I left Haddonfield for Lewisburg when I was 17, leaving my parents and sister behind as I morphed from Jersey girl to Pennsylvania college student. Little did I know that I would adopt Pennsylvania as a permanent home, and that not just the Bucknell campus, but Lewisburg itself would become one of those places to which I love to return. I grew from a teenager to a young adult during my years there, continuing to pursue music and studying first psychology, then education -- subjects that continue to influence my life three decades later.
And though I grew up less than two hours from the shore (and we made a trip "down the shore" nearly every summer), I didn't grow to love the beach until I was a mother. Initially we took trips there because my husband liked the beach, but over time, I came to appreciate that peace and relaxation we enjoyed in "the quiet resort" town of Bethany Beach, Delaware. I felt a little like a traitor, growing attached to a beach town that wasn't in New Jersey, but the tranquility we discovered in our adopted beach town was enough to assuage my Jersey girl guilt.
My parents no longer live in Haddonfield, and even when we make trips "home" to visit them, we rarely get to Haddonfield. Silly, really, since it's a short trip from my parents' condo to downtown Haddonfield, but we never seem to make the time.
Fortunately, through the wonder of social media, I get a little taste of home whenever I talk with high school friends on Facebook, though they, too, are scattered across the country and beyond. But no matter where we live or how old we are, pieces of the places that have formed us (for better or for worse) travel with us, shaping us and influencing us beyond the boundaries of the places we call home.