I spent one of my fifty-one years in a meager apartment on Strawberry Lane, in a rundown business district of a fading neighborhood. The bathtub didn't hold water and my bedroom window was at ground level, separated from the parking lot by a narrow sidewalk.
Headlights, slamming doors, screeching engines, and squealing tires guaranteed interrupted sleep, night or day. Metal closet doors popped off track daily and the olive, apartment-sized stove clashed with the copper refrigerator that required weekly defrosting. The single, unadvertised amenity was a slow draining kitchen sink that provided a frequent excuse to dine out.
I moved on to nicer apartments with matching appliances, walk-in closets, and adequate plumbing, and eventually bought my own homes in residential neighborhoods. Still, at the lowest points in my life, I was homesick for Strawberry Lane. Decades later, I finally understand why.
Home is where the heart is. I had sown the seeds of my hybrid heart on Strawberry Lane, when I settled as comfortably into my role as wife and mother as I had been in my role as daughter, and realized I didn't have to give one up to have the other. I reveled in the one opportunity I had in life to have my cake and eat it too - freedom and independence yet with the security of a husband and extended family to pick me up if I fell. My world was safe, my opportunities endless, and life couldn't have been better.
It wasn't the building or neighborhood I longed for when I was homesick for the apartment on Strawberry Lane. I missed the promise life offered while I lived there.
Today, I feel the same homesickness for my country. I long to return to an America that protects me and offers endless opportunity instead of glitzy amenities. I miss the Strawberry Lane America that feeds the hungry, houses the poor, medicates the sick, and hugs the lonely.
I want an America where there's a party in the courtyard at night to make up for the headlights in the bedroom window. I want to have my cake and eat it too, not sacrifice freedom for a faÃ§ade of security.
When I moved to Strawberry Lane, my father didn't sell my security blanket to buy himself a new golf club. I wish America still loved me the same.
Daddy died of cancer in 1989. The apartment complex on Strawberry Lane burned down in 1992. A bush stole America in 2000.
Maybe it isn't too late to recover the last one.
UPDATE: 9/12/11 Although we have replaced Bush with President Obama, who does want to return America to the people, we are still suffering Republican obstructionists who have stated they want to see President Obama fail even if they take this country down with him.
Please, contact both Senators and tell them this is unacceptable.
Mitch McConnell 202-224-2541
Mike LeeÂ (801) 609-8692