Thursday, August 30, 2007

UTAHNS ANONYMOUS

Hi, I'm Shellie, and I'm a....I'm a (sob!) Oh my Heck! I'M A UTAHN!! There, I said it! I shall face the truth and swallow my pride. I thought I could be IN Utah but not OF Utah. Pride comes before the fall. No offense to all you other Utahns. After all, you were born here, and it's the natural thing for you to be. For all the quirks, I love you guys so don’t send me hate mail!!!

When I moved here in late 1979, I went into culture shock. Being from the state of "Gypsy"(Thank you IBM for employing my father), I was used to _____________________________________(Any of the 49 states that don’t start with U).
Probably a big part of the shock was that being an idealistic (How old was I in 1979?)1 year old at the time, I expected the kids at my new high school to conform to my idea of what a school full of fellow believers of the dominant religion of the area would be like. Of course I’m generalizing, but there were a lot of Sadducee and Pharisee attitudes around. And how would you say narrow minded in politically correct? Their limited exposure to other ideologies, geologies, and lifestyles made their thinking patterns somewhat nearsighted. Then there was the fashion issue. Apparently, not much had happened on that scene since Brigham Young. This designer named Jessica Mc Clintoc (sp?) was making a killing on these guys by designing revamped pioneer clothes. I walk in with my long straight, sun-streaked California hair and tight ditto jeans, seam running up my leg, around my derriere and down the other leg, and jaws dropped. My toes were going through their own culture shock as flip-flops met snow. O.K., we adjust our attire a little. But the frame of mind bewildered me. I stood in line waiting to graduate with one married girl, one engaged girl, one about to be engaged girl and they are all reassuring me that I would be engaged by the end of the summer! Over my dead body! What were they THINKING? I was just about to start living. Not that we die when we get married, but we ought to at least figure out who we are before we attach someone else to our hip, get a little experience under our belts. Apparently, you are not a whole person though until you get married. But wait, then you’re not really whole till you have a houseful of children. I just didn’t get it. SO, the next day I moved out of state.

Unfortunately, parents have a way of getting their kids to live near them, so I kept finding myself back in Utah. I escaped to Arizona, I escaped to Chile, I escaped to Montreal. Then I got caught. I got married. In Utah. Then we were too poor to escape. But we were by no means Utahns. We just lived here. We waited 2.5 years to have a child. We only had one child for 7 more years. I was smug. I was sure I wasn’t a Utahn. Then we went from 1 to three children. My husband ran right out and got mini-van. We stopped trying to move away. We got complacent. I should have realized I was a Utahn by then, but I was blind to the fact that this living in Utah thing was getting to be a habit. I’d forgotten I’d swore to never raise my children here.
Two years later, I found myself in the OB’s office, completely in denial, wondering what in the heck was wrong with all these pregnant women holding an almost toddler in one arm while a preschooler trailed behind. Seeing as how I had the common sense to leave my 2 and 3 year olds at home, I could forget about that little detail as I sat as alone as a first –time mother. Then I had twins. Now people were asking me how I managed and telling me how brave I was. What a dizzying turn of events. Our mini-van was full. Any more slip-ups and we’d have to move on to a hefty van. I kept catching my firstborn talking about getting the “mell” out of the mailbox and so and so “sluffing” school. We started speech therapy. And then I made the most horrible realization. I might have lived in 8 other places in my life, but over half my life had now been spent in Utah. Not only that, but I would actually miss it if I moved away. (sniff!) BUT I’D GET OVER IT!!!! Which part of the 12 steps am I on?

3 comments:

Jane the Sane said...

LOL :) I know this is an old post but I found it while rooting around. I moved from CA to UT when I was 17 and lived there 5-6 years. I can relate to the culture shock. Even though it was never 'home' I miss the mountains, and sometimes the people. I miss walking to do my visiting teaching for one :)

Jen said...

Oh this is so funny. I used to say I couldn't live in Utah because I couldn't get a green card to cross the border from Nevada--because I only have 2 kids. :)

But they let me in after all. And I'm still an Oregon girl at heart. Heck, I'll even claim Nevada... :)

Anna Maria Junus said...

I've been to visit Utah a few times.

It's a totally different world there, and most of you don't know it.:-)

I met people who were shocked that my grown unmarried children weren't still living at home. This was from a guy who was grown, married, had kids, and was living with his family in his parents basement.

Totally different world.

But I love Utah anyway.