|Outside of Smith Center, Ks. overlooking the rolling Kansas wheat fields.|
Recently, I was able to drive through the town that Jodi, our brother and I grew up in. It is just a little town... but it is the town we knew as HOME. That town is Smith Center, Kansas.
Jodi lived in Smith Center until she went away to college. My brother and I moved back to Smith Center, after we were married, with our families. My husband, kids and I lived there for about 4 years and then moved to our current home 23 years ago. Our parents lived in Smith Center for 50+ years. About 10 years ago, mom and dad and our bother and his family, all moved to Colorado to start a business with Jodi and her husband. So, after 50+ years, there was no one left in Smith Center, and no reason to go back there.
My husband grew up about 20 miles from me. Oddly, we didn't know each other until we met in college! But, our parents did know each other.
|I threw this picture in for fun! I think husband's hair is longer than mine! And..his hair is now all gray! LOL!|
Notice the matching shirts! Oh my!!
I loved living in Smith Center. It was a small town of about 2000 people and you knew almost all of them. Not only did you know everyone, but you also knew where they lived, who their parents and grandparents were, who were farmers and who were "townies"! Smith Center had everything that you could need...a grocery store, gas stations, lumber yards, banks, clothing and shoe stores, churches, etc. I remember walking down to town when I was just 4! Needless to say, it was a safe and quiet rural town.
So, the images I had of Smith Center in my head are old ones. Driving into town, I felt a little like you do when you go into an old bedroom that you grew up in and it seemed so big back then, but it seems very small now. There were things that were new and different and there were things that hadn't changed a bit over the years. It was a little surreal!
As I was driving down the street that we grew up on, one of the first things I noticed were the trees! They were so big and even hung over the street. The tree in front of "our" house was HUGE!
Some of the yards that "our" neighbors were so proud of back when we lived there, were in disaray and even full of weeds. There was the house of my piano teacher....she no longer lives there. There is where my best friend lived....she no longer lives there either. In fact, I realized that I didn't know any of the people who now lived on that street. That was a very weird, sad, and strange feeling.
I drove by our old schools, the beautiful courthouse, the now empty store fronts, and houses of friends who no longer live in them. I drove by our church, which still looks the same!
We three kids grew up in this church. This is the church that I was baptized as an infant in, and I walked down the isle to marry my husband. Jodi and her husband were also married in this church and this is where my 3 children were baptized. I was so glad that it hadn't changed. Lots and lots of memories in that little church!
There a few things that Smith Center is known for:
*Smith Center is the geographical center of the 48 United States.
|Oddly, I have never been here!|
*Smith Center has a wonderful city park. The main feature of the park is "The Old Dutch Mill". The mill was constructed in 1882 a few miles from Smith Center. It was built to use wind power to grind corn, wheat and other grains. In 1938, the mill was moved to it's current location at the park. This mill is one of two still standing in Kansas.
|The inside of the mill is a big open room that can be rented out|
for parties, family reunions, weddings, etc.
*There is a very small replica of the Statue of Liberty on a hill overlooking the rolling fields of wheat. I wonder how many of these mini-Statue of Liberty's there are in the U.S./World?
|Isn't she beautiful? She stands proud and strong overlooking the plains.|
She was placed here in 1951 and dedicated to the Boy Scouts.
I never believed the saying, "You can never go Home". The three of us kids were always welcome in our parents home. We all would meet there once or twice a year just so we could all be together with our expanding families. So not only do we have childhood memories of our hometown, but we also have adult memories as well. But, while I was driving around and reminesing, I realized that home is not a town or even a house. Home is where your loved ones are and that "home" is a feeling, not a place. I will always think of Smith Center as my hometown, but no longer as HOME.