No matter which way the wind blew, there was always the subtle hint of cow manure in the air. This is what happens when you live directly between two dairy farms, which is where my family was situated for the first 17 years of my life. It was sort of a metaphor for the otherwise beautiful scenery of Glen, NY: namely that life never changed much and it was difficult to get a “fresh” start (pun intended).
Perhaps this is why my math teacher was so adamant about me going to college out of state. He even went as far as driving me out to MIT, probably to make sure I didn’t chicken out. This same teacher would lament about the fates of students that couldn’t quite make a clean break from the hometown and move far enough away. Inevitably, a large percentage of them would return to their parents homes within 6 to 12 months, staying only long enough before setting up permanent residence in the old hometown. And to further solidify the pattern, many would start living the same types of lives and lifestyles as their parents instead of creating their own.