Life has a way of taking you in strange circles. Back in 1991 I was one year out of college and had just suffered the loss of my mother, my last surviving parent. After a painful good-bye to my now empty childhood home in Wisconsin, I moved to Red Wing, MN where my boyfriend lived. It was a time of transition for me. I was an adult orphan struggling to make the right decisions, knowing I had not yet developed the proper life skills to do so. I got a part-time retail job and waited for the next phase of my life to begin, which it did about a year later when we moved to Colorado, got engaged and finally married in 1993.
Now fast forward through the gain and loss of jobs, friends, weight and dreams to Monday, March 23, 2009. My boss walks over and says he needs to send me to Minnesota to help out with a project South of the cities. Where? Red Wing! I couldn’t believe it! After more than 15 years I was going back to the little town on the Mississippi. The next day I was on a plane and by Wednesday I was here, in my old stomping grounds. Strangely enough, the town seems to hold little emotional connection for me. It’s familiar, but that’s all.
I needed a map to find my old apartment. It was kind of a dump when we lived there and it hasn’t changed a bit. My strongest memory was our U-Haul sitting in the parking lot with my car hooked up behind, ready for the drive to Colorado. And I remembered trying to hide our hideous old couch behind the dumpster before taking off. A smile did come over my face when I drove across the bridge to the Wisconsin side of the river and saw that our two favorite bars were still there, going strong. I wouldn’t step in them now, but for a young 20-something they were the only entertainment around. These days, the pottery and antique mall is more my style!
Tomorrow I head back home and I must say I’m glad. I’m a homebody. I miss my house and my cats and my daily routine. Red Wing was not and is not home, it’s just a place I floated in and out of once. The person I was back then is almost gone, buried under layers of life experiences. I belong back home - in Colorado.