Friday, March 17, 2006

Manchester On My Mind

I've been looking into "tweaking" this blog recently.

When you first start blogging on Blogger, they give you a series of different looks, or "templates" that you can choose from. This one I chose, called "Tic Tac", seemed to reflect me and my personality:

Many facets, all a little different in significance.

In other words, I've got lots of many different things about me, and some are more distinguished than others. And through this blog, you can have a little helping at a time. Like the candy, I'm probably a lot sweeter if you don't get all of me at once. Just a little tic tac here, a little tic tac there. Making your day more enjoyable. But if you are downing a whole pack at one time, it might make you sick.

I don't know, it's a thought. I like to be subtle.

Yet, I've grown tired with this template. It's too.....generic. I am also the type of person that likes to be original, unique, out of the ordinary. Well, I'm not so sure if I like it, but it's how I've always been, so it's comfortable to me. And these days, this generic looking website isn't "me" enough. I'm feeling a little disconnected. Like, it's a house I used to live in, and someone else's furniture is here.........weird. In fact, that's exactly what I experience when I visit other sites and the owner chose the same template....what are they doing in my house?

The color scheme is also not "warm" enough for me. I'm more of a "dark maroon, midnight blue" kinda gal. Autumn colors suit me well too. "Primary green" just isn't cuttin' it anymore.

I don't even really like the format. The more I look around, the more I find that there's a lot out there to choose from. Hey, you can have anything you want for the right price, right? Well, I'm not looking to break the bank on a simple pasttime (although many Americans do), but I would like to experiment a bit. I think there's probably a lot I can do within Blogger, so I won't be changing my address here, but sometime in the future, this "Single Wide" from 1984 is gonna (hopefully) be replaced with a shiney "Double Wide" from 2005. All in good time.

So here's why I said all that.

I was surfing a bit last night on my search for blog elements that I like, when I found this:

I know, it's cool and all, but what's the big deal? Welllllllll.......

This picture was taken in Manchester, NH. The place where I was born and raised. I didn't even know that it existed until last night. It was taken in 1914, and that HUGE flag (95 by 50 feet, to be exact) was made right there in that mill, the Amoskeag Mill.

How many times have I been there? Too numerous to count. I would know those windows on that brick anywhere. My relatives came to this country to work in those mills. They may have helped make that flag. And even though it wasn't this particular building, my Dad's parent's met in a mill building (they worked in a shoe factory, and my Grandpa wore roller skates to get from one end to the other!). A building that was one day converted into apartments. My FIRST apartment after we were married. The home where Michaela was born. It all came full circle. How cool is that?

The Mills in Manchester have a special place my heart. But even more than that, I can't help but have a deep affinity for the place where I spent 24 years of my life.

The last time I was there was during the New Year after my aunt had passed away. It was a surreal time for me. My aunt was the first relative that I had lost from her generation, my PARENT'S generation. It was so strange. I expected my grandparent's deaths, in that they were at that age to die. My aunt really wasn't. She was 53.

Anyway, while I was there, my brother and I were in the car driving along with all the other mourners on our way to the cemetery. The line was incredible. I felt bad for the traffic, having to wait for all those cars to pass through. But we got to thinking:

Manchester is OUR city. It's where our Grandparents raised 7 kids. And each of those 7 kids have made a dent in the local life. That's why the line was so long. There were many people who wanted--needed--to pay their respects. Growing up, we never could go anywhere without someone knowing who we were. As teenagers, it could be annoying. But as adults, it was a gift. We have a connection with that community. They know us, we know lots of them, and there's this understanding that we all love Manchester.

Sadly, my generation has been moving on.....exploring other intriguing parts of this country. We are now spread from coast to coast. Whereas our parents never seemed to venture very far from the heart of Manchester, us kids only come for an occasional visit. Sometimes just to feel "at home", I imagine. Some day, our family may only be a vacant memory in Manchester. Perhaps all the good my family has done in the city will be memorialized one day, but if not, then we'll just be visitors, passing through for old times sake. And nobody will know our name anymore. My kids will barely have any connection at all. They won't know the five different ways to get to JFK Colliseum. Or the best places to play "hide and seek" at South Soccer League.


that's kinda sad.

I know it's my fault that I won't be able to give them the same feelings and emotion that I have when it comes to being in Manchester. We moved on too. Their affections will be directed here, a place that I can't relate to as well as I'd like. There's just something to be said for living in the same place for all your life. I really hope my kids decide to stay around here when they get older. I would even love it if they all lived close by, on family land. But I hope they all understand that blank look in my eyes when I don't know what they're talking about. The great places to hunt, the wildest road to drive fast on, the oldest house in town. All things they'll learn just from growing up here.

But I hope they also understand the faraway gaze I have when I'm reminiscing about my childhood.

And I've got Manchester on my mind.


Christina said...

WoW! I know what you mean...only it isn't manchester on my mind...Grand Rapids, Michigan and Lancaster, Pennsylvania is more like it:) I've lived here enough...and I was young enough when my family moved...that I have learned some of the roots around here...But, sadly you can't pass on memories very easily:( Kimber, my niece, is growing up such a city kid...and we live in the country! And growing up we couldn't imagine a life with out our vivid reinactments of history with the neighbors...ahhh, I think that is what makes childhood so precious and yet so horribly sad when some children can't make memories like yours and mine...anyway, I thought I would stop by and see how you are doing and it was worth it...stay encouraged sister! Sis. Christina Nyenhuis

Sister Mitchi said...

I certainly can relate. Maybe it won't take you as long to feel "connected" to N. Alabama as it did me. I had been here more than two decades before one day I realized that I was finally looking upon this place as "home". (I came here at age 23.) And this is the interesting thing. Since my kids were all born here and were growing up here-- 20 plus years is a lot of growth time-- they had no sense of my disconnection from this place. This was where they found the best hiding places, neatest trees to climb, caves to explore, friends to build memories with.

I suppose there is just something about those growing up years that stay a part of us for a long, long time. My growing up years were linked to looking out to the horizon and seeing those Great Smoky Mountains. I missed that so much when I got down here. It took me awhile to realize that what I thought was "trashy" litter along the highways was cotton that had blown off the trucks as they were taking it to be weighed. And here people talked as wistfully about those cotton fields as I did about my Great Smoky Mountains.

Sean Y. Palmer- Texas Family Lawyer said...

Yes, I absolutely understand what you are saying. I grew up on the West Side. I now live in Houston. I went back to Manchester to marry, but I know my future children will not understand the connection with Manchester. I hope to take them there so they can see their yankee roots.

J. No said...

I have a broadband connection with N. Alabama. It actually may be fiber optic. I know to most people it isn't the most beautiful place on earth. But it is to me. Alabama just has the perfect mixture of warm & cold, forests & fields, hills & plains, city & country. It must be something about those "growing up years" because I would fight tooth and nail before I would leave North Alabama.