May was Personal History Month and our little SOTB Blogging group had the intention to write about our personal histories, only the month got away from us, so here we are in June trying again.
Truthfully, this topic worked out really well for me. As you know from last week’s post, I was able to travel to Pennsylvania and visit my family this month. My online jobs allowed me to have a flexible work location as did my son’s online studies.
So here’s a bit of personal history about me. My mom can trace our family history back to England in the 1500s. Our family were Quakers that opposed slavery and left the faith over the issue to move to this area around about the time settlements here were getting settled.
I grew up just outside a little town called Montgomery along the west bank of the Susquehanna River, population 1,695. It was founded or settled or something in 1783 by John Lawson. It’s claim to fame was the logging boom. There were a lot of trees that could be sent downriver to other booming metropolises in the early 1800s.
The latest income generating industry in the area is natural gas. Apparently, there are a few pockets of the stuff under the ground which the powers that be are sucking from the earth. I have to admit that the landscape is not what I remember.
With the influx of the gas money, there have been some recent attempts at redevelopment in Montgomery. The downtown buildings have been revamped. The football field wasn’t there when I was growing up. The school (elementary, middle and high school are in the same building) has added a new technology wing. Overall, though, neither the people nor the town changed very much from when I lived here.
There’s nothing quite like being home again. My status as a PA native streamlined the process of getting a new driver’s license. Since I had a license in 1998, well then, with my birth certificate, marriage certificate to document my name change and my expired PA ID (Pennsylvanis Identification), we were good to go. Thank GOD!
My friend Shannon and I talked each other hoarse every night (and drinking copious amounts of wine). We went yardsaling, rummaged around in the discount stores and drove up and down the backroads that once were so familiar to me.
I’ve been able to show my son my old haunts and my childhood home. My brother and I tried to outdo ourselves with sharing childhood memories (or traumas depending on who is telling the story) with our children.
I was also able to spend some time with my parents whose health isn’t the best these days. In fact, I spent quite a lot of time this month at the hospital with my mom.
On the other hand, MAGA hats were on many heads and I edited out the part where I live in Mexico in my what have you been up to recitation. I was glad my son is light enough to pass as a local, and that we have hundreds of years of local history to poo-poo the recent immigrant charges. We were careful not to speak Spanish in public too. It’s not unheard for those too foreign for locals to be murdered in these parts. In fact, this local hate crime was turned into a movie (Shenandoah) with quite a cult following.
So although I enjoyed my time in central PA, the trip was bittersweet for me. I’ll be glad when we are safely home in La Yacata.