The Wish to Be at Home

A few years back, I made a road trip with my father to his hometown of Stafford, Kansas. It’s a tiny, rural town with a declining population around one thousand. It has six churches and one ever-blinking stoplight. We attended his all-class high school reunion.

At the time, I was pregnant with my first child and I was confused and emotional. I was too sick to continue the graduate program I had just begun, and I didn’t know what to do with myself (besides throw up). This trip was an escape to ground my thoughts in a place that I had always found solace.

As I sat in my dad’s time-warped high school cafeteria surrounded by octogenarians, I listened intently to the speeches from