A change in scenery is a good thing, or at least that's what Emersyn kept telling herself on her long drive to her "new" start. Leaving home was hard. Growing up in a close net family and going to college only a couple hours away made it possible to go home whenever she felt like it. However, over the last year Emersyn's life took a turn she wasn't expecting, and if she was being honest, she wasn't comfortable in her hometown anymore. Her family would always protect her, but a girl can only take so much gossip and busybodies before something needed to change.
After college Emersyn moved back to her hometown and had the opportunity to teach at the local high school for the last three years. Getting back into the familiar routine she once had led her to make, what she now realizes as a horrible mistake, of getting back together with Peter. Peter and she had been high school sweethearts, and the couple everyone thought would be married with 3 kids before they were 25. Instead, Emersyn was well into her 25th year and Peter was the reason why she was leaving everything she knew and moving to Tennessee.
Glancing at the clock she saw it was 5 o'clock in the afternoon. She had been on the road for 11 hours now, and all she wanted was a shower and a bed to crash in. Having said her good-byes to her parents and younger brother and sister last night after a family supper, she woke up early and headed out.
The opportunity to teach history in Tennessee all happened by chance about a month ago. She was reviewing teaching positions in different states, and saw the position in Spirit Meadows, Tennessee. She sent in her employment information, and a week later was called for an interview. The principal, Mr. Warner, explained on the phone they were in a tough spot because the teacher that held the position would not be back due to an unexpected illness. Due to this, he stated because of Emersyn's achievements and reference letters he felt comfortable conducting the interview over the phone, and before it was over had offered the position to her. Emersyn was a little shocked everything happened so fast, but accepted the position right away. She knew this was the push she needed.
Driving in to Spirit Meadows she looked around and took note of the stereotypical small town America. According to the welcome sign on the edge of town Spirit Meadows had a population of 1,100, and driving down Main Street she spotted a grocery store, post office, and bank along with other businesses. Further down the street she noticed a couple bars across the street from a church. "Oh small town life," Emersyn mused, "Where a person only needs a bar to drink away their thoughts, and a church to right Saturday night sins."
Emersyn continued down the street looking around at what would be her new home. She saw a park with a playground to her left and large Victorian style homes to her right. Glancing at her GPS system that was directing her to the house she would be renting, Emersyn quickly realized that while this place was definitely different than her hometown there were some similarities. And while she was happy to leave Wilson, Iowa; she also felt having some sense of home would help with any homesickness.
After accepting the position Emersyn had been in constant contact with Mr. Warner, and because of the short timeframe before school started he arranged for her housing. The GPS alerted her that she had arrived at her destination, and pulling into the driveway she saw a small bungalow style house. The outside was simple, but well kept. Getting out of the car and walking up the path to the front door Emersyn took in the white house with black shutters, and upon reaching the front door lifted up the welcome mat to get the key. Mr. Warner had called about an hour ago to inform her that the other teachers, wanting to make her feel welcomed, had stopped by the house and stocked the refrigerator. He also explained that while he wouldn't be there to greet her he left the keys under the mat, and would see her in the morning at the in-service. With less than a week before school started, Emersyn knew she was going to be stressed with trying to move in while also setting up her classroom, but she was ready for it.
Opening the door, Emersyn had to smile, along the back wall of the living room was a large sign that read "Welcome to town! Go Cardinals!" with a bunch of signatures on it. She could only assume that the signatures were of the other teachers. After the drive she had she was so happy the house came furnished. Walking over to the couch she slumped down and as she looked around took out her phone to call her parents. She told them the minute she arrived she'd call.
"Hello?" her mom, Lydia answered.
"Hey mom, it's Emersyn. I finally made it."
"Oh Emersyn! I've been worried all day about you being on the road, but am happy you made it!"
"Yeah it was a long trip," Emersyn sighed stretching in her seat, "and I'm ready to relax. I think I'll check out the food the teachers brought me, take a shower, and head to bed. I have a busy day tomorrow."
