Hometown

Don't be afraid to tell your story

Bonus: Q&A With Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert — July 1, 2019

Bonus: Q&A With Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert

Episode Notes

A conversation between the creators of the show Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

Unfortunately, the transcript for this episode was delayed. We will have it up as soon as possible, and apologize for the inconvenience.

Jenne Transcript — June 13, 2019

Jenne Transcript

You can download a PDF version of the transcript here.

8 – Jenne Transcript

[Hometown theme fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[Theme fades out]

Kiera: Welcome back to hometown! Today, you’ll hear from Jenne, a college freshman who grew up here. She doesn’t go to the local university, but she comes home frequently, and when I interviewed her she was on a break. I really enjoyed meeting with Jacquelyn. She seems like one of those really rare people who just have things figured out. I wish her the absolute best in her studies and what is sure to be a very bright future.

[Cut to interview]

Jenne: Are you recording now?

Kiera: Yes.

Jenne: Okay cool.

Kiera: Would you like to introduce yourself?

Jenne: Uh yeah, my name is Jenne. I grew up here, went through the schools here, and now I’m in college about an hour away. It’s my first year in college.

Kiera: How’s that going for you?

Jenne: It’s been good! I mean I enjoy most of my classes, and I’ve found really good friends. I still have to take math, unfortunately. But it’s a lot less stressful than high school.

Kiera: Really? What makes you say that?

Jenne: Well I was kind of the girl who did everything in high school. You know, almost straight-A student, played the flute, worked on the yearbook, national honors society… you get the picture.

Kiera: That does sound stressful. I can’t say that I did that much stuff when I was in high school. I guess I was mostly just focused on academics.

Jenne: Now that I’m in college, all I have to worry about is the straight-As. Although I do still have my flute actually. I’ll mess around with it every once in a while.

Kiera: Did you do the uh, marching band?

Jenne: Yeah I was in marching band all four years of high school. I was actually drum major for the last two years. [A pause] That’s the conductor.

Kiera: Oh that’s neat!

Jenne: Yeah I liked it a lot. Of course, it was a big time commitment. And so was literally everything else I did.  Plus, my high school was whack.

Kiera: [She laughs] What do you mean?

Jenne: There was so much drama! But I don’t mean like regular teen drama, I could have maybe dealt with that a bit. But like in the staff of the school! If you paid attention t2here was some crazy and messed up stuff going on behind the scenes.

Kiera: Behind the scenes?

Jenne: Well, there were just lots of crazy things that happened. Plus just normal high school drama between girls, the occasional sexist teacher… it was a lot to take. I went through terrible breakups, as they happened to me and my friends. And one or two caused by backstabbing. It got tiring. But hey, college is great! And I have a lot more free time. Which has been nice to be able to pursue some other interests.

Kiera: Like what?

Jenne: Well I mentioned I was in yearbook? It turns out I really like photography. And the campus I’m at is really beautiful. Most Saturday mornings I’ll get up kind of early and walk around taking pictures. It’s just a hobby, but I enjoy it a lot. It’s…relaxing. A kind of “creative outlet” I guess. (laughs at herself)

Kiera: That’s really interesting.

Jenne: Yeah I’m glad at least something positive came out of my time in yearbook.

Kiera: Was it not a very good experience overall?

Jenne: [she laughs] I wouldn’t say so, no.

Kiera: Why?

Jenne: Well like I said, I loved taking pictures and doing the editing and everything but man, wild stuff went down while I was in it. I actually considered writing a novel based on what happened during my junior year of high school. It was so crazy.

Kiera: What happened?

Jenne: It’s kind of a long story, is that okay?

Kiera: Of course!

Jenne: Okay so here’s what happened. It was my junior year, and I had just become editor of the yearbook. I was really excited. We picked a theme for the yearbook, we had it mostly mapped out. The year started off like normal. And so we had these two advisors for the yearbook. They were both fairly young, one was a bit older. Well the older one, he got sick. Since I don’t want anyone to connect this back to them, I’ll just call them Mr. R and Mrs. A. Mr. R is the one who got sick. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but he couldn’t be at school for a while. It wasn’t super serious, he was only gone for about two months. So Mrs. A had generally run things because she had been there longer, but obviously, since she wasn’t there Mrs. A stepped up a lot. But when Mr. R came back we all figured that Mrs. A would step aside again and things would pretty much just go back to normal. But that’s not what happened.

Mrs. A didn’t want to back down. She wanted to keep all the power. All the power that comes with being in charge of a high school yearbook I guess. But anyway, that’s how this major power struggle began. The two of them fought all year, through passive aggressive comments and power moves. At first, they wouldn’t argue outright in class, but that came later.and they divided our yearbook staff. Everyone was choosing sides, it was terrible! And I was stuck in the middle trying to mediate between two teachers! And really I liked them both. I didn’t have strong feelings either way, I just wanted things to calm down. So finally at some point, I stood up during class and just kind of talked to everyone and said this really needed to stop. And I didn’t direct it at the teachers, but they were definitely included in the people who needed to stop! And I tried to remind everyone that we had a lot to do and that we needed to put all our feelings aside and get things done whether we like it or not, but it didn’t really work. Next thing I know, Mrs. A is pulling me and the other editor into her office and starts talking trash about Mr. R, and telling us how we needed to talk to the principal and get her fired.

Kiera: Like, you the students?

Jenne: Yes!

Kiera: That’s unbelievable.

