“No matter where you go, there you are.” ~ unknown (but my dad always said it, so as far as I’m concerned, he coined the phrase.)
I started off life like many other children. I was born in a hospital, in my case a Roman Catholic hospital. My parents were Baptists. So that might be one indication that things might have started off a little weird.
My parents let my brother pick out a name for me. He told them he liked the name Sharon. They either forgot or didn’t like that name and pretended that they forgot. I was named, Sherri. I like that name. It suits me better than Sharon. Not that I have anything against the name Sharon. I’ve known several Sharons who are lovely people. But no, I am a Sherri for certain. A derivative of the name Sherry taken from the word sherry which is, in essence, a dry white wine. But not always! Sometimes sherry can be very sweet! Very dry or very sweet. Yes, that name suits me.
So my parents brought me home to a non-descript, red-brick house when I was days old. I might have grown up in that house, gone to the same school my whole life, graduated with the kids in that school, etc. The kind of life many kids have. Of course, I didn’t have that kind of life. That’s what makes me the misplaced tourist.
I’ve made a sort of travelogue to commemorate my touristy life so far. It all began in the small town of Carlsbad, New Mexico. (I briefly toyed with the idea of calling this lifestyle blog: The Misplaced New Mexican, but Tourist finally won out.)
- Carlsbad, New Mexico: duration – 2 years, abode – red-brick house, scenery – typical family dwelling, normal American family life
- Alpine, Texas: duration – 7 years, abode – the back of the fast food restaurant my parents owned, scenery – industrial restaurant (lots and lots of grease everywhere), hot, West Texas desert, family restaurant life.
- Fort Stockton, Texas: duration – not even a year and it was sandwiched between the 7 Alpine, Texas years, abode – a rental house where we only went to sleep, otherwise we lived in another fast food restaurant my parents briefly owned, scenery – abysmal, industrial restaurant, nasty tasting tap water, general feeling of misery day in and day out. Hence, the move back to Alpine.
- Carlsbad, New Mexico (2nd time): duration – 1.5 years, abodes – 1. Nice rental in a retirement neighborhood. 2. My uncle’s vacant house, scenery – nice, normal family life returns briefly.
- Farmington, New Mexico: duration – 4 years, abodes – 1. We lived with my cousin in a small 2 bedroom apartment. 2. We rented a nice house with gray siding. The lawn was clover instead of grass. 3 We were thinking of buying a nice, normal family dwelling, but suddenly my mom bought this strange, funny smelling house that sat sideways on the lot. The front door was located in the back., scenery – Farmington is pretty, but my time there was not. I hated it, quite literally.
- Carlsbad, New Mexico (3rd time): duration – 5 years, abodes – 1. We lived with my cranky, grandmother. 2. So, we escaped to a small, flat-roofed adobe house rental. 3 Then, my mom secured us another rental just a few blocks away in a larger house. 4. Finally, she bought another odd house just down the street from that rental.
- Las Cruces, New Mexico: Time to branch out on my own, first as a college student, and then as a married woman, and then as a parent of 3 kids. Duration – 8 years, Abodes – 1. roach infested girl’s dormitory 2. cricket infested student apartment 3. a ground-level apartment in a questionable part of town 4. same apartment complex but upstairs this time 5. a mobile home rental 6. a mobile my husband and I bought and placed in a mobile home park 7. an acre of land we purchased in a desert subdivision where we moved our mobile home to 8. a mobile home rental sitting waaaaay out in the desert. It was infested with no less than 3 different kinds of crickets., scenery – college life town, lush valleys, dry desert mesas.
- Fort Worth, Texas: Duration – 4 years, abodes – 1. our friend’s generously shared their house with us while we waited for housing to open up on seminary campus 2. mold infested seminary housing 3. old but nice (no mold!) apartment near downtown Fort Worth, scenery – big city Texas life, seminary life, homeschool life
- Shelby, Montana: Duration – 18 years and counting, abodes – 1. a parsonage 2. a quirky little cottage on a hill (a.k.a. my desert island), scenery – frontier county, ranches, lots and lots of farmland, homeschool life, small town life
To date, I’ve lived in Montana longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. Nevertheless, I’m still just a tourist. You have to be born here to be considered a bonafide local resident. That’s okay though. I’m happy to be a loyal, local tourist in the Big Sky State. There’s no other place I’d rather live.