Melody Keilig, the new writer for the Times Republican
I have never been to Corydon, even though I grew up in Moravia. So far, I have noticed that this community is twice the size of my adopted hometown but it still has its Midwest charm.
My family and I are originally from Nashua, New Hampshire, where we lived until I was about three years old. My father was in the Army medical field at the time, so we made our first family move to San Antonio, Texas in 1997.
We lived there until I turned six, so I don’t remember too much of Texas except the dry, hot weather and the large insects that scared me all year round.
We moved to Iowa after my father got a teaching position in Centerville through the Troops to Teachers program. He is a certified microbiologist and taught science at Centerville High School and Indian Hills Community College.
Growing up, I always felt that I was more of a New Englander than
Midwesterner, but when I left Iowa for New Hampshire in 2012, I found out quickly that I have a mix of both cultures.
While in Moravia, I remember hearing kids saying they were going to their aunt’s house after school. But I didn’t hear “aunt” as “ahnt,” I heard it pronounced as “ant.” This confused me as a child, until I had a friend explain to me that it meant “aunt.”
Another difference I noticed was when I told my school friends that I would visit my Mémère the next time my family took a summer road trip to New Hampshire. They had no idea what I was talking about; I thought everyone had a “Mémère,” but my mother told me that people in Iowa said “grandma,” instead of the French-Canadian term that is common in New Hampshire.
To this day, I still say “soda” instead of “pop,” “lollipop” instead of “sucker,” and “aunt” as “ahnt.” My parents still have a bit of their New Hampshire accents, but they claim they don’t even notice. My two older siblings adopted some of the Midwest terms, but my younger brother and I stuck to our New England roots.
From the various moves my family has made, I have developed a traveler’s mentality: I always want to be on the move. For the past five years, I have lived throughout New England: New Hampshire in 2012, Maine in 2015, and Boston in 2016-17. I decided to move back home after grad school when the $1400 a month rent left my pockets dry and big city living had finally drained the rest of my energy.
That’s why I’m thankful to have grown up in the “middle of nowhere,” away from the large cities and the noise and stress that comes with them. I can come back and have the Midwestern culture that I recognize and partially missed when I was in New England.
I’m proud to have both cultures; the one I was born into and the one I was raised in, but it also means when I’m living in one place I’m missing the other. For now, I will make my home in Southern Iowa and get to know Wayne County, but there is always another place calling me.