I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. I suppose in a sense, that’s my hometown. I lived there until I was 5 so I don’t have many memories of it. One of the memories that stands out the most, strangely enough, is not really of Cincinnati. it’s actually of leaving Cincinnati on Sunday afternoons and heading over the Ohio River to Dayton Kentucky where my grandparents lived.
I remember begging my dad to “take the singing bridge”! The way the bridge was constructed, when cars would drive across, it would make this humming sound and to a small child, that sure sounded like it was singing to me. I remember getting close to the stadium and crossing my fingers, hoping that when we passed it, I would be lucky enough to see the balloon man who stood on the corner every game day.
When we arrived at my grandmother’s house, I would go running in, letting the screen door (one of those awesome wooden ones) slam behind me (much to her chagrin!) yelling, “Hungy Grandma, hungy” (and yes it’s hungy not hungry – don’t really know why I didn’t pronounce the “r”), which was my way of letting her know that I was more than ready for some of her amazing cooking. The meal was usually Southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes and white creamy Southern gravy. I’m sure there was other food as well but Grandma made the best fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy in the world so that’s what always stood out for me.
After we ate, I’d grab my dad’s hand and drag him out the door. My grandma lived only a couple blocks from the Ohio River and I loved going down to the riverbank with Dad to watch the boats travel up and down. If we spied one of those old fashioned riverboats, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Actually going on one of those riverboats is still high on my bucket list.
When we’d get back to Grandma’s house, I’d run to the side porch and make a bee-line for her porch swing. Back and forth, BANG, back and forth, BANG – I’d just swing and swing and swing, each time banging the swing right into the outside wall of the house until one of the grownups would come out and tell me to stop. I tried – really! I tried so hard to swing gently and not slam into the house anymore but it didn’t take long before it started once again.
Soon, my dad would join me out on the porch. I can still remember the sweet scented tobacco blend burning as he lit up his pipe. Looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure he just came out there to make sure I would stop making my mom and grandma crazy with all the banging noises, but I treasured that alone time with him. He would tell me stories about growing up in Dayton, teach me all about the river and river life, and we’d usually end our time together by making plans to go fishing.
Once we moved away from Cincinnati (heading to Montreal when I was 5), we would return to Dayton to visit my grandma. Although I knew that I had been born and had lived in Cincinnati, it was Dayton that always made me feel at home. There was always something comforting about going back to Grandma’s house, sitting on the porch swing, sipping a sweet tea (or Mountain Dew – and then my dad would do his funny rendition of the Mountain Dew song in this weird accent that I think was his idea of what a hillbilly would sound like) and watching the sunset over the river. To this day, there is a sense of tranquility, of belonging, of home whenever I get the chance to be in Dayton, Kentucky.
What is your definition of a hometown? Is it where you were born? Where you grew up? Or maybe the place you most connected with?
I’m taking part in the Canucks Content Carnival blog hop– monthly writing prompts. This month is: My Hometown. Check out the posts by my blogger friends on this same topic below.
Lisa Marie says
Isn’t it always interesting to think of our childhood and what it means to us? I agree – home is where your family is and the memories we have there.
I love your memories of the time with your grandma. <3
Thanks so much for sharing with us!
What wonderful memories you have of your home town…and that of your “adopted” home town, Dayton KY. I love the stories about your grandma and going down to the Ohio river with your dad. My nephew and family live in Kentucky (after moving from Ohio last year). I hope to get to Kentucky one of these days as it’s one state I’ve never been able to visit yet. Great post, Cyn!
jodi Shaw says
That is so awesome, the memories you have, your dad’s pipe. It’s funny how we store those things away. When I was little my dad used to tuck me in before hitting the road for his job, and I remember the smell of Aqua Velva after he’d shaved. I love the house with the porch, so beautiful. Kentucky is a city I’d love to visit. Many Nascar drivers come from Dayton, hubby would love it!
Bonnie Way says
Awww, those are great memories! Sounds like a lovely childhood. I love the “singing bridge!” Makes me think of my daughters and things they say. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Pinx JL says
I can actually imagine you as a little girl while reading your post. I can see the grown up’s reaction to your banging the swing! In the place that I call hometown (the place where I am most connected with) there are small rivers and it is sure a nice way to spend a day or afternoon just to while away the time. Thanks for sharing about your hometown!
Margarita Ibbott (@DownshiftingPRO) says
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your post. I can just picture you as a little girl, red hair blazing and flying running to see your grandma. I can smell the tobacco and see the boats byt the river. Great writing! Thanks so much for sharing Cyn, it was wonderful seeing a part of your childhood.
What a beautiful post! I love how clear your memories are! Its funny that you use to say Hungy as that is what my DD2 says all the time!! Do you know what makes the bridge hum? Is it the metal and the vibration of the cars? It makes it very magical, especially for a 5 year old!
Kristen B says
What lovely memories you have. My grandmother’s house provides the same sense of comfort for me growing up. I love that you and your dad would sit outside and talk about fishing. My dad and I always did that as well.
What wonderful memories you have of your grandparent’s house. I always wanted a house with a big porch and room for a porch swing! I still dream that one day I will have that.
What hometown means to me is somewhere where you were born and raised. Where I live now, I do not consider it my hometown.
Suzanne Rudge (MapleMouseMama) says
The memories of your hometown are lovely Cyn! I love how the old homes used to be constructed and have always wanted a porch swing myself 🙂 And I totally got the “hungy” cause that is how my daughter used to say it, LOL
I loved reading your post Cyn and hearing about your wonderful memories. I have always wanted to move to the country and own a big house like your grandparent’s, complete with porch swing…it sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing!
Love love this! Love childhood memories! My sis just moved to cincy too.
Wanda Tracey says
I really enjoyed reading this.I grew up on a farm on the edge of a beautiful lake.We moved away once for a few years to the city and then moved back eventually.I think in that time the thing I missed the most,even more than the lake and the sunsets were the cedar trees.If you were to ask me now I would say the lake because we spent so much time either swimming or fishing but at that time I missed the cedar trees that grew all around the lake.There were none of them anywhere in the city and I related them to home.