Recently I learned a startling and explanatory statistic about my small town. Apparently, the greater Jcrewville area boasts a whopping 80% retention rate of its residents. That means of everyone raised here, 80% stay and never leave.
That makes sense. Everyone around me is still rolling with their high school friends. That explains why some days you need a pick-ax to break into the little huddles of moms on the playground. Should I tell them the bell rang and twenty-five years have passed?
I guess I have to give credit where it’s due. It speaks volumes about happy childhoods if 80% of the children come back here to raise their own children. It seems to work out nicely for them. Personally, I would have a hard time moving back to the town where where I grew up, but perhaps that speaks volumes about my own childood.
I just can’t imagine living in the same town where I grew up and not regressing to the person I used to be. I find this totally unavoidable when I go home. I’m the grown mother of two children, but when I’m around my mom I still sulk in the corner because my brother gets all the attention (why does she love him more than me?)
If I moved back to the town where I went to high school, I don’t think I could hold on to my current self. I’d slip back too easily into my old self. It would happen slowly. I might not even be aware of it.
Maybe I’d start doing my hair a little differently. I’d part it down the middle and curl back the sides into tight sausages. I’d switch to blue mascara to match the blue shadow I’d sweep across my eyelids.
I’d start drinking Big Gulps and practicing cheers in front of the mirror just in case the squad needs an extra cheerleader (I never was a cheerleader – but one could still hope). I’d start wearing painter’s pants and knotting the laces of my Topsiders into little tassels.
I’d work on my imaginary singing career, belting out Barbara’s part in “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” I’d go to 7-11 every day to buy Jujubes and Sugar Daddy’s.
I’d get a job at McDonald’s so I could have extra spending money. I’d pull out “The Preppy Handbook” and tell my friends I want to be called “Buffy”. I’d squirt my wrists with Cinnabar perfume.
Instead of emailing my friends, I’d start writing notes, folding them tightly and decorating their names on the front with doodled hearts and flowers.
I’d stop trying new things to avoid looking stupid. I’d be nice to people who weren’t nice to me because I’m afraid of them. I’d talk about people behind their backs because I couldn’t stand up for myself.
I’d wish I were prettier, cooler, more popular. I’d think no one understands me. I’d start counting the days until I could get out…
But that’s just me. Yeah, all things considered, this old Buffy is better off living where everyone else went to high school than where she did.
Omigod, like totally fersure ‘coz like going back there would be like totally bogue.
4 thoughts on “High School Regression Analysis”
True Mommy loves me more, but don’t worry, I’ll put in a good word for you.
Thanks little brutha!
You know, I am THE SAME WAY when I see my mother for more than 24 hours. It’s instant regression to seventh grade. I was really analyzing this phenomenon and I think that back when people died by age 35, there just wasn’t time or opportunity to sulk at Mom’s house as an adult. I recently moved back to my home state, but I’d never DREAM of moving back to my home town. It would be the stuff of nightmares for all the reasons you mentioned.
Yes, at 43, I really should stop sucking my thumb when I go home.
This fairly new lurker just HAD to reply to this! I actually did move back to my hometown after 16 years away in the real world. (The things we do for love, but that’s another story for another time.)
My hometown does not boast nearly the retention rate as your current digs, but there are plenty of new cliques mixing in with what remains of the aging old guard. My parents warned me that it was a hard town to “break into” as adults, and they weren’t kidding. It’s just as bad or worse.
I have not been fighting off any compulsions to don neon or jelly ANYthing, and my speech is not peppered with any “totallys” or “fer sures”, LOL. No devolution here! But a lot of loneliness and frustration, yes. I got away and grew up in a much more liberal and diverse environment. The culture shock upon return was astounding.
The folks here tend to be polite (as Midwesterners go) but not overly welcoming. Four years and I have yet to be asked to go for coffee, join a book club, be a walking buddy…zilch. Of course, my mind sometimes goes to an icky place with that–‘They must remember that I did this-and-such’. Sometimes the mind tricks play with me that the reason they avoid me is because they’ve frozen me in their minds as who I was at 17. (And that wasn’t all that bad, but you know how these things go.) But I just keep plugging and chugging away.
Underneath the layers of smalltown yuck there are some really kind, interesting folks, and I’m trying to have the courage to seek out these people and experiences more often.
Wow — Thank you for lurking. You may be my new best friend. Your description sounds so familiar, I’m kind of scared you might live down the street from me. Glad to know there are some natives in small towns like JCrewville that are looking to meet new people. You give me hope.
I am sooo like TOTALLY with you on this.