"That sounds like a good idea Emmy. You'll have a busy next few days and get the rest while you can. Are you meeting the other teachers tomorrow?"
"Yeah, we have an in-service meeting tomorrow where any new teachers will be introduced and we'll go over policies and changes to the school district." As Emersyn answered her mom she stood up and walked into the kitchen. It was small, with white cabinets and dark counters. On one of the counters were a couple dishes that Emersyn noticed contained food. Opening the fridge she noticed more dishes, and one that had a piece of paper on the top. Picking up the paper she read the note as her mom began to talk about her day.
Emersyn, Hope you enjoy casseroles! Each of us at the school wanted to make you feel welcomed and what better way than with food. Can't wait to meet you tomorrow. ~Anna Pryor (English teacher)
Smiling, Emersyn turned her attention back to her mom who was explaining about some recipe she was going to try out. "…and then you add the eggs. Oh listen to me going on and on," her mom finally took a breath.
"It's ok mom!" Emersyn laughed. "You are never one for a lack of words! How is everyone else?" As she asked the question she pictured her dad sitting in his chair trying to watch TV as her mom continued to talk. Her brother Tristan would be leaving in the next couple of days to go back to college for his senior year, and her sister Olivia would probably be at volleyball practice getting ready for the new school year.
"Your dad's sitting right here, and keeps looking at me waiting for the phone," her mom muttered, clearly not happy with the idea of having to get off the phone with her. "Tristan and some of his friends decided to enjoy the last few days of summer, and went to the lake. Olivia should be almost done with practice today."
Emersyn thought of both her siblings as her mom talked. Tristan took after their dad with his brown hair and eyes. Both her dad and Tristan had strong masculine features that had a lot of Emersyn's friends commenting on their good looks. Emersyn and Olivia on the other hand took after their mom. All three had blonde hair, with Emersyn's hitting just below her shoulders, and hazel eyes. The main different between Lydia and her daughters, however, were their builds. Lydia had very fine features and was on the shorter side. Her daughters had a few inches on her and more slender athletic body types after years of playing sports.
"Ok, I have to let your dad talk to you before he grabs the phone out of my hand. Get rested, and enjoy this new adventure. I'll talk to you tomorrow after your meetings. I love you, Emmy." Emersyn could tell her mom was getting teary eyed, and quickly reassured her that they'll talk tomorrow.
The moment her dad's strong quiet voice came on the phone Emersyn smiled and sat down at the kitchen table waiting for the casserole she just put in the oven to heat up.
"Emmy, how are you? Glad the drive was uneventful and you made it there safely."
"I'm good dad, tired and ready to sleep that's for sure."
Her dad was never one to use extra words to get his point across, and talking to him on the phone was no different. Maybe that's why her parents had such a great relationship, her mom hardly ever stopped talking and at times it was like pulling teeth to get her dad to say something. "Good….good. Listen, I know you wanted and needed this move, but that doesn't change the fact I'll miss you. You need to stay safe, and knock them dead with your teaching."
"I'll miss you too," Emersyn expressed, "and I'll be safe. As for the teaching, I can't wait to get into the classroom with my students!"
Over the phone she could hear her dad getting up, "I'll let you go so you can eat and get settled into your new house. I love you and I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"Ok, sounds good. Tell mom and Olivia I'll call tomorrow and talk to them and Tristan if he is around. I love you too, bye"
Hanging up the phone, Emersyn sat at the table taking a couple deep breaths. She truly loved her parents and would miss seeing them every day, but they always told her they're only a phone call away.
After she ate and brought in the stuff from her car she finally was able to shower. After showering Emersyn felt refreshed and slipped into her pajamas she found amongst her stuff before getting into bed. It was still early, but the long drive and the stress of moving took its toll on Emersyn and she was quickly asleep. Tomorrow would be a new day in this new adventure. Her last thought before she slept was she wasn't't going to let the past year come between her and starting over.