Sunday, May 18, 2014
Bittersweet Memories of my First Time Away from my Family
This post was inspired by the book Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a novel that exposes the Gothic underbelly of an American Dynasty, and an outsider's hunger to belong. Join From Left to Write on May 20 as we discuss Bittersweet. As a member I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
In 1975 I was chosen by the American Legion to attend Girls State. Girls State is a leadership program designed by the American Legion to increase awareness and knowledge of governmental processes while learning about the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of citizenship. As a Girls State delegate I was chosen to go to Sacramento after writing an essay and going through multiple interviews by members of the American Legion. It was a huge honor for me and a great experience.
It was also my first time ever away from home, away from my parents, the first time ever of not sleeping in my own bed with my sister by my side. It was awesome!!! Bet you thought I was going to say it was scary right? Or that I got homesick? No Way! It was one of the best experiences of my life.
My parents sent me off on a Greyhound bus with several others girls from local schools. It was a long bus ride from Brawley, CA to Sacramento, CA and the bus stopped in every single little town along the way, but I was mesmerized! I had never been any further North than Anaheim! I loved seeing all the small towns and big cities.
Once we got there we had to handle all our own suitcases and deal with finding out what dorm room we had been assigned to and who our roommates were going to be. I wish I had thought to have a blog back in high school and that I had written about this experience because I have forgotten most of it. But what I do remember is the camaraderie and the feelings of being a part of something with the other girls. We would gather after dinner to hear a speaker and we would sing songs and stand, arm in arm, swaying and laughing and crying.
When we all had to leave each other it was heart breaking! We had all grown so close and we swore to always keep in touch. Well that didn't happen, unfortunately. But it was a great experience and it was great for someone as shy as I used to be to go through the process, the interviews and then being away from home and family and with complete strangers. But I did it and I grew and I am a better person for having had the experience. I'm glad my parents gave me wings and let me fly!
What was your first time away from home? College, military, marriage?