There are those days where I desperately miss my hometown.
Maybe it’s not that I miss the town itself—I miss what it felt like to enjoy living there.
I miss the few true friends I actually had.
I miss my first boss—one of the best and most understanding ladies I’ll ever have the privilege of knowing.
I miss my co-workers—such caring, thoughtful, and fun individuals are hard to find.
I miss working at the boutique—remembering how I learned to interact with people, learned that I could be confident and competent.
I miss working on Jefferson Street with all the local shop owners, the ones who weren’t just in it for the tourists but who actively participated in community functions and gave back.
I miss the small-town events that were tailored towards residents and not just tourists. I miss running up and down the street on errands; that wonderful day where I made and delivered huge bouquets of balloons.
I miss rainy days at work listening to Frank Sinatra Leonard Cohen. I miss sunny days in the garden. I miss admiring the clothes that were too expensive and that beautiful pair of earrings I almost bought. I miss the pride in knowing that all of our products were either made in America or certified fair trade.
I miss my boss’s stories and tales of inspiration, the adventurous life she led. I almost went to New York with her; if I’d stayed, I probably would have.
I miss the routine of setting up in the morning and taking down at night. I miss packing my lunches and finding moments to snack on my trail mix and bean sprout sandwiches. I miss running down to the bakery to buy the homemade baked goods and bring them back to share.
The excitement of filling out my first time card, of my first paycheck.
I miss the theaters. The shady nights volunteering in the open-air theater, the paper tickets, watching the actors roam around the growing night before the show started.
I miss my first internship, where I learned all the nooks and crannies of the theater, and could still find my way to the third floor if I went back there today.
I miss folding programs and answering phones, filling out the ticket orders every Thursday morning. I miss chatting with my friends there, delivering mail, sweeping under the theater seats. I miss standing on the stage as I helped move props or held book.
I miss the smell of the theater. To this day I can’t describe it, but I’ll never forget it.
I miss stocking concessions, those awful trips up and down the basement stairs. I miss the Door County Cherry trail mix and Ben & Jerry’s single serve I occasionally treated myself to, as a benefit of being a volunteer.
I miss the feeling of sitting in that dark cool theater and watching people I knew acting on the stage, so close it never failed to send tingles down my spine. I miss memorizing the lines with the actors as I eavesdropped on rehearsals over and over.
I miss seeing shows for free and becoming a familiar face with the other workers and volunteers.
I miss co-directing the acting workshops for first graders, filling in the roles no one else wanted and reading Roald Dahl’s Vile Verses with the ecstatic kids.
I miss the feeling I got when working and volunteering, that the people around me genuinely cared about me. They were happy to see me. They were interested in my life. They enjoyed sharing these moments with me.
I miss those people; they were the first ones who made me feel like I had somewhere I belonged.
I miss my shop, I miss my theaters—my first real homes.
I miss feeling like that small town mattered to me.