Stomping Grounds

Saturday I was in my hometown of Elkhorn, which is (I guess now) a neighborhood in the west side of Omaha. It used to be an independent town but was annexed by Omaha several years ago. We were there for the funeral services for Hulk’s grandmother who had passed away last week. After the services, I had to run 8 miles on Saturday so I thought I would use it as an opportunity to check out my old stomping grounds.

There are two things I really miss about Nebraska. One is the sunsets. I don’t know if it’s the air or the plains or what, but sunsets in Nebraska are always spectacular. The other thing I miss is fall. I loved fall growing up. I loved the weather, the crunchy leaves, and the distinct smell in the air that hints of winter on its way. I hate winter, but I love fall.

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And the skies get so, so blue in October.

I started out along a little bike path past the city park we used to play.

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I wanted to take Squish there to play for a little nostalgic, generational indulgence but we didn’t have the time.

Then I turned and headed to “my” side of town. Hulk and I grew up on opposite sides of the main highway through town but didn’t meet until high school. The Qwik Shop gas station/convenience store on the corner was sort of the halfway point between our houses. When I was old enough, my mom would let me walk there with a friend to buy candy. I would stretch the couple bucks she gave me as much as possible and try everything.

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The trees look so big now coming up to my old neighborhood.

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I grew up on Pearl Circle, but with the Omaha annexation the city changed all of the street names to align with the Omaha streets. Now it’s Blinny Circle.

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Again, the trees on my old street look huge.

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And the house where I grew up. Not much has changed. The front garden is gone, and it looked like where we had an above-ground pool is now a playground. It’s kind of a wonky picture, because people were giving me strange looks at this lady running and stopping to take pictures with her phone every two blocks.

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They decorated the yard with mini ghosts and pumpkins for Halloween. Adorable!

Then I ran around the neighborhood to where the neighborhood used to end and cornfields began. Our ‘hood was surrounded by cornfields back in the day, and the farmer would clear a path between the houses and my elementary school so we kids could walk there without having to take the street. The path used to run through here, through these houses.

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And this used to be cornfield.

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And this.

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This post really should be titled, “This Used to be Cornfields”.

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Anyway, here is my old elementary school, Hillrise.

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Hey Amanda, you don’t have to worry anymore about where you’re supposed to stand. They now have the grades marked on the wall on where the kids are to wait in the morning for the classrooms to open.

This playground was built at the end of my 5th grade year. They did a ribbon cutting ceremony and all of the graduating 5th graders received a piece of the ribbon. I think I still have mine. And it was probably a good thing that the kids playing on the playground were unsupervised when I took the picture or there might be some weirded out parents alarmed by the lady running and taking pictures with her phone every two blocks.

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After touring my own little ‘hood I headed back over to Hulk’s side of town. He grew up in the “old” part of Elkhorn where the town was originally founded. There are a lot of cool old buildings and historic stuff from back in the day.

I ran by the community pool. This is where we took swimming lessons as kids, spent a lot of time here in the summer, and I mustered a poor, half-hearted attempt at swim team for two summers since Hulk was on a competitive team all through high school. There used to be a high dive, but it looks like it’s been replaced with a super awesome water slide.

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Oh, and I forgot that they have to winterize here. It’s a thing. I was sorely disappointed when the first drinking fountain at the park I came across was already shut down for the winter. So I ran the whole time with no water.

Then I cut through downtown to a bike path that took me further west out of the town. There’s the water tower!

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It was a bit of a slow pace for me, but after being on a plane for 7-ish hours the day before and having a crappy training week I was just happy I put 8 miles on. I did walk a bit the last half mile or so.

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After my run, I came back to the house to find a Squish meltdown in progress. After the super busy morning with services and family, I assumed he’d just had enough, but the usual tricks weren’t working for him and he was completely inconsolable. Then his grandma took his temp and found he had a fever. Of course he did. So I got to take a sick, tired, cranky toddler with me back to California.

We had a layover of a couple of hours in Dallas/Ft. Worth, so we had a quick dinner and played in a kid’s play center we found. Then the flight was delayed an hour. Then another hour. Then a half hour. By the time we finally boarded, Squish and I had been in DFW for six hours.

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Squish was totally over DFW by this point.

Apparently the cause was heavy fog and winds in SFO, and it affected pretty much all air travel in the US. It’s one of those things that if I had known we’d be there for six hours I would have planned our time a bit differently – had a “real” meal at a sit-down restaurant, spent more time in the play zone, would have let Squish nap in the airport since I was trying to keep him up so he’d nap on the plane, etc. But, whatever. We made it home eventually, and the pilot did a rockstar job at landing in the heavy SF winds. That was a crazy bumpy landing. Squish slept through it all, and I was amazed at how many times he’d nearly be bumped out of my arms, startle, then clunk back asleep.

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This week will be all about getting Squish better, and making sure Hulk and I don’t get sick on top of it. Plus, it’s my birthday week (woot!) so I’ll be planning that, too. Mostly by harassing people for presents. I like presents.

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Geeze, I look like a hobbit in this one. But I’m a hobbit with a gold iPhone 5S, so I don’t care.

My train has been super delayed, so this is a super long post. You can thank Caltrain.

Are you still close to your hometown, or is it long gone like mine? What sort of things do you like to do when you visit old stomping grounds?

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One thought on “Stomping Grounds

  1. MIND! BLOWN! Yeah, the lady who lives in that house now is a little reclusive. Remember that weird look she gave us when we drove by the house last time? But in her defense, you don’t really drive by a house on accident when it’s on a cul-de-sac.

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