When I left Ohio almost exactly two decades ago, I had lived there nearly four years and I’d seen enough to know: I wanted to come back to Minnesota.
The benefit of hindsight informs me that I was probably lonely — even though I was married — when I lived in Ohio. I was a newspaper reporter, and I mostly enjoyed my work, but I missed my family.
Still, living in Ohio gave me a new perspective on my home state. I suddenly understood what was meant by “Great Plains”; Ohio might be the Midwest, but it surely didn’t have “plains.” I also understood how a person of Scandinavian heritage had a different work ethic than, say, a person of Southern heritage (southern Ohio is nearly The South, if you ask me).
I was often asked about my accent, too, when I was working in Ohio. What accent? I’d ask, probably with a Fargo-esque twist.
I came to appreciate Minnesota constant road construction, if you can believe it. It seemed like Ohioans couldn’t have cared less about their roads, and I tired of the bumps and holes and twists and turns. [Looking back, Ohio roads probably get fewer potholes because there’s less freezing, so road commissioners don’t budget the dollars for repairs like Minnesotans do.]
I left Ohio back then, and I returned to Minnesota for 13 odd years (some odder than others), and then my Beloved whisked me off to Illinois.
I’m reminded of Ohio today because my Adored stepson is there on business, and he’s loving the landscape. He asked me why I ever left. I didn’t say, “try working in a steel town.” I said, “I’m so glad you’re enjoying it.”
New is always good. New is not so nice when the shine wears off, and it’s tired.
I say that, and I also say this: I’ll never move back to Minnesota. Illinois with its corrupt government and tollways is not exactly better than Ohio, but I can say this: I’m a lot less lonely here than I was in Ohio.