A bit more than four years ago, I was undergoing a medical test that kept me face down in an electromagnet for about an hour. I tried to conjure up some pleasant memory, to distract me from the reason for, and the discomfort of, the test. So, I thought about the bike ride I took most often in Laramie - from my house on Hidalgo Drive, over the Harney St. bridge, to West Laramie, and out Herrick Lane. Thinking back, I know I could remember every turn, every curve in the road, every climb and descent, every landmark. Now, I can't. Maybe it's the insane amount of anesthesia I've had every year since 2008 or maybe last summer's concussion. Maybe it's just the passage of time and place.
Every day, for the past seven years, since I moved from Laramie to Idaho, I've checked the online version of the Laramie newspaper to see what was going on in my old home town. In many ways, it was my home town. I worked for the University of Wyoming for 18 years, more than four times as long as any other job in my 34-year career. I lived longer in Laramie than any other town, including the one in which I was born and lived until I went off to college. I followed the news of the university, as well as the Cowboy football and basketball teams, watching them on the rare occasions they were on DirecTV, listening over the Internet, or checking scores on the ESPN Web site.
Yesterday, I deleted the Laramie Boomerang from my saved Web pages, and deleted the Cowboys from my ESPN score watches - along with Rutgers and Navy, my alma mater and where I worked before moving to Laramie. I came to realize these are places that really don't matter anymore. It's been a while since I read the Rutgers alumni magazine that comes to me monthly; I've automatically discarded the fundraising letters I've gotten from UW.
I don't see myself ever going back to Trenton, New Jersey; Richmond, Virginia; Vernon Hills, Illinois; Crofton, Maryland; or Laramie. And, if I did, I know they wouldn't be the towns I only partly remember. But there are people who live or lived in each of these communities when I did, friends or acquaintances, who stay in touch through Facebook or the occasional e-mail. And I am happy for their continued contact. They are what remains of my past.
So, here I am, in rural Idaho. After seven years, I can't describe it as my home town. It's not, but it is where I live.