Take me to the Pines
To all of my art, there’s a story. This is the story behind my latest Enamel Pin, “Take me to the Pines”.
When I was 11 my step-dad, Jim, went on a trip to North Carolina. At the time we were living in New Britain, Connecticut. Connecticut was where I was born, where my whole family lived and a place I never imagined I would leave. When Jim came back from his trip he announced that he got a job for a NASCAR driver and that we would be moving to North Carolina. Within 6 months we found ourselves in a little town called Siler City. Talk about culture shock. From a big city where I fell asleep to sirens and honking horns to a house surrounded by nothing but drab looking pastures and cows for at least a mile. The silence was odd. I wasn’t used to falling asleep to crickets.
I was the new kid in 7th grade at a school called Silk Hope, also surrounded by fields and cows. Instead of walking through busy blocks of brick buildings with city sounds and smells to get to school, I rode the bus for what seemed like hours with weird sounding country kids and farm smells. In the months leading up to the move, I imagined that being the new kid was going to be a fun new start with fun new friends. To my disapointment, everyone had already made their friends; way back when their own parents were in Kindergarten at the very same school. New kids weren’t very common in Silk Hope, plus I was way too different to fit in. I talked funny. I was weird. I was a Yankee.
Being the new kid in a small town was not fun. Even though I eventually made a few good friends who remained my friends throughout high school and beyond, the new kid feeling never wore off. Siler City never really felt like home. When I found myself on my own and able to leave at 16 (long story that I’ll save for another time), I bounced around from Connecticut to Florida and then back to Siler City before finally joining the Air Force and escaping to Missouri.
I thought I had left Siler City for good, but after the Air Force I somehow ended up back in Siler City. Had I lost my mind? I was a single parent and my family (though now scattered and divided) lived in Siler City. I kept telling myself that eventually it would feel like home. I enrolled my daughter in kindergarten at Siler City Elementary and drove from Siler City to my job on Fort Bragg every single day. An hour drive each way. The thought of moving closer didn’t cross my mind because the other cities and town I drove through weren’t any more appealing.
But then something happened that changed everything.
A friend of mine insisted I join her for dinner one night in a town sort of near Fort Bragg that I had never heard of called Southern Pines. We dined on the patio of a neat little downtown restaurant called the Bell Tree Tavern and I was in awe! Afterwards I drove around admiring the cozy downtown with buildings and houses that reminded me of New England. I knew instantly that Southern Pines could be my home. Within a few weeks my daughter and I were living in Southern Pines. Soon after I met fell in love with Tom, we got married, bought a house with a yard full of pine trees and our family grew to 6. It didn’t take much for this place to become home. Here in this town surrounded by long leaf pines, everything seems to fall perfectly into place, this is where I feel happiest. This is home.