I photograph houses for Real Estate listings so I see a lot of vacant homes. I often come across things that are left behind. I’m fascinated by the variety of objects that are left. Are they forgotten, overlooked, unwanted? I’m always curious about how they came to be left behind. I came across these toys in the back yard of a cozy little house. The yard was well taken care of, it was green, it had grass(this is New Mexico), a small garden and some trees. The train engine and it’s person was laying under a tree, I imagined that the child who had been playing with it was called away by the parents. Maybe they finished loading up stuff for the move and the child left the toys thinking he would be right back for them not realizing that he was leaving for good. Moving on.
I’ve lived a little bit of everywhere but I’m not really from anywhere. The dreaded question for any military brat is “where are you from?” There is no right answer to that question. Is it where you just moved from even though you only lived there a handful of years? or is it where you were born, when you have no memory of that place? It’s just a place on the map. Do you claim your parents hometown when you’ve never even been there?
I moved to New Mexico when I was ten. I have so many memories from this place. My daughter attended one school all the way through elementary. That’s unimaginable and completely impressive to me. What’s even more remarkable to my gypsy spirit is that my son & daughter have attended the same elementary school and now middle school, with an eight year age difference even.
I never really got to know the place my parents are from. It’s foreign to me. Hearing their childhood stories are just that, stories. I have no real frame of reference to their hometown. With my own kids, I’m finding more and more that the places they go are also places I went to when I was a kid. For my son, it was the high school and the skate park. They haven’t changed much since the early 90’s. Today I took my daughter to her BFF’s birthday party at the Rollarena. It wasn’t our first time there, but it got me thinking about when I used to go there with my Dad, brothers, and sister when I was a kid. It was a connection to my childhood. I think everything in the Rollarena is exactly the same as it was in the 80’s. They even play the same skating games like four corners and limbo.
After many years of reluctance, I can now proudly say I am from New Mexico. Even though I’m not a native, I’ve been here most of my life. My roots are taking hold and my little family has a hometown. I finally feel like I am from somewhere.