I used to hate you. It’s a really brutal way of opening this article, but it’s the truth- I felt that my future was limited and withheld by sheer force of being a resident. Just shy of six years ago, I made the decision to leave and to start a life I had never, ever imagined for myself. Every Christmas, my little family and I make the 6 hour flight from California/Nevada, all the way back home to Spring Hill, Fl- and even as the city changes, the memories never will.
On that note, to:
- Publix on Spring Hill Dr/Barclay- You will forever be where I remember mom going grocery shopping at 9 AM- and seriously, thank you for the free samples. I can’t tell you how many slices of Virginia Ham I’ve “tried”.
- Nature Coast Technical High School- Everything I went through during those four years is why I’m living on the opposite side of the country, with my own family and becoming a teacher- and I'm forever thankful for every moment spent there.
- Hungry Howie’s- Thank you for ruining any pizza place I try to enjoy on the West Coast. It is now completely impossible. I really miss you.
- Publix Sweet Tea ONLY- I really love you, and I really miss you, but you are the missing piece I would need in order to be 50 pounds bigger. It’s best if we keep our distance.
- Charlene’s School of Dance- If life had been different, my high school years would have been lived through you, but life never goes the way we long for it too. Thank you for shaping my discipline skills, and giving me the best adolescent years I could have ever asked for. Thursday night competition practice, Monday night Acro, and those Saturday morning runs still visit my memories every so often. And yes, I still remember the Salsa, Jai Ho, and the Shark Dance.
- Springstead High School- I’m really sorry I congratulated you on your win against us that one time. I was trying to be a good sport, and that whole situation went in the worst direction it could ever have gone- but it led me to my life now, so sorry… I think.
- Mariner- I learned how to drive in Los Angeles because of you :)
- U.S 50- Really proud that you’re finally finished!
- That illegal left turn at U.S 50 and Barclay- Why do you not have a barrier to stop people yet? It’s such a simple fix, but you’ll get there. One day, maybe. Hopefully.
- That illegal left turn out of NCT in the back parking lot onto Powell- Don’t cut off a cop on a motorcycle.
- Shell gas station on Powell/Barclay- I don’t know how you manage to support all the NCT kids getting their daily big gulp, but good for you honestly. Wish you would’ve told me earlier that that much soda at 7:30 AM is probably not healthy, though.
- U.S 41- All I have to say is if a cop is going 80 in a 60, and even if he’s out of his zone, it’s probably not best if you ride his tail. Also, don’t remind him that he was also going 80 in a 60 in a zone that wasn’t his.
- Roger’s Park- Double check for manatee’s before you do a back tuck off the ramp.
If you asked me if I’m happy, the answer would always be yes. The life I live currently is one that I never imagined possible, or had even come close to what I thought I’d have been doing if I had never left Florida. But sometimes, leaving is exactly what you have to do, regardless of how hard or painful saying “see you later” is- a phrase that never, to this day, is said without tears being shed. But the person I am now, is due to the place I called home for the entirety of my childhood up until January 18th, 2016. As much as Spring Hill is growing and turning into a bigger city, those memories that shaped me still play whenever I drive by, blinded by the amount of time we’ve spent apart.
In a few days, I’ll be reminded once again of each of those memories. And I’ll smile, knowing that the Kaylee that drove on those streets and danced in that studio, would have been so excited to know the Kaylee that now comes home to visit from the West Coast. See you soon, Spring Hill.