July 25, 2007

The Cornish Fair (Cornish, NH)

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Occasionally I am thrown back to my sweet cloudy satisfaction of childhood and the experiences that formed me. It happened most recently when my phone rang this past Sunday morning. Two voices rang out as they half laughing shouted that they were representing the Cornish Elementary School reunion of the class of 198something.

As I talked with Heather and Sharon (the only two classmates to reunite this year) and we caught up on each others' lives, I kept having little flashbacks of my pre-teen/early teen years in Cornish.

We lived in this great little town, where artists made their beginnings back in who knows when. Where supposedly JD Salinger lived. Where Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich were our neighbors. And rumor had it that Tom Selleck had a house near by and so did Charles Bronson. And although my parents were always going on and on about the historical significance of our town, I didn't really care.

I cared that I could swear in the right context (I practiced over and over until it sounded good) so that I could use it when my classmates teased me for being a goody two shoes. I cared that my friends thought it was cool when I said I was going to sue my parents (can't remember what for!) I cared that my mom drove us to school in the special ed bus that she drove, a source of endless mocking. I cared to fit in. That's really all I cared about.

(Picture: My Cornish Elementary School 8th Grade Graduation trip (I was visiting from Washington) to an amusement park in Massachusetts somewhere. Sharon and Heather are on either ends of the back row and I am smack dab in the middle. Perms used to be so cool!)

But then I remember that Cornish is where I won second place in the adult division at the Cornish Fair for my dinner rolls when I was 12. My first inkling of confidence in the kitchen began here. Cornish is where my 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Little, told me that I should keep writing because it was a gift from God. Cornish is where my teenage angst was born and thrived - and where my determination to do what I want to do was born.

During a road trip in 2000 I stopped in Cornish to go to the Fair and replenish my memories. The Cornish Fair is much like the other country fairs in New England, I imagine. But this one smelled like home when I walked the fairgrounds, like cows and fresh air and corn on the cob and the field behind our old house where we had so many adventures.

The Cornish Fair is coming up again in a few weeks. I won't be there this year, but Heather says that next year's elementary school reunion will be around fair time and is going to be a big one. I can't wait. If you live nearby, you should check it out. (The fair, not the reunion.) Buy an ear of corn on the cob for me, k?