Monday, June 3, 2013

What constitutes a "home town"?

The other day I received a notification from Facebook that I had notifications pending. Facebook is funny that way.

I went to Facebook to review said notifications. The application, apparently tired of my incomplete profile, began to pepper me with questions: What high school did you go to? Where did you go to college? What is your home town?

The first two were easy: Alhambra High School, and the School of Hard Knocks. But the last one registered a big, fat, null pointer exception in my brain (sorry for the nerd reference - didn't know how to describe it in people terms).

After some thought, I entered "Sacramento, CA", and closed Facebook.

My dad apparently received a notification from Facebook that he had notifications pending, because he looked at my new Facebook profile entries later that same day. I don't think he much cared for my choice of home town. The following exchange occurred.
[Dad] I am puzzling over the the entry on Facebook that says your hometown is SACRAMENTO? Were you born at the age of nine?

[Vulture] Meh. I lived in so many places that "where I was born" hardly seemed like a "home town". I could just as easily have picked Frederick.

[Dad] Whatever inflates your sails.
A little background. My dad was born in Southeastern Idaho, and lived there continuously (minus a two-year military stint) for 32+ years. Ask him his hometown and he'll say Roberts, Idaho, where he spent almost his entire childhood and where he lived until age 18. He's very proud of his hometown. I guess he thinks I should be proud of mine.

But..........what is my home town? I haven't a clue.

Yes, I was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. But I lived a nomadic existence for the first half of my life. By the time I was 18, I had lived in 15 different residences in 9 different communities in 2 different states. I went to 9 different schools from Kindergarten through High School. Home town? How can I even begin to answer that?

I lived in Southeastern Idaho for 8.5 years. For those of you keeping score, that's nearly four score years ago. Is Idaho Falls (or Shelley, where my parents lived when I was born), my home town? I have no connection with Idaho Falls. I have few memories of Idaho, other than walking home from school and finding chin-deep snow in the driveway when I got home, or climbing large piles of snow to play. Snow memories. That hardly makes for a home town, does it?

I picked Sacramento primarily because I lived there twice, as a youngster (11-14), and again as a young adult (23-28). I picked it because Sacramento was the place where I first established my identity as a person, developing my love of music and sports and offbeat humor as a youngster there. I picked it because Sacramento is where I started my career as a computer programmer. I picked it because it had so much to do with defining me, a lot more to do with defining me than where I was born.

So you tell me. Am I wrong to say that my home town is Sacramento? Should I defer to the place I was born? Do I really have a say in the matter?

Inquiring minds want to know.