Jenne: I know! And I said uh how about let’s not do that. And, right after that, I did go to the principal. And at this point, it’s about April. And I just tried to explain what was going on. And it turns out he already knew. He had known since February.  And so then I started to feel a bit upset, and I asked him why he hadn’t done anything about it if he had known for several months. And he told me to stay out of the adult’s business. And so then I got pretty upset. I told him that if the adults could behave like adults and stay out of our lives then maybe we wouldn’t have to get in theirs, and maybe he should do his job. And so he asked me “Well what are you going to do about it?” and so I said “here’s what’s going to happen. You are going to fix this. And if you don’t, the entire staff will walk. And you won’t have a yearbook.”

Kiera: Woah. Do you really think they would have?

Jenne: Absolutely. We were all completely fed up with the whole thing. Completely unacceptable.

Kiera: So what happened? Did it get fixed?

Jenne: No. He came in and talked to us. But then it got worse. They were arguing in class in front of all of us. Things just kept escalating. And the staff was fighting all the time too, everyone had picked sides. It was awful. Probably the worst year of my life. We all probably cried a lot over it. Finally, we got towards the end of the year, and we got to a day where basically they raced to the principal’s office to quit. Mr. R got there just before Mrs. A, and quit. So she moved away, and the next year there was just Mr. B. And that whole year was pretty much just dealing with all of the damage left from the year before. A lot of people refused to work. I had to get up in front of the class again and tell them we still had to get the yearbook done. And there was still a lot of drama that had to be dealt with, and I basically did it all by myself.

Kiera: That’s insane. And terrible. I’m sorry you had to go through that!

Jenne: It’s okay. It was awful and stressful, but it does make for a pretty good story looking back.

Kiera: That’s a very optimistic outlook. I like that. And you’re right, it’s a very interesting story. I’m glad college is going better for you.

Jenne: You know, there were good times in high school too of course. There were dances and dates, and the hot summer days when I went out for ice cream with friends. There was the satisfaction of a well-organized desk at home and a straight-A report card. And there was playing the flute and conducting at games every Friday for months on end. I have a lot of good memories of this place too.

Kiera: What do you think connects you the most to this town?

Jenne: Hard to say. I guess it’s just kind of the routine of things. Like, the specific places here that became routine. Going for burgers in the same place after every football game, the ice cream shop my mom would take me to after every band concert. The park my friends and I played at in elementary school, and the swingset my friends and I still went to in high school. The shopping center I went to every August during the tax-free weekend to get all of my new school clothes, the store that always had the cutest printed button-downs. Those routines that become so ingrained in you that when the time to move on to new routines and new places, you think back fondly to the days in your hometown. And, in those bad times like in high school, those routine things, they made the bad times bearable. I don’t know if I’ll live here my whole life. But it will always be a part of me.

[End of interview]

Kiera: Thank you so much for listening to Hometown! And remember, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

[Outro music fades in]

Hometown is created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Today’s episode featured the voices of Aubree Seibert as Kiera,  and Kayla Whittington as Jenne. Original music was composed by Jonathan Sandy. Find more of his work on spotify under Jonathan Sandy. Graphic design by Hannah Perkins.

Special thanks this week goes to Crystal Summers for her advice, Jenne Finke for donating to our Indiegogo campaign, and Dr. Russell and Mrs. Alexander for all of their encouragement in pursuing creative projects.

If you like our show and want to hear more as well as get rad rewards, be sure to support us on patreon, which helps us improve and make more of the show. You can find our patreon at patreon.com/seibertandseibert. That’s P A T R E O N dot com slash S E I B E R T and S E I B E R T

Keep up with us on twitter and instagram at hometowncast, and find transcripts and merch on our website at hometowncast.wordpress.com. You can also join our discord community.

Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you for our next episode which will be our season finale, Virginia on June 20th.

Until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

8 – Jenne — June 12, 2019
7 – Brad —
Brad Transcript — June 6, 2019

Brad Transcript

You can download a PDF version of the transcript here.

7 – Brad Transcript

[Hometown theme fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[Theme fades out]

Kiera: Hello! Welcome back to Hometown! I am so excited about the story I have for you today. Today, I spoke to Brad and honestly I just had a really good time talking to him. And I thought his story was really interesting, and it didn’t end the way I expected. I hope you enjoy it.

[Cut to interview]

Kiera: Thanks again for agreeing to the interview.

Brad: Of course, yeah. [A slight pause] Uh… is there something you wanted me to talk about? Because I can do that… just… give me something to talk about and I’ll… do it.

Kiera: Well if you’d like to introduce yourself that would be a great place to start.

Brad: Well, um… I’m uh, I guess… my name is Brad. I’m a manager at a restaurant, but… that’s really not that interesting. And I’ve lived here all my life.

Kiera: What is it that makes you stay here?

Brad: Right. Um… that’s the point of all this yeah? To share what makes this town special?

Kiera: That’s the idea, yes.

Brad: Well, growing up I guess I had a pretty normal childhood. Nothing super distinctive. Grew up around good people at school, had the typical high school experience. I still see some of my old high school buddies sometimes which is kind of weird, but mostly fine. The people in my class were nice enough. I mean, aside from my first girlfriend. That was a mess. But other than that, I don’t know. This is just… it’s familiar. And sometimes yeah I’ll see new things, but generally… I mean, it’s everything. I guess it’s just… I don’t have a reason to leave, because this place… has everything.

