Out of Place Series – Kassie’s Story
I flew to visit my friend in his home state of Kansas. The difference between Northwest Kansas and Northern Michigan shocked me. While flying from the Mitten State to the nearest airport and driving towards his family’s farm, I wondered: “Where are all the trees and water?” Under the huge sky, the interstate lie straight and the land flat. Too different from where I grew up! I was fully convinced of this when seeing the town of Brewster the farm was near. Brewster, with just over three hundred people in population, didn’t have malls, restaurants, or universities. Yeesh, it didn’t even have a stoplight! I told my friend I could never live in this part of the country.
Life has a way of taking the sentence you start with “I could never” and seeing it as a dare. I had said, “I could never live in the farming land of Kansas”. Then I married the friend from northwest Kansas, and a year later, I was living in Brewster. I didn’t grow up in New York or Chicago, but I consider myself a city girl. In Brewster, the land was different, the sky was different, and the people were different. I had moved to a small town and it in no way resembled from where I had come.
At first I noticed the differences and what Brewster didn’t have to offer. It was hard not having a large grocery store close by or the beach just down the road like where I grew up. It was strange when the whole town was the size of a small neighborhood. Everyone seemed to drive pick-up trucks and many pulled trailers. I didn’t know anything about farmers or farming life; I had moved to a farming community. With farming as the heart of the town, most businesses are agriculturally related. It is uncomfortable being new and clueless about the normal way of life in your new environment. However, the longer I stayed, the more settled I felt. Soon I not only noticed the differences of my new environment, I also noticed it started to feel like home.
Like a tree that is uprooted and transplanted in a new location, I needed some tender-loving care when I first arrived.Tweet
Like a tree that is uprooted and transplanted in a new location, I needed some tender-loving care when I first arrived. Does a nursery tree that is planted in Brewster quickly notice how hot and windy it is there? I imagine so. A smart gardener will know to plant the tree in the spring or fall (when the temperatures are mild and the rains steadier). I moved to Brewster in the spring and was planted in a beautiful house built in 1900 on the corner of Main Street and Illinois Ave.
I loved the house and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. While my husband was hired to work on the old two story (before we decided to buy it), people would stop by to ask to look inside. They would share stories about the people who lived there before. Different people of the town admired the place, but the house fell into disrepair for a time. As my husband sanded old wood floors and put lighting in the laundry room, I picked out blue and tan paint and worked in the yard. When we chose to buy the house, it made the transition to Brewster easier for me. The old two-story house felt like home even before I put out the welcome mat and hung curtains.
The house was the first reason I started to enjoy Brewster. The other reasons started pouring in, like water on a transplant. The town wasn’t just small; it was friendly and amusing. The Brewster community feasted together. The Lion’s club hosted a pancake feed in the spring. A hotdog and watermelon feed in the summer was put on by the town’s Heritage Center. In the winter, a fish fry fundraiser for the community owned store drew a crowd. Many townspeople would gather, eat, and visit.
The town not only ate together, but also played together. There was a school parade each year, a summer reading program for school-aged children put on by the Beta club, an Easter egg hunt, and coed volleyball games on Monday nights. Children ride their bikes on the quiet roads and families take evening walks.
Throughout the day, I can look out my large windows and see the people walking dogs or taking an evening stroll. Often I load my children in the stroller and am one of the people walking through town. While walking, I am aware it is the neighborhood-like feel of Brewster that is another reason I have settled in comfortably. When I stop by the post office each day to pick up our mail, our postman Brad will give us a friendly “hello”. Others getting their mail will stop to ask how we are doing or remark about the weather. People wave to each other when driving by and the bank and small store have friendly employees.
There are days I miss driving five minutes to see the lake or stepping out my front door to hike in the woods. Yet I have learned Kansas is a good place in which to be planted. I appreciate the differences and am learning more about what makes my new hometown of Brewster special and charming. I hope to stay and become rooted in the way of life here. I thought I could never live here, but learned Brewster is a good place to call home.
If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, this series is for you! Every Monday, we’ll hear from someone who has also struggled to belong. Be sure to subscribe below to get The Scoop so you never miss a post! As a thank you, you’ll receive access to belonging-themed scripture cards and adult coloring pages in the free for you library!
Meet Kassie Selby
Kassie lives with her husband and two young children in a tiny town in Northwest Kansas. She adores books, planning gatherings in her home, and anything made with rice. Her mission is to shine the light of truth through words, caring for her family, and serving her community. You can find her writing at www.juneandjoyblog.com.