Welcome to What I Miss Most, a recurring column in which writers wax poetic about the things from home that they found themselves yearning for upon moving to NYC (or the things from NYC they craved upon moving away from it). For an archive of previous What I Miss Most columns, click here.
I had a good childhood. The first 18 years of my life were spent smeared in blood, gunpowder, and the occasional chigger (don’t fret: my father is a hunter). Mountain pinks and grape hyacinths line the path up to my parents’ converted rancher, wherein Dad’s trophies and overexposed photos of me at prom hold court.
I spent most of my time setting rabbit traps and blueing my palms with the huckleberries that grew out back, in the part of our property that bled into the untouched wilderness of the Pinelands Reserve.
My hometown is the sort of small place that makes leaving difficult. “Village of Chatsworth, Population 1,200,” a green road sign proclaimed last time I was there. This was new. Prior, Chatsworth was a mere “unincorporated community,” which was still a pretty highfalutin name for a cluster of houses, a squat municipal building, and a red-brick schoolhouse serving grades K-8. Our post office lives in a trailer, and our hot dog cart is locally "famous.”