Mourning a Small Town

Mourning a Small Town

When did everyone decide to move here?

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When I was in 4th grade, my best friend and I would ride our bikes to school in the spring. If you're from Western Washington, you'll understand the struggle of having an extremely limited number of sunny days. Drivers would smile at us as we crossed the street, we never had to worry about our bikes being stolen, and we felt very grown up not riding the bus.

On Fridays, we would go to Scott's Dairy Freeze and get a strawberry malt with fries. If we lucked out and had an entire day of sun, we would go to the river. It was too cold to go swimming, but feeling the mountain water run over our feet was enough.

I have a million other memories of adventures we had, but I haven't realized how much I loved living in a small town until it became a big town. Traffic was minimal, the community felt more close-knit, and there were always kids to play with at the park. If you didn't know the people you were surrounded by, chances are you had a mutual friend. I grew up surrounded by mountains. Hiking trails were 10 minutes away, and the air always smelled like pine. Rivers and lakes were cold because they were mountain run off. Growing up, I didn't like living in a small town. Who would want to live somewhere so secluded?

After my first semester at WSU when I went home for winter break, I was shocked. Trees had been cut down to build more houses. Scott's served quality beef in their burgers. The tiny one-screen movie theater had nice velvet chairs. Why was everything nice?

Every time I go back, something new is being built. My small town is fleeting. It's not a surprise that a place 30 minutes from Seattle is expanding (you have to be a different kind of rich to live there), but it makes my heart sad. Hiking trails are overcrowded, my favorite restaurants have been able to up their prices because of the increased demand. Neighborhoods are filled with kids who play video games instead of making their own fun outside.

I wouldn't move home permanently and raise kids there, but if I did, they couldn't have the childhood I did. They'd get mowed over by angry drivers who are late to their downtown Seattle job. Hiking would be full of frustration with people stopping every 2 minutes to take a picture; not to mention parking. $5 can't get you a cheap afternoon treat anymore.

I'm grateful for what I had growing up. I'll always love my hometown no matter how much it changes. But I feel bad for the kids that won't grow up in the same North Bend I did.

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Every Song Comes With A Story...Here's Mine

12 songs that bring back memories.

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From pressing shuffle on my Spotify playlist filled with my favorite classic songs to the song that comes on at the most random times that always seems to get me in my feels, each song comes with a story and reminds me of some of my favorite times in my life, or even just a funny memory. Featuring Tracy Chapman, James Taylor, Imagine Dragons and everything else in between, here are 12 songs that I cherish, never fail to jam out to and maybe even tear up a bit, too.

1. Tracy Chapman - "Fast car"

This past year at college, I have played this song whenever I miss my family or just need a comforting song when homesickness creeps up on me. My mom and dad listened to this song while on a road trip before kids cruising from Maryland to Illinois in my dad's "red rocket," aka his fast car, Pontiac Grand Trans Am.

2. James Taylor - "Carolina in My Mind"

Ever since I was little, my dad would play James Taylor CDs while in the car. Once again, it made for the best road trips. In 2016, my mom, brother and I surprised my dad with tickets to see him live in concert where we could jam out to our favorite songs, including "Carolina In My Mind" in person.

3. The Lumineers - "Ophelia"

Every time I hear this song, sitting on a boat with our family friends, the Otto's, in the middle of Glen Lake in Glen Arbor, Michigan comes to mind. It reminds me of good times spent with good people in one of my favorite places.

4. Greta Van Fleet - "Black Smoke Rising"

I will never forget tag teaming while doing the dishes and jamming out to this new genre of music that my brother Jeremy introduced me to. Ever since then I love listening to Greta Van Fleet and always think of Jeremy when any of their songs play.

5. Jaime Atkins - "Senior Year"

Playing this song on the way to my senior year homecoming football game with my fellow homecoming court nominee, Abby Taylor in the passenger seat had us getting in our feels about finishing our last year of high school. Bittersweet.

6. Dixie Chicks - "Long Time Gone"

Another classic CD known to be played during the Faletto family road trips. It is rare for me to hear this song in public or hear someone else talking about the Dixie Chicks, but when it or they are recognized, I have to text my family group chat and notify them about the monumental moment.

7. Wilson Phillips - "Hold On"

Maybe this song reminds you of the ending scene of "Bridesmaids" or this is your first time hearing it. No matter what, it is a classic and happens to be one of my mom's favorites. With that being said, it makes sense for this song to be included on this list because of how much I love my mom and our dance parties.

8. Capital Cities - "Kangaroo Court"

Throwback to my freshman year of high school, lucky enough to have a brother who was a senior at the time and could be my chauffeur to school every day. This song was our favorite at the time and always made our 7-minute drive to school worthwhile.

9. Imagine Dragons - "Natural"

I can hear the kiddos I babysit say "Gabs play natural!" which is usually followed by a kitchen dance party. Going away to college not only made me miss my family and my friends, but the families I babysit for will always have a piece of my heart. Whenever I hear this song, it makes me grateful for all the memories I've made with my favorite kids the past few years.

10. Maren Morris - "80s Mercedes"

When I got my license, my dad was in the process of buying a new car. I was able to drive his used 2006 Mercedes Benz. He and I both fell in love with this song when it came out, and I would replace the lyrics "...I am a 90s baby in my 80s Mercedes..." with "...I am a 00 baby in my 06 Mercedes."

11. The Head and the Heart - "Missed Connection"

Flashback to driving home for spring break my pals Olivia and Tess. We took the wrong exit but were determined to get back on track using a different route. Well, this route ended up turning to a gravel road with no service for 9 miles. This Head and the Heart song came on and fit the mood perfectly.

12. Gotye - "Somebody That I Used To Know" (feat. Kimbra) 

When this song first came out, it was playing on the radio every time I got in the car. My brother and I sang it to our mom who was immediately hooked and fell in love with it. I can perfectly visualize us driving down the winding road in our town singing this song at the tops of our lungs.

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