I grew up in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. (BTW, I don't think anyone from Philadelphia actually refers to Philadelphia as "Philly".) I loved my friends, my school, my church, my youth group, my neighborhood, my life.
Then when I was 16 my dad's company moved their corporate headquarters to Oklahoma, and we were the casualties, picked up from our lives as we knew them and dropped into completely new and unacceptable lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, like we were in a witness protection program, only without the law and order drama.
I was bitter and anti-social for a very long time.
My parents tried to make the one-way trip from PA to OK like a "vacation," but we were not fooled. Especially when we kept stopping at historic houses and civil war battlegrounds. I don't remember for sure, but I probably stayed in the car and sulked.
I remember arriving in Broken Arrow on a Friday night that summer. We drove down Main Street at about 7 p.m. No one was walking on the sidewalks. The shops were dark. I literally saw tumbleweed blowing down the middle of the street, like it was some kind of Clint Eastwood movie.
Despair started in my toes and moved north. My legs got heavy, my stomach churned, and my shoulders sagged.
"I've died and gone to hell," I told my parents.
Not that I'm melodramatic or anything.