Goshen Girl

I'm an East Coast girl. Let me be more specific. I'm a New England girl, a Mass girl, a Pioneer Valley girl and above all, a Goshen girl. It's a small place and I recognized it at any early age, allowing the travel bug and dreams of a bigger and better life to take me out of state and out of the country. It was then, during these trips, that I realized you can take the girl out of Goshen but you can't take Goshen out of the girl.

I tried to live in Southern California after graduating from college. Who wouldn't love it there? Beautiful beaches and beautiful people combined with sunny skies and warm air. I loved the feeling of exhilaration the first time I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway and the luxury of wearing a thin leather jacket on a mild December night. My life there didn't last too long, family illness, a failed relationship and the hope of graduate studies pulled me back. And, I missed the rock walls designating land boundaries and the boulders left by glacial til, both of which can be found in the woods of my hometown. I missed houses built before 1920. I missed the leaves turning in the fall. I missed people who look normal, maybe even a bit blemished. I missed knowing, or being somehow related to, everyone who passed me by.

I love returning home and the familiar feeling that washes over me when I turn onto the street where I grew up. I know every bend in the road and can anticipate cresting every hill. I stand on my uncle's porch and see myself as a child, playing in the pasture and tumbling on the lawn until the sun set. I see myself roller skating down the street, playing ball in the road and wading in the stream behind my house. I am Goshen and it is me.

My little town is a secret gem surrounded by idyllic scenery and just the right amount of culture and country. While not everybody is the same there, I know when I tell people where I'm from, they can guess a few things about me: wicked liberal, crazy driving, Red Sox fan who doesn't look before crossing the street. Although I have lived in upstate New York for ten years, when I refer to home, it is Goshen on my mind.

My family has started a cemetery in Goshen. It's a stone's throw from my parents' house and nestled in one of the many fields that was my personal playground during childhood. On a recent trip to Goshen, I stopped at the cemetery to have a quiet moment with those who already rest there and to take in the view. I'm always worrying about death and dying but in that moment I felt calm and peaceful. When my time arrives, I will have my ashes scattered there and I will finally be home. I am Goshen and Goshen is me.

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