Childhood Influences Essay

1005 words - 4 pages

My mother always felt we were never really safe in the city. Long before I was born, my parents wrestled with the decision about where they would live. My mother, a true midwestern farm girl, desperately hoped that my dad could find a surgical residency in a rural area. Unfortunately, the only rotation in his specialty was in Los Angeles, where my mom reluctantly moved. Rumors persist that her kicking and screaming could be heard for miles.While I enjoyed the benefits of growing up in the land of beaches, Hollywood and perpetual sunshine, my mom always wanted more for me. She worried that my cultural background was limited and she wanted me to appreciate my rural heritage. She decided when I was 13 that I should spend the summer with my grandparents in rural Iowa. I would have preferred a root canal without anaesthetic.Don't get me wrong: it's not that I didn't love Grandmo and PaPa. They called and wrote often and always sent great Christmas gifts. But the thought of actually living in the country for the summer was as appealing as swimming in a sweater. But I had little leverage at age 13, and my mom's desire for my cultural development won out. Off I went to Ottumwa, kicking and screaming as hard as my mom could imagine.I didn't realize at the time what a memorable experience the trip would be. I had been raised in a large, splashy metropolitan area where the pace was fast and frenetic. My parents were both busy, successful professionals, and we enjoyed every luxury that money could buy. I was accustomed to 24-hour supermarkets, cable TV, cell phones and fast cars. Snap your fingers in LA and you have a choice of 50 movies to watch, 300 cable channels and live performances in every theatre. You could be in a coma and never be bored.In contrast, Ottumwa had a grocery store and a post office. All of the telephones were rotary and there wasn't even basic cable service. But the worse part was that my grandparents didn't even see that it was a problem. They welcomed me for the summer with delight, telling me repeatedly that I'd have the time of my life. I was convinced there was something funny in the water.But a strange thing happened during those long, hot, musty weeks in 1994. I started to relax and tried to make the best of boring Ottumwa. I accompanied Grandmo on her morning chores and to her afternoon volunteer work at the local veterinary clinic. I helped her to run errands and to cook and clean the huge house she shared alone with PaPa. And in the evenings, I sat around the dinner table with them and listened to their familiar stories about buying the farm when they first got married and the hard years of making it a viable business. I learned about my mother's life as a child...

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