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Dear Aumsville, You Made Me Who I am…

This all started with a country song… As most things do.

Kelsea Ballerini has a new single out with Kenny Chesney called ‘Half of My Hometown.’

When I first heard it, I cried. Not going to lie here. She put together in a song about what my growing up years were like.

If you don’t know my story I grew up outside of Salem, OR in a town called Aumsville. Population – 4,099. I went to Aumsville Elementary, Turner Elementary, Cascade Junior High School and Cascade High School – Go Cougs! I did transfer to Santiam Christian HS outside of Corvallis for my senior year but that’s a long story for another day.

I grew up with the same kids in the same town for all of my school years. Half of us wanted to get out to do bigger and better things. Half us of fell in love with our high school sweet heart and live down the street from our parents. And then there’s me… Wanted one, did both.

Growing up I wanted to get out of town, go live in New York City and be something BIG (like every naïve 15 year old). That’s all I talked about and I got into every club and sport and thing I could to try and prepare myself to leave and never look back. But then, I met a boy. Isn’t that a country song right there? lol He’s now my husband and we’ve been married going on 11 years and have two beautiful children. Thank God for that boy coming into my life. He saved me, y’all.

Even though I met him here while in HS we still went off and moved away. We got out, traveled, moved for career opportunities and tried to make something of ourselves but somehow everywhere we went just wasn’t home. We missed family. I, of course, got the career opportunity of a lifetime to come back here and work for The Bull but wouldn’t you know I ended up 11 miles from where I grew up. Yup. Back to the outskirts of Aumsville!

You see, I used to think that there wasn’t anything for me here. That I needed to go out and find myself in the world. And I did… Yet the world, and of course God, brought me back. Without my growing up years in Aumsville, I don’t think I’d be who I am now. I definitely wouldn’t have my love for country music! My high school years were definitely a country song lol

I guess all this to say – where you grow up is always part of you and sometimes you realize that everything you went out in the world searching for was actually right where you grew up. Family, friends, small town living… Doesn’t get much better.

Thank you, Aumsville <3

xoxoxo

Jenn


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