I grew up in the very small town of Norfolk, CT. It seems fitting that the week before I leave this place I’ve considered home for 24 years, the town puts on a celebration of its rich history. The weekend was packed with activities, music, and exhibits showcasing the way this small town has developed over the years. And by that I refer to what I always tell newcomers, “Norfolk is a town untouched by time.”
One of the stops on our journey was to visit the Norfolk Historical Museum. Once inside I got to see pictures of all the beautiful architecture this town has as they say “hidden in plain sight”. I was also able to see some notable historical figures who paid a visit to this small town including Mark Twain, President Taft, and Sibelius.
Not only are their beautiful buildings in Norfolk, but the first thing we checked out were the different stained glass windows the churches have, including the Tiffany windows in the Battell Chapel. One of the churches is literally the street over from mine, yet I had never been inside of it until this weekend. One of the very few public buildings I had yet to enter. As predicted, the artistry of the windows was beautiful.
One of the churches was also showing a quilt exhibit where members of the “Haystack Quilters” had made beautiful quilts to be donated or bought and the money used to buy the quilts was to be donated all to Susan B. Anthony. It was incredible to see something requiring so much effort and care be lovingly dedicated to such a worthy cause.
I also learned that Harry Potter’s father (James Potter) was apparently a minister at this church…
Norfolk is known for a few things, either by just the locals or a select few who have happened to hear of this town. We have the Yale Music and Art Summer Program, Infinity Hall, Haystack Tower, Tobey Pond, Dennis Hill, Campbell Falls, Norfolk Library, “the big slide” at Botelle School, Woodcreek Pond, and the Land Trust Trails. Our population is roughly 1600. We are known as the “icebox” of Connecticut for having the highest elevation and therefore the coldest winters and mildest summers. I grew up in the house my dad grew up in and in just a week I’ll be leaving it to move all the way across the country.
I have been more than a bit reflective lately, knowing that my time to leave this town is coming near. There are so many more things I’m leaving as well: my family, my friends, my two cats (they belong to the family), the career path I was headed in, and all the safety I had built up around this community, the comfort I knew I could seek from any person I might happen across on the street. Instead I am forced to face the unknown: a new city (a big city), no job (and struggling to find one online), and no community support system that I have grown accustomed to. And while I am nervous and stressed about the move, I find myself mostly, overwhelmingly, excited.
Excited because I am finally “leaving the nest”. I’ve never lived more than an hour away from this home I’ve made in Norfolk. Excited because I’m no longer tied down by the path I chose. I don’t know if I want to be a music teacher for the rest of my life starting NOW, but I have time to figure that out because nobody expects me to be teaching music in downtown Los Angeles. I am “too nice”, the students would walk all over me. Excited because for the first time in my life I’ve convinced myself to give writing a try, to stop hiding my words from stranger’s eyes and take a leap into the world of rejection and failure with the slimmest hope that I might come out relatively unscathed. Excited because I’m looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
I’m sure I will cry on the day I depart this small little town that holds a big piece of my heart, but at least I can reassure myself that I am departing because I’m ready. I’m ready to pursue my dreams. I’m ready to redefine my way of living.
I’m just ready.