Kiera: So, is there anything in particular that you feel makes this town special?

Brad: I mean, any town this size is going to have some similarities with here. You’ve got the local coffee shops, the small businesses and a couple of radio stations that run ads for local injury lawyers. But… I don’t know I think there’s just something about the familiarity of it all. Plus, you know, the library’s pretty great. I mean, I know other places have libraries that are probably bigger, but… I don’t know. I feel… it’s sort of a special for me.

Kiera: What makes you say that?

Brad: I mean, that’s where I… started getting into books… and uh… met some people…  

Keira: Would you like to talk about it?

Brad: Uh… yeah, I can. It’s actually kind of a funny story.

Kiera: Well, stories are what I’m here for.

Brad: Well, I was in the library a while back. I had to turn in some movies. My roommate hadn’t seen the Back To The Future movies yet, and I was able to convince him to watch them, but I didn’t have any of them so we rented them from the library. So… anyways I was returning the movies. Walked into the library. I tried to just return them, get in, get out,  but something was messed up with the book drop. I guess some kid tried to wedge multiple items in there at once and the said items were a bit sticky or something, so I had to return my stuff at the front desk. But… that’s when I saw her,

Kiera: Saw who?

Brad: The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She had gorgeous dark skin, and brown curls that softly brushed against her face. She had these bright orange cat eye glasses that drew a sharp contrast to the darkness of her complection and complemented the brightness of her smile, and behind them were light brown eyes that sparkled in the light. She was radiant. Every bit of her was made of sunshine. And for a moment, she smiled, and the world and everything in it seemed to hold its breath.

I was paralyzed. All I could do was look at her. I probably just stood there for a solid ten seconds before her head turned, and her hair fell in front of her face. I slowly walked to her desk.

I handed her my movie, and I thought about asking for her number, but I got kind of nervous and I didn’t want her to think I was some annoying idiot. Turning in a movie instead of a book was probably bad enough in her eyes. So I just kind of chickened out and started wandering around the library, kind of peeking through the shelves a bit. Which I realize sounds kind of stalker-ish when I say it out loud. I swear I’m not a stalker. She was just so radiant, I could hardly look away. So, I was just doing that. I was kind of scared.

Kiera: Why were you scared?

Brad: I, uh… I don’t know, I just didn’t really know how to react to her, I guess. I don’t really know how to explain it. I never experienced anything like that before.

Anyway, I finally came up with the grand scheme of checking out a book for an excuse to approach her again, maybe this time, I wouldn’t be intimidated, maybe I would be able to… you know… talk to her. Of course the book I checked out had to be the perfect book. Something that would maybe make her look up just a bit, and of course something that I felt like I could actually read all the way through, so if I came back and returned it and she was here I wouldn’t make a fool of myself.

So I looked for a long time and thought very carefully about it. I finally decided to look for some kind of sci-fi book. I always enjoyed sci-fi movies and such, so I thought that hopefully, something in that vein wouldn’t be too hard for me to get into. I ended up with, uh, Frankenstein. I think I was supposed to read it at some point in high school… but uh… that never happened. So it felt like I was fulfilling some responsibility as well as maybe, well hopefully impressing the “girl of my dreams.” And then I thought, “Who makes a whole trip to the library for just one book?” Not a well read person, that’s for sure. And obviously I wanted her to see me as a well read person. So I decided to pick two more. I uh ended up with 1984, which side note is a great book that everyone should read. I mean, I see why it’s not required reading, it does contain a bit of mature content, but it’s so good. Anyways, I ended up with 1984 and one of Kurt Vonnegut’s books. Slaughterhouse Five I think?

Kiera: Ooh that’s a good one.

Brad: Yeah, yeah. So I had all the books I needed. I took a few breaths and worked up all of the courage I muster. I started to walk to the counter, but when I got there she was gone. I kind of waited around a bit, pretending like I was still browsing. But she never came back. I finally just checked out the books and left. I threw them in the back seat of my car, upset at myself for being silly and wasting time dreaming about a girl. But then when I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole experience, especially her. So to distract myself, I got the books out of the car and started reading. I checked them out, so I might as well read them, I thought to myself. I started with the Vonnegut first. It was a bit shorter out of all of them, so it didn’t seem too intimidating. And actually I really got into it. It took up my whole attention, and I ended up staying up pretty late to keep reading.

It took me three days to finish it. And so three days later I had an excuse to go back to the library. And wouldn’t you know, there she was. I handed her the book, and she flashed that same breathtaking smile at me. I opened my mouth to speak to her… and then closed it and walked away. I went straight home and started reading Frankenstein. I was back two days later, but she wasn’t there. 1984, back two days later. She was there, wearing a bright yellow dress, which made her look like she was wrapped up in sunlight. And finally, I had a reason to talk to her. I walked up, handed her the book, and started talking. I told her the three books I had just read and asked her for help finding more to read. She smiled and told me she’d be happy to help me find some new titles. I left that day with a stack of ten books. I went home and started reading before I even took off my shoes. I don’t remember all of the individual books, but, uh, one of my favorites from that trip was The Martian.

The next time I saw her, I asked for even more recommendations. She introduced me to Lord of the Rings and H.P. Lovecraft. I asked her what her favorite book was, and she told me Alice in Wonderland. So naturally I checked that one out too of course.

And then suddenly… She was gone. I went back and she wasn’t there. I ended up going to the library every day for weeks, trying to be there at just the right time. But no luck. And I’d never even learned her name.

