I’m sorry I was absent last week. I signed in to Blogger multiple times throughout the week but something always came up. It was a busy week; I started working on a new story and over the weekend I visited my hometown. My childhood best friend got married on Saturday so I journeyed over for the ceremony and watched Heather and Tyler say their vows with a big smile on my face. They’ve been dating since we were finishing up high school so I was happy to see them tie the knot!
It’s been a few years since I visited my hometown and a lot of things have changed! They now have Walgreens, Jimmy Johns, Noodles & Company, Cold Stone Creamery, Chili’s… the list of chains that have arrived goes on and on. The last time that I was there a Starbucks had just moved in. Now they have two. But once I had a feel for the town again, I drove around to visit a few places that I always think of when I think of my hometown.
While I’m a city girl at heart now, I often write about people who live in small towns and I think back to my hometown often while I build the world for my novel. I may have lived there for only nine years, but it definitely left its mark on me.
My mom and I both attended the wedding so we stayed with a friend of hers that weekend. On Friday we went out for a Wisconsin fish fry and then toured the town a little. She showed us all the new developments that have gone up and then took us to Belts, an ice cream stand that is open seasonally. I regularly think about Belts when Stevens Point comes to mind so I was excited to be able to stop by during its last weekend of the season.
I’m sorry for the blurry photo, I basically just snapped the picture because I was worried that the ice cream would melt! This is a small. They have various sizes of ice cream cones, all of which are huge. But, the ice cream is still cheap!
Between the ceremony and the reception we walked around downtown and then visited our old house, which my dad and brother built. The house has changed a lot and I only knew it had been ours because I recognized the houses on each side of it! As I was approaching our former neighbor’s driveway (which I was planning to use to turn around) I said, “I’m almost expecting to see him sitting out front.” He’s an outdoorsy guy and when he wasn’t mowing lawns or pulling stumps out of the ground after trees had to be cut down (we lived in a very woodsy area), we could usually find him sitting out in the front of his house. And sure enough, there he was! So we stopped to chat for a few minutes. We also stopped to visit the husband of the woman who took care of me when I was younger while my parents were working. I don’t want to use the term nanny, because she was much more than that. She was family. She passed away earlier this year. Her husband was excited to see us so we stopped to chat with him for awhile. He lives near the railroad tracks that I used to visit regularly and while we were there, a train came by so I ran out to take pictures. As we left, I also stopped by the park that I played at when I was a kid.
Fall is the perfect time to drive through Wisconsin with the leaves turning color. Minnesota is a pretty state but I’ve always found Wisconsin to be much more beautiful because of all the foliage. Driving through my old neighborhood was absolutely breathtaking. I honestly don’t remember all of the colors and the beauty of it. The streets were lined with trees and in some places the branches created a canopy over the road. Brilliant leaves littered the ground and the sun shining through the branches created a glow. As we drove around I couldn’t remember why we ever left.