re just a kid, you wish it was bigger, with block parties and sidewalks.  

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