I finally decided to ask the other librarians about her. I told the older lady at the desk that one of the other librarians had been helping me find books, but I hadn’t seen her in a while, and then I described what she looked like. They said her name was Amber. I remember thinking that was the perfect name for her, because of the way her eyes reflected the light. It made me smile. But then the woman continued to tell me that Amber had moved out of state to a library that was about to open, and my heart dropped to the floor. I thanked her and left.

When I got home, I thought, “well, there’s no reason to go to the library anymore I guess.” But I still had a decent amount of books checked out, so I’d have to return those. But I figured first I might as well read them…So I did. But then some of those books had sequels or were parts of series. So obviously I had to read those too. And then there were the other books by those authors, and then there were books that I had heard of before but never read, and books referenced in the books I liked. So even though I didn’t keep going every day, I still ended up at the library about three times a week.

And something funny happened in the months following those couple of times I saw her. While I still wanted to see Amber again of course, going to the library slowly became less about that time I spent with her. I found myself reading types of novels that I would never have thought I would like, and falling in love with them. Epic fantasy novels, classics, even some poetry. Sci-fi and dystopian novels were still my favorites, but I developed a taste for memoirs and autobiographies as well.

And then before long, I actually kind of started to forget about her. It was all about the books.

Until, of course, one “fateful day”, as always happens in the books, you know? I was browsing the library, and someone next to me dropped a book, and I bent down to pick it up, and when I went to hand it to them…
It was her. I gave the book to her, and she smiled and thanked me, and then she was about to move on, and then she frowned. She asked me

“You look familiar, we’ve met before right?”

I nodded, speechless yet again.

“Oh right! You’re that guy that asked me for book recommendations a couple of times!”

And then we actually talked for a while. I asked her how everything was at the other library, and she smiled and told me how wonderful it was, how she had met someone there, how they had gotten engaged, how she was back in town for a bit so her parents could spend some time with the both of them before the big day. And I told her about how I’d really gotten into reading and how I really did enjoy Alice In Wonderland, and I really did see why she liked it so much. And there was just a good long moment with just the two of us there in that aisle in that library talking. And then pretty soon it was over, and she moved on to the aisle on one side and I moved on to the aisle on the other, but we both kept on browsing. And then, I checked out my books, I went home, I imagine she did the same. And I never saw her again.

As I walked away, I finally began to realize, that yeah, initially my reason for entering the library the second day, and the third, and fourth, and the fifth and so on, initially it was because I wanted to see her, to talk to her. But it became more than that after week three. My visits became less regular but still persisted. They transitioned into fostering something greater than some cheesy “love at first sight” romance, but it was a passion for reading. And maybe I’ll never talk to her again. But that’s okay. It’s not about that. The point is… I thought I was in love, when I wasn’t even close. But that’s what it took for me to discover something that is now such a big part of who I am. It was nice to get closure too.

Kiera: Yeah?

Brad: Of course. She met someone, and I found something important to me. It all worked out in the end. Just not really how I initially thought it would.

[End of interview]

Kiera: Well, that’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed this installment of Hometown. We’ll see you next time, until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story!

[Outro music fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown is created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Today’s episode featured the voices of Aubree Seibert as Kiera, and T. H Ponders as Brad. Original music was composed by Jonathan Sandy. Find more of his work on spotify under Jonathan Sandy. Graphic design by Hannah Perkins.

Special thanks this week goes to Crystal Summers for her writing advice, and Brad Seibert for donating to our Indiegogo campaign.

If you like our show and want to hear more as well as get rad rewards, be sure to support us on patreon, which helps us improve and make more of the show. You can find our patreon at patreon.com/seibertandseibert. That’s P A T R E O N dot com slash S E I B E R T and S E I B E R T

Keep up with us on twitter and instagram at hometowncast, and find transcripts and merch on our website at hometowncast.wordpress.com. You can also join our discord community.

Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you for our next episode Jenne on June 13th.

Until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story

Sarah Transcript — May 29, 2019

Sarah Transcript

You can download a PDF version here.

6 – Sarah Transcript

[Hometown theme fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[Theme fades out]

Kiera: Welcome back to Hometown! I’m so glad you’re here! In today’s interview, I spoke to Sarah, a professor at the local community college. I will warn you there are parts of her story that are… really sad. But I think that ignoring those parts of her story is the opposite of what we’re trying to do here. Ignoring reality could destroy the sense of community that I am searching for through this project. So I would encourage you, if you can, to just sit back and listen to Sarah’s story. It may not be the same hopeful tone as we usually take here, but I think you still will enjoy it. And maybe, you can make yourself a nice cup of tea, as she did for me when I interviewed her.

[A new environment. Light rain can be heard]

Kiera: Thank you so much for having me over. And for agreeing to the interview., and for this wonderful tea.

Sarah: Of course, it’s really no problem. It’s Saturday, I’m not busy at all. And I don’t exactly get a thrill from being outside when it’s cold like this. I am a bit worried my cat might come in and disrupt the recording. Is that going to be a problem?

Kiera: It should be fine. Most of the recordings aren’t exactly done in a clean environment as it is.

Sarah: Alright. Now, is there anything in particular, you’re wanting to talk about?

Kiera: Not really, I like to just leave it up to the person speaking. Feel free to tell your story, especially in relation to the town. Um… if you want to start by just introducing yourself a bit, that’s what most of my guests do. Remember we keep the town’s name anonymous, so feel free to speak openly.

