When I graduated from Paducah Tilghman in 1978, I headed to Texas, where they grew ‘em tall (an important fact when you’re a girl and are 6 feet tall yourself). I waved goodbye to my parents, put the pedal to the metal and – after being stopped for speeding – carried all my worldly goods into a dormitory brimming with excited freshmen.
I wasn’t looking back.
Never did I dream that I would end up right back at “Go,” minus the $200 that I had been promised by the Game Fairy of Life. What a rip-off! I had gone 739 miles away to start my grand adventure. How had this happened? How had I ended up right back here? I had had big plans that included writing for a national magazine, living in a city of diversity – heavy on the arts, having fabulous friends who were intelligent, funny, and interesting—and effortlessly remaining a size 4.
I sulked for a couple of years. I thought God had played an elaborate trick on me. I had actually prayed, “Anywhere but Paducah, God. I’ll go anywhere but Paducah.” (Now I’m experimenting with the prayer, “Anywhere but Hawaii, God.” But, reverse psychology doesn’t seem to be working on the Creator of the Universe.) Can’t tell you exactly why I was willing to go anywhere but Paducah. And was I really serious about that? Was I willing to go to Kinshasa, the poorest city in the world where the Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered through long-running internal wars, and is generally accepted as the poorest country in the world? Was I willing to go there over Paducah?
Eventually I grew tired of sulking. It takes a lot of energy to be mad at the universe. Slowly, I changed my attitude. Slowly, I realized I had not been ripped off at all. Yes, Rome was more romantic, but for my purposes, Paducah was stacking up quite nicely.
My criteria had been: 1. Publishing my writing in a national magazine. Check. Not only have I been published nationally, I get to write for this outstanding magazine month after month. 2. Living in a city of diversity – heavy on the arts. Check. I live in LowerTown, arguably the most diverse neighborhood in Paducah and full of artistic talent. 3. Fabulous friends. Check. Don’t get me going on the quality of my friendships. Somehow I have been able to find THE most wonderful people in the world right here. And, finally, 4. Effortlessly remaining a size 4. Truth is, I never was a size 4, at least not since I wore a 4T. Alas, I didn’t even remain a size…Hey! It’s not my fault. There are too many wonderful restaurants here. Flamingo Row alone is responsible for 10 pounds.
Still, poundage aside, PADUCAH LIFE is fantastic!