I've lived in a lot of places. Probably more than my fair share. I'm not complaining mind you, there are very few things I'd change about any of it.
I grew up here. Goshen, Indiana. The Heartland. Farm country. Anytown U.S.A. And from the age of five to around sixteen, I bounced along, oblivious to living any other way.
It was home.
Then one day it wsn't, and we moved to California. To a real genuine city not far from Los Angeles. I was the quintessential wide eyed country girl staring into a strange new world. My life seemed to hit warp speed. Not in a small, insignificant way, but in a full spectrum, neon lights, full steam, twisty roller coaster, surreal carnival, kind of way. I jumped high and I fell far, lots of times. I lived. A lot. (Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's just crazy.)
And then I found myself back here.
Full stop!! (You heard the sound at the end of a roller coaster right there,didn't you!)
-Get out, look around.- "Wait, how did THAT happen?!"
I honestly never thought I'd be back here. I'm actually only a few miles from where I grew up. I see people every day that have some familiar feature that makes me wonder if I knew them in that other life. I marvel at the enormous change 30 years can make.
Sometimes I plot my escape.
I do have a point, I promise. Bear with me.
Last Friday Goshen had something called a Cruise Reunion, and it was a enormous and wonderful turnout. I'll tell you about it, but first, let me give you a little history:
Back in the day, Goshen didn't have a whole lot for teens to do after a long week of small country schooling. (I can't imagine that we had more than a couple hundred in our entire high school class class. Maybe our whole school! But time and the blur of a thousand faces might be clouding that memory just a bit). There wasn't much more than fields, a grocery store, a gas station and a movie theater.
(I'm being a little dramatic, but seriously, John Cougar Mellancamp was from Indiana, listen to him!).
So, with this vast amount of free time we would cruise Main Street.
People would come from miles around. It truly was an event. It's just what we did. Gas was cheap, the cars, and soon the faces, all became familiar. People talked. They met at the Dairy Queen or down at Pizza Hut. Shakey's and Burger Chef still existed. They drove around blocks for hours. No one looked at their phones or checked into facebook, or even sent a tweet about the cute guy in the next car. (None of that was around yet.)
Weekend nights, especially in the summer, were filled with smiles, flirting, and yelling to your friends across a sea of cars. The excitement was never really knowing how the night would end. We almost always stayed out past curfew, and it was (almost) always worth the trouble that was waiting for us when we got home. We lived life in a way no one from a city could ever understand.
I found out on a return visit in the mid-80's that they had made cruising illegal. It was an end of an era.
Last Friday was a way of trying to bring that back, even if it was just for a few hours. It started at 5, which would have made any one of us laugh back then. No one in their right mind would be out before at least sunset, more likely dark! But it ended at 9, so best to make hay while the sun shines in this case.
The whole county showed up. Lines along the sidewalk (at least on the shady side) were four people thick. Necks were stretched and twisted. Most everyone over the age of 40 had a look of nostalgia in their eyes. I believe not one of them was actually living in 2016 at that moment. They were back in their cars, looking for the nights adventure. And smiles were abundant.
While I was away I studied art, photography, and about any kind of creative endeavor you could imagine. Since I've been back I've been a little lost. I had no idea how to use what I do here in this tiny town. It seemed a bit fruitless to make art anyplace but L.A. or New York. The roots I had established didn't seem to want to grow. Everything. Just. Stopped.
I'd felt like a saltwater fish trying to fit into the neighbors pond for a very long time, and I wasn't doing so well. That night at the Cruise I remembered some things I had forgotten. The good parts really. And the reality that we are all just people trying to find some happiness in a very mixed up world.
I realized I have a unique perspective here. I left, and I came back. I've hated it and loved it. It's home, but so were lots of other places. From that I can tell you lots of stories.
Let's see where it goes. Maybe we can all have some fun?
(The art in this post was all created from our shots that evening. There are these and so many more over in the events folder. If you know who they belong to, drop us a note, or drop them a note and ask them to come by. I'm always excited to hear what people think of the images we create! The pictures themselves sometimes tell a story. That is why I love photography. It's literature and image in one.)