Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The elevator

Last weekend, I made a very quick (less than 48 hour) trip back home to Kansas. While I was there, I took pictures of many of the places that reside within my memory. It was an interesting trip. I had a friend of mine along for the ride and because of this, I saw my town, my state, and my life from a whole new perspective. I've decided to write a blog post for each of the pictures I took while I was there so that I can remember, and so that my children will have my stories.

The first picture I will share is the first one I took upon arriving in my hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas (affectionately known as "Hutch).

Hutch has a lot of grain elevators. In fact, I'm wishing I had taken a picture of the "city" skyline, which would mainly consist of grain elevators. The one in the picture was the world's largest when it was built at 1/2 mile long. It could hold 46 million bushels. It is now the 2nd largest grain elevator in Kansas and there are larger in the world, but it is still a really large elevator.

The elevator is in a state of neglect right now. Even though it is still in use, it is no longer the pristine white I remember it being when I was young. As long as it held the spot of world's largest, it was painted regularly and was a source of pride for my hometown.

My earliest memory of the elevator is not a complete memory. The only part of the memory I can bring to mind is riding in my dad's pickup truck. He stopped at one end and I can remember somebody getting me out of the truck. My siblings are all present in my memory and the last thing I can remember is running as hard as I could to try to keep up with them.

The full story, as it was retold often by my dad, was that I was still in diapers then. He took us to the elevator so we could see how long it was. Since it was a half mile, he suggested that we run to the end and back and then we would know we had run a mile. I was the youngest of four children. My siblings would have been 12, 9 and 7. I would have been about 2. It is the first memory I have of a very strong desire to be like them. It mattered to me that I was left behind while they ran ahead of me. My father followed along behind, slowly, in his truck so that he could convince me to get back in. I probably only ran about a 5th of the length of the elevator. Dad always said I was crying that I had not been able to keep up and mad that he wouldn't let me keep going.

One of my first memories in life tells a story of a little girl who was striving to keep up with someone else, to achieve someone else's dream. If only she had known how frivolous that endeavor would be.

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