Dear John, or, um, Grand Coulee,
As with most breakup letters, this one may come as a shock, but I wanted you to hear it from me first. Small towns being what they are, I began to get worried that you would hear it from someone else before you heard it from me. So I wanted to set the record straight and tell you that although we’ve had our good times, its time for me to move on. In short, I’m leaving you.
As cliche as it sounds, and I’m sure you’ve heard others spout this well-used platitude, it’s not you, it’s me. Fortune and fate are leading me in a different direction and regrettably, I just can’t take you with me. And although it may be hard for you to hear this, I’m not simply leaving you, I’m running away with another town, another whole state, if you are so desperate for specifics.
But, really, I mean it when I say it’s not you. You have been nothing but kind and nurturing to me during our time together. Your lake has seen me splash in your waters, your shores provided sunny picnics and warm embraces. Your buildings have sheltered me during your, admittedly, long and dark winters. I know you’re not perfect, and I’m sure I’ll look back on some of those more pesky quirks with sincere fondness. Such as the way the Electric City air raid siren screams on a semi-predictable basis, scaring the bejesus out of my daughter every time, and making me wonder what it is signifying this time: a fire? a national emergency? a city council meeting? I’m sure I’ll reminisce with fondness about the long drives to the nearest big box store in search of something on my list that I just couldn’t find in town.
But for all your faults, there are times that you can really shine, and I will take that brightness with me, regardless of how many other relationships...or, ehm, cities, I fall in with. I’ll remember the cheery fanfare that surrounds Colorama weekend, and the majesty of the dam in all its seasons. The sparkly lakes and gentle peaks were poetry to my eyes and the quiet and solitude of Northrup Canyon and Steamboat rock were music to my ears. I’ll remember the way my husband so thoroughly enjoyed his job here at the dam, proclaiming he’s never had a better job and co-workers.
Perhaps most of all, what I will hold closest to my heart despite our imminent parting, is that now, whether you know it or not, you are a part of our story. And not just mine, but my daughters’, who doesn’t remember a time when we lived anywhere else, and yet will probably never remember living with you here. But for the rest of her life, Grand Coulee will be a part of her story, and therefore a part of who she is, and who we are as a family.
And so, even though this is a breakup, and what are breakups except a bittersweet goodbye, I want you to know that you will be remembered. If we had this time together in another era, I might give you a forwarding address so we could write letters from time to time. But alas, it is not, no one writes letters anymore. In fact, no one even uses the telephone. And since text messages are too long for a catch-up, I will leave you with my blog http://daniellevick.blogspot.com. If you are ever interested to see what I might be up to, you can check there, even if it is a little impersonal.
Even though this is a goodbye, and it’s possible we might not see each other for a while, or perhaps forever, goodbyes are never final. There’s always the future to look to.
Thanks for the memories.
Previously published in "The Star," Grand Coulee, Washington. April 17, 2013