A Real Place, One I Called Home

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

A Real Place, One I Called Home

This is the first column I wrote for the Newberry Observer and is therefore the first chapter in my new book, You Ain’t From Here, Are Ya? I thought you might like a little preview!

The first time we drove into Newberry I knew. This was a real place, one I could call home.  We sailed past the general business area of Highway 34 with its mix of national chain stores and hometown businesses. Once we hit the residential area of Main Street, we slowed, not wanting to miss anything.  These were unique, marvelous homes. And some were very old. I like old. Then we arrived in downtown Newberry with its crown jewel, the town square with a real honest-to-goodness opera house. Oh my! I knew this was my kind of place. For a South Dakota girl living in South Florida, this was as good as it could get.

newberry     If I ever build a town from scratch, I’ll start with a town square,

     one with a park in the middle surrounded by brick streets.

     If you have one of those, the people and stores will come.

It provides a core to your town that nothing else can.



It also reminds me of Broken Bow, the small town in central Nebraska near where my Grandparents ranched and where they lived after retirement. It’s the town where the Joneses still gather every other year on the first weekend in August.  Broken Bow has been my heart’s home my entire life.

I like to say I’ve lived from sea to shining sea, California to Florida, but mostly I lived in the Great Plains, specifically Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota. I’ve learned first-hand that there are great differences among areas of our country. The culture in South Dakota is much different than that in South Florida. Oh wait, there is no underlying culture in South Florida, anything that ties together the whole community. My point is, when you move, you have to be ready to adjust, assimilate, and acknowledge that you may  never, ever arrive. You may never be a local, and that’s all right.

142 I’ve been the new kid in town, and I’ve watched others 
struggle with learning a new culture.  There is a special balance required. It all comes down to respect and humor.

You must respect the fact that you are not going to change this culture. You have to recognize that it may change you, even if it’s only small changes.

Embrace what you can, acknowledge what you can’t, and just be yourself. Above all, don’t forget to laugh about it. Some of the world’s best humor comes from our differences.

In this column I plan to share my impressions of Southern Culture. I can only do this from my perspective for it’s the only one I have and it’s not Southern. It’s not Northern either. It’s Western and we tend to say things how we see them. So just run all I say through the “she’s not from here, bless her heart” filter and know this one thing—I haven’t changed my mind about Newberry. My first impression was dead-on. This place is real and it’s a place I can call home.

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