Sarah: Well, my name is Sarah. I’m a professor at a college near here. I grew up in this town, but after graduation, I left for college. I was gone for a long time. I got my Ph.D., and then I became a professor at a large college up north. Near a big city.

Kiera: Oh, should I be calling you doctor..?

Sarah: [She laughs] only if you want to take one of my classes. Well, sometimes I make people who are annoying me call me Doctor as well…

As I said, I grew up here, and as you can see, I ended up back here after a while. I didn’t move away because I didn’t like it here, I always had good memories of home. Living far away… it was just sort of the way things turned out. But my childhood was filled with memories of sunny days at the park, and friends at school. I have so many good memories here…

I remember my mother taking me to her usual errand runs and my favorite shops which would have little bowls of lollipops or hard candies.  I remember the ladies in church who would smile at me when I walked in with my Easter dresses. I remember falling in love for the first time, with a boy at my school, and the ache that followed me when he didn’t love me back. The first pains of love that won’t be. [A beat] And I remember graduating from the high school here, and saying goodbye to my parents as I moved far away to school. But even then there were the summers I would come back and live here again. And there were the jobs I worked during those summers, the jobs that you want to forget, like working at a fast food place, and the jobs that shaped you in a way, like working in the library.  [She laughs softly] Here I go babbling on.

Kiera: You certainly have a way with words. You must be quite the professor. What do you teach?

Sarah: [Another soft laugh] I certainly would like to think so. But I’m not sure if my students would quite agree. And I teach English.

Kiera: Why do you say that? Are you a super strict teacher?

Sarah: I wouldn’t say that, but I think I am known for grading pretty hard. But they get better by the end of the year, so I believe it’s justified. Besides, I’d never let a student fail if they were trying their best. And I still give out 100s. You know, some teachers don’t believe in giving 100s on essays, because “there’s always something to improve”. But I think an essay can deserve that high of a grade. Of course… sorry I’m getting off track here. I tend to have very strong opinions about the way I teach my class. But I suppose that’s how most professors are.

Kiera: That’s alright. You can talk about anything here.

Sarah: I’ve always loved being a professor. I love teaching of course, but there are other things I love too. Spending every day in a place that encourages learning and deep study of people’s specific passions… I love the endless notebooks and books I’m always sifting through in my office. I love that I have constant access to the extensive resources at my school. And I even like grading papers most of the time. It’s an amazing gift to be able to read the thoughts and ideas of bright young minds. And to see the change in the way they write over the course of a semester, that feeling that I helped them accomplish something, helped them to better themselves. My students are my greatest successes. I must admit, however, that I miss my position at my previous university greatly.

Kiera: Why did you leave?

Sarah: (softly) I ran away, I suppose.

Kiera: (Also softly, cautiously) What happened?

Sarah: There was… a man. It wasn’t really his fault. It was mine.

Kiera: Do you want to… talk about it?

Sarah: I met him on the walk to the university I used to work at from my apartment. It was about seven years ago. I still remember the day I met him like it was yesterday. It was in early December. It was cold outside, the tiniest snowflakes falling softly from the sky. I was  wrapped up in my coat and scarf, holding a thermos of tea in gloved hands. I turned the same corner I had turned for hundreds of mornings before. And then suddenly there he was, asking me for directions. [She laughs softly] And I could barely focus on what he was asking me.

I’d never believed in love at first sight, but the moment I saw him, there was… something about him. I immediately knew that now there would always be this point in my life, that one day, that one moment, that changed everything. The way that one event changed the way we counted time. The story of my life would be counted in the same way as we count our years… before him and in the year of him. My life as I knew it was over in one second, in one look, in one glance of his dark eyes, his lashes covered in tiny snowflakes.

But of course… I’m good with papers and books, but not so gifted in the art of small talk or flirting. So rather than smoothly introducing myself, I just kind of blurted out my name. I… don’t even think I said “I’m Sarah”, I think I actually just yelled “SARAH” at him. I was mortified. But he simply laughed and told me his name. And then he asked me for directions. Except… he asked me for directions to the place I worked. It turned out he was a new professor at the same university I worked at. And I knew that God, or fate, or whatever force controls the universe, even just math or probability, had given me this one, priceless gift.

And so we walked together. And he smiled at my nervous chatter, and he filled my awkward silences with the most beautiful words and stories I’d ever heard. And then we got to the campus and he laughed and told me he didn’t pay close enough attention to the way, and I’d have to show him again that afternoon, and we agreed to meet at a certain time.

All of my classes that day passed in a blur. After that, we started walking together back and forth, every single day. I felt myself falling deeply in love with him. It felt like… slowly sinking into a thick syrup, drowning, and yet full of life. It felt like sickness, like disease that kept me from doing anything but think of him, and I understood the word “lovesick” for the first time. Like a sweet aching, a pain in my chest that brought a smile to my lips. Every moment outside of those walks was agony. My poor students had no idea why their usually very consistent teacher couldn’t focus on a thing. And I couldn’t sleep. And even eating or drinking tea didn’t satisfy me. Only being around him. I was obsessed.

And that was how the winter passed. I never told him I loved him, nor did he ever say anything to me of the sort. But I was completely certain it was mutual. There was a bond between us, a connection too strong to be anything but the truest and purest love shared between two people who were meant to be. How could my heart feel intensely if his didn’t? The universe brought us together. It was fated, written in the stars, just as in every great story ever told.

