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Musing on Home and what it means...

My earliest memories are from Thompson, Manitoba. They're good ones, summer days at Paint Lake. Mom taking us to swim in the river while she was water skiing and catching crayfish off near the dock. Playing outside with the nieghbor kids in the summertime, when the last shreds of evening finally faded around 10pm - yes, Thompson is that far north.

Things changed, though, and my mother married the man I not-so-affectionaly refer to as the step-monster. We moved to a small, ethnic, closed-minded town in Saskatchewan. My experiences once the Step-monster entered my life were all coloured by ever-deepening bitterness, and I grew to hate, loath and despise that small town.

Fast forward to many years later when my mom was ill. I flew back and forth to see her when she got sick the first time, and then ultimately when she was dying, I did a hell of a lot of back and forth-ing again. AlabamaBro came up and spent some time as well, and one thing we did was go to the little run-down, podunk bar they had.

It was pretty bad - honestly, I don't know how they were able to keep it open, there were so many building code and health violations - probably cuz they just kept it open anyway and no one complained because where else are you going to go, really - and who cares about some little one-horse town and a decript bar anyway?

The thing is... as much as I hated that town, and dengrated it all the time, and complained long and loud about how I couldn't get out of there fast enough, there was still a part of me that resonated and said, "Home."

I spend my whole life waiting to get out, and then I imprinted on it as home *anyway*? WTF? That's just wrong.

There's this song that motherinlawtree and capnblackberry soemtimes sing about hating the place you came from but being drawn there anyway. And when I heard that song, I realized that it was how I felt about the shitty little cesspool I grew up in.

That Godforsaken Hellhole I Call Home

When life calls me to travel far and wide
Thoughts of home are with me as down the road I ride
Up on the highest mountain or out on the deep blue sea
I can't forget my friends and family
There's no place on the planet quite the same
No matter how far out I go to play this worldly game
Breezes may smell sweeter the farther afield they blow
But back to where I came from I must go
To that Godforsaken hellhole I call home
Always calls me back again
wherever I may roam
as squalid as Calcutta; decadent as Rome
That Godforsaken hellhole I call home

When I see that Welcome sign I shed a tear
Why have I come back again; what am I doing here?
But like a life-long prison without hope for parole
I can't escape these shackles on my soul
That Godforsaken hellhole I call home
Always calls me back again
wherever I may roam
Farther out than Fargo; lonelier than Nome
That Godforsaken hellhole I call home

The stranger came to town and asked me why
Instead of pulling in again I don't just pass it by?
But all my friends are buried here and some of them are dead
So home is where I'll always hang my head
That Godforsaken hellhole I call home
Always calls me back again wherever I may roam
Squalid as Calcutta; decadent as Rome
That Godforsaken hellhole I call home

You can listen to "That Godforsaken Hellhole I Call Home" on the Austin Lounge Lizards website.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 2nd, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
This resonates with me in some ways.

I was born and grew up in Winnipeg, but found that I could not get a job there and moved out when I could. I'm glad I did; people there can be friendly but they are *very* narrow-minded. I was probably one of the few people there who was willing to be friends with a First Nations person; Amerindians are still mistreated by city police on occasion. [The same bias against "Indians" shows up all over the Prairies.] I did not have the same experience you had with the "stepmonster," but I was bullied a *lot* as a kid.

At least we both can say "good riddance" to our personal godforsaken hellholes. I last saw Winnipeg a decade ago and have no plans to visit again (so far). But it's pretty much impossible for me to forget the place. :-/

As for other people's reactions to Winnipeggers, just ask figmo what happened on IRC one day, when Graham Leathers (a filker who is based there) happened to share the channel she was on.
Apr. 6th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
I had a hunch it was an Austin Lounge Lizards song.

BTDT. The town I spent most of my childhood in is one I loathed and still loathe, yet when I go back to New Jersey I often take my life into my hands (yes, it's gotten that bad since then) and visit the "old homestead," which is now a big, concrete-laden dental complex with "No Parking" signs all around where my relatives used to park.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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