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The Gaucho Gazette

My Homeworld

Sydney Pearce, Artist, reporter

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    Some people feel the least bit connected with where they are in their town. Some people want to keep it secure at any cost. Some people are obsessed with the perfection of the neighborhood and the connection of the aesthetic appeals of each house. Each side has understandable qualities, but my neighborhood and I do not fit into these categories.

   The area in which I live is a typical, middle-class neighborhood in a tucked-away nook on the east side of Petaluma. The people who live in my vicinity are friendly and courteous, but not very interactive with anyone but their own immediate family. On the special occasion, my sister and I get to help feed and take care of one of my neighbor’s dogs when she goes to Chicago. That is the least awkward interaction I have with the occupants of the houses near me, due to the fact that the occupant is not there.

   However, each home has its own sense of character. Houses with fences convey privacy. Houses with rock walls on their lawn in order to level it conveys the importance of play. Houses with numerous and wild plants growing from their yards convey a sense of carelessness. Each house has a story to tell. If every house was identical and as bland as the next, loving my neighborhood would be a struggle. I do love my neighborhood, and I would never want anything bad to happen to it, but I am not dependent on it. I am okay with the fact that I will have to leave it soon, and I fully accept that.

   With the looming threat of college and the accompanying independence, I wanted to revisit what makes me happy in my present life. Most of that happiness stems from where I was raised. Even if my community is antisocial and unorganized, I appreciate how I was brought up in it. It has helped me become who I am today, and who I will become. My whole childhood was here; I’ll never lose sight of that. Unfortunately, with all of the great aspects of my community and neighborhood, there are some bad aspects alongside it.

   My neighborhood has also been threatened by drugs and police activity since I live about a block away from a rumored “heroin house.” Many people who have lived near the house for decades have moved in fear of the constant police activity near their own home. The homelike quality of the neighborhood is tainted by the “For Sale” signs popping up left and right, threatening the history of my neighborhood.

   Most of all, I fear abandoning it all unwillingly. With the recent fires and evacuations, I’ve packed and unpacked my bags more times than I can count. I have had to emotionally distance myself from the memories I’ve stored in this place, in order to be prepared to abandon it all. My best friend’s neighborhood, Fountain Grove in Santa Rosa, was completely obliterated by the fire, and her house and all of her belongings went with it. She has adjusted to her new life she had to create from scratch, but her life will never be the same. I fear the same thing will happen to me, that all my sentimentality will be thrown out of the window, without my consent, in order to stay alive. I am prepared to leave my community if need be, but I can never be prepared to leave my history.

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My Homeworld