Maybe this was something that only happened in my town growing up or heck, maybe even only my class, but when we were on the bus to go to a field trip, people would get SO excited that we were going to drive past their house or even just their street. “Guys, guys! That’s my house! Right there, the one with the big pine tree by the door!” And all of us on the bus would be like, “Wowww, so that’s where so-and-so lives!” Like it was all so interesting.
When I moved away from my hometown, I would always tell people that I was from the larger town that was nearby. Or even just say that I lived outside New York City. Nobody had heard of my town. That all changed Friday.
Growing up, I probably thought that the President of the United States visiting my town would have been the coolest thing ever. And not that Twitter was a thing back then, but to have the entire world tweeting about us? Hey, that would have seemed cool too.
It started small. Somebody posted on Facebook asking why a bunch of ambulances had just sped down 84. There was a shooting NEAR the school, not in it. And I remember thinking that for somebody to shoot a gun NEAR a school full of young kids, well that person is an asshole. Later, I walked into the lobby only to find everybody glued to the TV and the death toll near thirty. A few of my students asked, “Where in Connecticut are you from?”
When I go to check my Facebook and Twitter now, everybody I grew up with is talking about other things. So it’s really hard seeing all these celebrities and even my own friends that didn’t know where I was from talking about my home. It’s not that I don’t want them doing it – I truly appreciate all the support that I have seen come from all corners of the globe. It’s that I wish they didn’t have to. I wish we could go back to nobody knowing where it was.
Now when people ask where I’m from, I won’t be able to tell them about the little house on the little hill. Instead they’ll be thinking of the twenty little kids that went to their bus stops one morning and got on their busses, just like me and my friends used to. Except these twenty little kids didn’t come home. But no matter what happens, I still know that my little town is a wonderful place to live.