I’ve never been a huge fan of “The Wizard of Oz,” but there is one line in that movie that I will always believe in – “There is no place like home.” Some people think that home is a geographical location with an address or just wherever your family happens to be at the time. Others believe home is a state of mind or an emotional feeling like the saying “Home is where the heart is.”
Whenever I meet new people it is hard to explain to them that a town of only 946 people does exist and is functional. I’m constantly asked things like, “What do you do?” and “How can you live in a town with no mall?” These are all valid questions (coming from teenagers), but why doesn’t anyone ever ask me where my favorite place in Genesee is or how close my graduating class of twenty-seven has become in the past twelve years?
My grandpa lives in Lewiston and he loves coming up to Genesee because everyone is so friendly. He loves how everyone in town waves to him as he drives by even if they don’t recognize him or know his name.
I love being able to say that Monte Sams was my sixth grade teacher, my Drivers Education Instructor and my Track & Field coach. I can tell you the names of all of our school janitors and that Tad, especially, likes country music. When I give someone directions to my house, I don’t use street names or house numbers. I’ll tell them to go down the main street, take a left at Broemeling Welding, go past the bank and what used to be the Corner Bar, drive to the top of the hill and my house is the yellow one with the biggest garden in town and a mailbox that looks like a fishing lure. Usually people find their way because they know that if they reach gravel, they’ve gone too far. Our neighbors let us pick their apricots in the summer without asking first and I always wave to Dick Scharnhorst when he’s cruising the town in his green Dodge 1500.
No one else in the world can talk about their town the way that I talk about Genesee. I believe that Genesee is not just a town, it’s a family. I’m going to graduate from high school and experience other parts of the world. I might stay in the local area or I could end up in Seattle, eventually. Still, I know that no matter where I end up, my town and Genesee family will always be at home supporting me and willing to lend a helping hand. Genesee is also where I have grown up and it is the place closest to my heart. I may never come back to Genesee, but this town is a huge part of my life and the person I have become.
I believe growing up in Genesee has helped me realize that there truly is no place like home.