By mid January, I was teaching with more passion for the literature than ever before. I felt the burning of love that the women from those timeless stories felt. I read through newly opened eyes. The skepticism inside of me fell away and made room for the childlike sense of wonder that I had never felt before. And then February came.

On Valentine’s day, I felt sure that some romantic gesture would come from him. He would confess his love for me. Or bring me flowers. Anything would have been enough. Valentine’s day must be the day, I thought. But nothing happened. Instead, he texted me, telling me he couldn’t walk with me that day. I don’t remember the reason he gave. I was devastated. What could I have done? I must have wronged him in some way without knowing. Perhaps I had come on too strong, or maybe I hadn’t done enough. My mind was filled with doubt after doubt, going over every moment with him since the day we met, looking for where I had gone wrong. And yet every morning and every afternoon following, there he was, with a smile, carrying on the conversation as we walked as normal.

Finally, after a week of this absolute mental torture, I marched into his office, ready to confess my love for him and beg him to love me back. I burst into his office, and he smiled when he saw me. That beautiful, wonderful smile that I had fallen in love with all those weeks before. He kindly told his student to come back later, and asked me what was the matter. And that’s when I saw it.

You see, every time I had seen him up until that moment, that terrible, fateful moment, it had been outside, in the dead of winter, for a long walk to and from the university. And so every time I had seen him, he had been wearing a coat, and a scarf, and a hat, and… gloves. But there, in his office, he stood before me in simply his glasses, and sweater, and slacks. And I saw… his wedding ring.

I was speechless. My mind went completely blank. The river of words and emotions that had been running through my head for as long as I could remember was suddenly gone, dried up. I looked at his face, at his perfect smile. And then the tidal wave crashed. And then my heart broke.

I had fallen in love with a married man. I ran away to cry in peace. I racked my brain for any memory of him mentioning his wife. I came up empty. I really truly had no idea, although looking back long after, I do not think he purposefully deceived me. I took the next week off. It hurt more than anything I’d ever felt. Sleep was torture, I dreamt of that moment a thousand times, yet being awake felt even worse. He was married. I kept having these wild thoughts. Maybe he still loved me. Maybe it was an unhappy marriage. Maybe he hadn’t ever mentioned his wife on purpose.

And then… the agonizing moral debate that developed within me.  Could I be with a man who was married? I had been so sure that all of the forces in the universe wanted us to be together. I didn’t know how to reconcile my certainty in what I had felt  between us to the reality that had just presented itself. Everything I thought I knew changed. And then at the end of the eighth day, I broke down. The tears I had been crying near constantly ran out, and I came to a resolution.

I resolved to end all of the fantasies of being with him. I wouldn’t cut him off, for he had done nothing wrong, but I would cut myself off of him. Emotionally, it was over. I realized that even if he had ever loved me back, even the slightest glimmer in a single second where he looked at me and felt a single spark of what I felt for him, if he were to leave his wife for me, or stay with her and pursue me… then he wouldn’t be the man I could be with. He wouldn’t be the man that I loved.  

I had misread the stars. Meeting him wasn’t the start of the greatest love of my life, but rather the greatest friendship. And sure, it would take a while for my heart to stop breaking over and over every time I saw him. It would take time to fall out of love with him. But I would get there.  And so I went back. And I walked with him again, blaming my week of absence on the flu.

But that isn’t what happened. Around April, I realized my heart would always love him. And no one else. He took up all of the space in my heart, in a way I never could have imagined. Even my love for my subject, my life’s work, and passion paled in comparison to the bright burning of the sun that he was in my heart.  And I knew that sun would burn for the rest of my life. My heart was breaking twice a day. And I could feel it draining me, I could feel myself becoming a shell of who I was.

And so at the end of April, I went to the HR department and told them I wouldn’t be coming back the following semester to teach. I said it was for family reasons, but really it was because I couldn’t bear just be friends with him, and yet to be anything more was…  impossible. But I knew I couldn’t go on like that.

And so I fled. I came home. I never told a soul what happened, why I still had no ring on my finger after all these years, why I never try to go on dates, why I don’t talk about having a family one day. Because all of those things were stolen from me. Stolen by a little gold band that made a world of difference. And that’s why I will live and teach here for the rest of my life, forever remembering what could have been, and dreaming of the life I could have led.

[The rain continues for a bit and then fades out.]

Kiera: Thank you for listening to Hometown. Until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

[Outro music fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown is created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Today’s episode featured the voices of Aubree Seibert as Kiera,  and Jackie Jorgenson as Sarah. Original music was composed by Jonathan Sandy. Find more of his work on spotify under Jonathan Sandy. Graphic design by Hannah Perkins.

Special thanks this week goes to Crystal Summers for her writing advice.

If you like our show and want to hear more as well as get rad rewards, be sure to support us on patreon, which helps us improve and make more of the show. You can find our patreon at patreon.com/seibertandseibert. That’s P A T R E O N dot com slash S E I B E R T and S E I B E R T

Keep up with us on twitter and instagram at hometowncast, and find transcripts and merch on our website at hometowncast.wordpress.com. You can also join our discord community.

Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you for our next episode Brad on June 6th.

Until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

 

6 – Sarah —
5 – John — May 22, 2019
John Transcript —

John Transcript

You can download a PDF version here.

