My hometown is Savage, Maryland and except for the four years I spent in Turner Hall at Shepherd College, I have lived in Howard County my entire life. My mother still lives in the same house where I was raised. I visit often and have fond memories of my hometown and my old neighbors and classmates.
However, I was drawn like a magnet to the old stomping grounds of my father and the previous five generations of his family. Our Revolutionary War patriot John Adam Link built his house outside Shepherdstown in 1788 and the family never left until 1954 when my father began his teaching career at Warren County High School in Front Royal Virginia. Somehow during those 166 years a homing instinct was imprinted in the DNA of my family, a unique gene mutation which was passed on to me, a Maryland girl with Jefferson County roots. And my Jefferson County roots keep calling me home.
The matriarch of my family, my Aunt Patsy is gone and her house on the old Uvilla Road that served as the nucleus for family gatherings has since passed out of the family. My father who taught me to jump hills on the Shepherdstown Pike has also passed on although each familiar curve and hill remains. And the only thing left of my Granny’s farm on the Uvilla Road is the old silo. The home place was demolished and a 1970’s split level stands at the end of the long shady lane.
Shepherdstown has grown in the years since my father left. Many of the farms were sold to make way for new housing developments. The town now has a McDonalds, a Dominos Pizza, a Rite Aid, and a Food Lion! Near by Charles Town boasts a Super Wal-Mart along with an offering of chain stores and restaurants that rival the Big City. So much has changed but Dad and Aunt Patsy would still recognize this place, a small town still—where I can drive by the post office parking lot on a Saturday morning and have to pull over to park so I can get out and visit with relatives and old friends who have been connected to my family for more than just a few generations—who still recognize me as Jackie’s little girl.