Bittersweet: Leaving Your Hometown

This post was inspired by 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 we discuss Bittersweet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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It’s no secret that I don’t spend a lot of time talking about going home to the house I grew up in, my hometown, or life pre-college. It’s not a place that holds a lot of happy memories for me. I don’t feel comfortable or at ease when I am there, so for me it is not a happy place. The problem is I love lots of what Vermont has to offer, I love the idyllic imagery any picture of Vermont gives, I just don’t love what else it reminds me of.

While reading Bittersweet I related to Mabel’s character, the average looking girl from a meager background, with the beautiful wealthy friends. Never feeling accepted, working hard to earn everything she had.  Then Mabel and Ev go to Ev’s family estate, in Vermont of course. They even mention my hometown in the book, the town I went to my first year of college in, and a few places that do hold great memories for me, like Al’s French Frys.

I had to leave Vermont, it just couldn’t give me what I needed out of life. Even though many of the people who used to be in my life suggest that I think I am better than they are because I left, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I just needed a better life, and Vermont wasn’t going to give that to me. At the age of 18, I packed up and went to college. I spent my first 2 summers going home and working the three jobs I had when I was in high school. After my junior year, I had off campus housing and I never went back home.

Leaving has never been easy, there is the guilt that others put on me. At the end of the day, I have to do what is best for me and my family. The life we have now is wonderful. Close to the city, but we still have a backyard. Plenty of friends and family members that live nearby or visit, friends and family that are encouraging and supportive.

But there are many things that I miss about Vermont. The local food, REAL maple syrup, fall foliage, seeing the stars at night, Ben & Jerry’s factory visits, Burlington, Long Trail, Magic Hat, the lack of fast food joints, Cabot cheese, and Dana’s breakfast in Quechee.

I will never forget Vermont, but Boston is my home now.

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7 thoughts on “Bittersweet: Leaving Your Hometown

  1. When people ask me what I miss about Arizona I usually list out several food and drink-related options as well. I mean, REAL MEXICAN FOOD? Come on.

    It’s funny how that works, huh?

  2. I had to get away from home when it came time for college. I felt the need to be AWAY. After 5 years in NC I did come home again though. Now that I’m married with kids… we live 3 miles from my childhood home.

  3. To me, Atlanta will always be HOME-home. But I have a few other homes as well–Charlottesville and NYC. These are places that tug at my heart strings when people mention them. I don’t feel that way about Chicago–I thought I would, but I don’t. For me, there is something about the East Coast, I guess.

  4. This is a great post and a good topic to use when writing about the book! I think you took the HARD way out, finding a new life for yourself outside of VT. It’s so great that you recognized that the home environment you had was unhealthy, and did something about it.

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