5 – John Transcript

[Hometown theme music fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[Music fades out]

Kiera: Hello and welcome back to Hometown! If this is your first time with us- welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. I have a very special episode for you today. Today’s guest, John, is a father of two absolutely precious little girls. When I showed up for the interview, he answered the door a bit… frazzled. He explained that bedtime had run a little late that night and so he still had some things to do before he could talk to me. I asked him if it was anything I could help with, and he said he just had to tuck in his girls and tell them a story. So… naturally, I told him that stories are just what I’m looking for and asked if I could possibly sit in with my microphone. After a really long and frankly painful silence, he said he guessed it would be fine.  And I’m glad he did! I think you’re really going to enjoy it. I’m going to share the audio from my interview with him first, and then the story he told. So… here it is!

[Cut to the interview]

Kiera: Okay, I’m recording again.

John: Oh uh okay. Should I say something in particular?

Kiera: You can just introduce yourself if you’d like. Whatever you’re comfortable with.

John: My name is John and I… uh… well I uh… don’t really know what to say. I have two kids, but they would have just heard that right?

Kiera: I’ll probably put the interview first in the episode.

John: Oh okay. Well I have two little girls.

Kiera: How old are they?

John: One is six, the other is five. But they’re about a year and a half apart. T- uh, the older one is almost seven.

Kiera: How cute.

John: Yeah, and they get along pretty well. Hopefully that lasts.

Kiera: How long have you lived here?

John: A while… we moved here right after college. When I got married, we chose to live here because of a job opportunity for the uh, wife. Never had a good reason to leave. I don’t love my job, but I don’t think I could ever risk it by leaving it without having another one lined up. Plus the girls like it here, and they’re in school now. I’d hate to uproot them. And then there’s the memories of my wife.

Kiera: Do you want to talk about..?

John: Uh, not really. Not cause it’s too painful or anything like that. I just… I don’t think we need to go there.  She died four years ago. It’s been a while. We all get by.

Kiera: Alright. I understand.

John: But yeah, we uh… moved into the house when we decided to start a family. Live the American dream. Stable job, nuclear family. All that stuff. And… well, we’re still here. [He chuckles] It’s the right amount of space. Not too big, not too small. Nice backyard for the girls to run around and [He chuckles] play princess in. They get picked up by the school bus, and there’s a daycare close by for the summers. I try to be here for them as much as possible, but I also want to provide them with everything they could ever need. Which means working long hours sometimes. Well actually a lot of times. Our next door neighbor is sweet though, and she takes care of them sometimes when I have to work late. [laughing]And she brings us casseroles. I can cook, but it is hard to keep up with all of it, so I still appreciate it.  You know, all the job, the cooking, the cleaning, and just trying to be there for them. I pretty much run on coffee. [he laughs] I drink probably at least four cups, but some days it’s more. Especially on long nights when I put the girls to bed for the night, roll up my sleeves, and start cleaning the house. I barely get any sleep at all on those nights.

My whole world revolves around the girls. I don’t want them to have to miss out on anything. I get up every morning, make sure they eat breakfast and get all their books, and do their hair. I’m pretty good at braiding.  It took me a while to learn though. And I pack them lunches almost every morning. I don’t know. I just try to give them all the things that the other children have, and more, if possible.

Kiera: They seem happy.

John: I hope so. It makes me happy when they’re happy. They’re my entire world. I can already tell that uh, the older one is real smart. She’ll probably go way beyond my abilities before too long. They’re both going to do amazing things. And I’ll always be their dad, making sure their backpack is zipped up before they run out the door. I won’t be able to keep up with them forever, but I’ll make sure they never turn back and don’t see me there cheering them on. Of course, my job is rather demanding, there’s nothing I can do about that, but I make it work. Maybe someday I’ll be able to work from home. That would make things much easier.

[Pause]

Kiera: What was it like when you moved here?

John: Um, it was nice. I mean, it’s kind of a quiet town. But we liked it a lot. When we moved here we had just gotten married. She had the job lined up, and I started applying as soon as I got here. The first month or so though I was just kind of… fixing things up. We had a little apartment, but it was pretty much a disaster. I had a deal with the landlord that he would reduce the rent while I kept fixing things up. It was nice. I like working with my hands sometimes, and it impressed my wife, which was definitely a bonus. And then after a while, I managed to get a job. Nothing special, just your typical office job.  I was here for her anyways. She was always the one who was meant for great things. She had sparkling energy and big dreams. I was just happy to be along for the ride.

But uh, yeah we liked it here a lot. I mean, we liked it here enough to stay right? I can’t say I have a lot of friends here. We did when we first moved here, and then we had the first baby and we kind of talked to them less, and then when she died they all tried to help, but eventually, they just realized I needed to be left alone. I guess I just didn’t really have time to keep up with all of them. Anyways I knew they mostly came around for her. I’m… not the most sociable person, and it started to feel pretty awkward once we got off of the subject of her. I tend to come across a bit cold I suppose. [Pause] But I do like it here. It’s a good place for the girls to grow up. Plenty of opportunities in school. And I can take them to ballet on Saturdays just five minutes away. They really like ballet.

The older one likes it more than the younger one I think. The younger one is more into rough and tumble stuff. But it’s good for both of them I think. And they have friends in their classes. If she decides it’s not for her after a while she can try something else. Maybe I’ll turn into a soccer mom. [He laughs]

Kiera:  [also laughing] Please no.

John: I think that might be good for her though. We’ll see.

[Cut to next scene]

Kiera: Okay I’m recording now. And you’re sure this is okay?

John: Sure. Say hi girls.

The Girls: hi…

John: Okay we’re just going to go to bed like normal, and uh Miss Kiera, is just going to sit over there. Did you both brush your teeth?

Girl 1: Yes.

John: Okay then, are you ready for a story?

Girl 2: [Excited] Yes!

John: [Softly laughing] Okay okay. Let me think…

Girl 1: Tell the one about the knight and his two fairies!

Girl 2: that’s my favorite!

John: [Joking] I don’t think I remember that one… let me think…

[The girls giggle]

Girl 1: Stop Daddy! Tell the story!

John: Alright alright! Once upon a time there was a knight called Sir Fix-a-Lot.

Girl 2: Why did they call him that?

John: Because Sir Fix-a-Lot could fix anything that was broken in all of the lands. Once, there was a big competition between all of the knights of the round table to see who could fix the most things in a day, and Sir Fix-a-Lot won the competition, as well as the heart of the fairest lady in all of the land… but that’s a story for another night.

So because of this and many other honorable deeds, Sir Fix-a-Lot gained some respect in the King Arthur’s court. But Sir Fix-a-Lot was not a very good fighter. And everyone knows the number one job of a good knight was to fight for king and country, and win jousts and duels and tournaments too. But Sir Fix-a-Lot was still one of the happiest knights in the entire land. Do you know why?

Girl 2: The fairies!

John: That’s right. You see, Sir Fix-a-Lot, though his talents were somewhat limited, had been trusted with a very important and special task. The king of the fairies had visited Sir Fix-a-Lot a couple of years before and asked him to take care of two young fairies. They couldn’t stay in the land of the fairies, because they were princesses, and they would be in danger if anyone knew where they were. So they stayed with Sir Fix-a-Lot because no one would suspect that a knight who wasn’t skilled in combat would be trusted with the princesses of the fairies! But Sir Fix-a-Lot did his very best to take care of the fairies. He made a very special bed for them in the drawer where he used to keep his socks.

Girl 2: Eww did it smell like dirty feet in there?

John: [He laughs] No he cleaned it out first, silly. And anyway he had only kept clean socks in it before. But he made them a very nice bed in his drawer, and he brought them the sweetest cakes every day to eat because as you know, cake is the only food that fairy princesses eat. Except for very special occasions, on which they eat brussel sprouts, their favorite food.

Girl 1: Yuck.

John: And so Sir Fix-a-Lot had one of the most important jobs of anyone in the land. But he also had to have another job, to keep his title of knight of the round table, and so he could buy the cakes and brussel sprouts for the fairies. And so he was assigned to the task of watching over the gate into Camelot.

Unfortunately, this was not exactly a very fun job. In fact, it was an extremely boring job. All day he had to say the same thing over and over, sitting on a horse, and reading long, boring lists of everything that people brought into and out of Camelot. And so he had to leave the fairies every day and go to this long boring, boring job. But he wouldn’t get too sad about how boring it was, for one simple reason. The two little fairies were in the process of learning how to use magic. And they worked hard every day to learn how to use all of their very special skills. And one day, a while back, when he came home, they were so excited to give him a gift! They had made a picture of the three of them, a memory from a night when they all were having a lot of fun together.

Sir Fix-a-Lot counted this picture as his most prized possession. He kept it with him all day, and whenever he felt sad or didn’t have the strength to keep plowing through his boring, boring job, he would take it out and look at it and remember how lucky he was to have the two fairies under his care. And so the three of them were happy for all of their years together.

Girl 1: Did the fairy princesses have wings?

John: They sure did. The most beautiful wings you had ever seen.

Girl 2: Did they get to fly whenever they wanted?

John: They had to practice flying. Flying is very similar to dancing. It’s a skill that takes many years and lots of hard work to master, especially if you want to stick the landing.

Girl 2: I want to be able to fly…

Girl 1: What kind of cake did they eat?

John: All kinds. Sir Fix-a-Lot was great friends with the palace cook, and so she would give him cakes of all kinds for the fairies to enjoy.

Girl 1: Did they wear very pretty dresses?

John: They did, they were made of… hang on I see what you girls are trying to do here, you’re trying to ask me a bunch of questions so you can stay up later aren’t you? Well that’s not going to work on me. It’s time for bed.

Girl 1: Please daddy one more story?

John: Not until tomorrow night. Good night silly girls.

[Cut to next part]

Kiera: Thank you for listening to Hometown. And as always, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

[Outro music fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown is created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Today’s episode featured the voices of Aubree Seibert as Kiera,  Nick Armstrong as John, and Valorie Hall and Cate McKay as the girls. Original music was composed by Jonathan Sandy. Find more of his work on spotify under Jonathan Sandy. Graphic design by Hannah Perkins.

Special thanks this week goes to John Bonney for donating to our indiegogo campaign.

If you like our show and want to hear more as well as get rad rewards, be sure to support us on patreon, which helps us improve and make more of the show. You can find our patreon at patreon.com/seibertandseibert. That’s P A T R E O N dot com slash S E I B E R T and S E I B E R T

Keep up with us on twitter and instagram at hometowncast, and find transcripts and merch on our website at hometowncast.wordpress.com. You can also join our discord community.

Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you for our next episode Sarah on May 30th.

Until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

4 – Lauren — May 8, 2019
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