You can download a PDF version of the transcript here.
4 – Lauren Transcript
[Hometown theme fades in]
Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.
[theme fades out]
Kiera: Hello, and welcome back to Hometown! I’m so glad you’re here. Today, you’ll hear from Lauren. Something about her story really stuck with me. And I hope it does for you too.
[Cut to interview, controlled environment, indoors]
Kiera: Okay, whenever you’re ready.
Lauren: Wait just like that? Well how do I start?
Kiera: It’s up to you. You can start by introducing yourself if you’d like.
Lauren: Okay… well, you can call me Lauren. Um… I grew up in this town with my parents and my little sister, and I’m here again now. I haven’t lived here my whole life, I’ve floated around a fair amount, but I always come back here I suppose. I’m… well, I’m 28. I graduated from the high school here 10 years ago.
Kiera: And after you graduated?
Lauren: I didn’t go to college if that’s what you mean. I was never good at all that uh, school stuff. Not like my sister. She could do all my math homework and she was a year below me in school. By the time I graduated she was way ahead of me.
Kiera: Did that bother you?
Lauren: No, not really. She used to tell me that if I worked hard I could do all of the same things, but I think she finally realized that we’re just different. I was always more of a social person, she was more into school stuff. It’s okay. We both get along in life just fine.
Kiera: What do you both do?
Lauren: [proudly] She’s an elementary school teacher. She’s a wonderful teacher. She could have done anything really, changed the world and made lots of money, but she chose to teach. Her kids love her so much. She always talks about them– how proud she is of them. She can make anyone feel smart, even me. And… let’s just say that’s kind of far from the truth.
Kiera: And what do you do?
Lauren: Oh, just whatever retail or waitressing job I can pick up. Mostly waitressing. I started as a carhop in high school, and now I just kind of work wherever I can. Like I said, I’ve moved around a lot. I kind of just follow the breeze and see where I end up. I like waitressing. You meet people a lot that way.
Kiera: Really? Most people I know complain about the people they meet when they waitress.
Lauren: Well I found it quite a good situation. I met most of the men I’ve dated waitressing. Course none of those lasted long. I’ve made some pretty fun girlfriends through my coworkers as well. You spend a lot of time together on the job, and closing and opening up. [jokingly] Of course another bonus is that I look quite good in a diner apron. I do generally get pretty good tips. You just keep up an airy conversation and soon enough there’s money on the table when you’re cleaning up. At least for me. It pays the bills and sometimes even helps me pay for the credit card. Most of the nicer things I own are gifts of course. But we all do what we can.
Kiera: Where are some places you’ve lived?
Lauren: Well I just kind of blow-through places I suppose. Breakups have a tendency to make me want to move. Sometimes I just get this feeling like I can’t breathe, and so I’ll pack up and seek out a new town. I’ve lived in lots of real small towns, and plenty of towns that are similar to this one in size. But I’ve also spent some time in big cities like Dallas, Atlanta, and such. I like being in places where I’ll be seen. [smiling] I also like living in larger areas where there’s lots of good shopping, and appreciation for fashion and such. But I think I always knew I’d come back here eventually. I’d come and stay here with my sister if I was between places for too long. She used to always have a place for me to stay, whenever I was ready she used to welcome me back.
Kiera: Used to?
Lauren: Yeah… she had to move to a smaller place recently. But she still says I’m always welcome. There’s pretty much nowhere for me to sleep though. I don’t really sleep too well on floors…
Kiera: But you live here now, right?
Lauren: Yes, in my own place for now. I found a cheap apartment. I moved back 2 years ago actually. It’s probably the longest I’ve stayed anywhere since I moved away the first time. I was living with my ex-boyfriend for a while in a nicer place, but it was time to move back.
Kiera: What do you feel connects you to this town? Why do you think you always end up coming back?
Lauren: I’ve always thought of a home as a place to land when you fall out of another place. And… that’s where here is. That’s a big part of it. I’ve fallen out of other places a fair amount. And of course I like moving around, but it isn’t like I’m pursuing some far-off dream when I leave. Except maybe finally finding a good man to take care of me. Getting married, not having to work at all anymore… you know.
Kiera: [flatly] I see.
Lauren: Oh come on, sweetheart surely you dream of that kind of thing. Living in a big house all day, and falling in love… No?
Kiera: Um, no not personally.
Lauren: Well I sure do. Hopefully I’ll get there someday. Most of the men I’ve been with back out as soon as I try to get them to commit more. I guess they don’t really take me seriously. But I don’t really know how to change that. [pause] A lot of people don’t really take me seriously actually. Like at my jobs. Or at school back in the day.
Kiera: What makes you say that?
Lauren: I don’t know. I don’t think my teachers tried as hard to help me understand things. I always felt like I was annoying them when I asked for help… like I was this ditzy blonde who really thought she’d ever learn chemistry? And then, of course, my classmates… well, I was popular. I was a cheerleader and homecoming queen, but a lot of the less popular girls seemed to think they were better than me somehow. [She pauses, contemplating] I think my sisters’ friends disliked me. But maybe that’s just pretty typical for high school.
Kiera: Well, I don’t think anyone is completely satisfied with their high school experience.
Lauren: [laughing] that’s probably true. [pause]
[sounds of Lauren digging through/moving purse]
Kiera: [grasping at straws to keep the recording going] I like your purse…
Lauren: Thanks! You a Louis Vuitton fan?
Kiera: Um… who?
Lauren: Louis Vuitton. The bag is a Louis. The designer? [surprised at Kiera’s confusion but laughs it off] Well it’s my favorite anyways. Of course, I always enjoy a good Tory Burch or Kate Spade. I used to own a Prada bag once upon a time. [laughs again] I’m still not making sense to you am I?
Kiera: I’m afraid I’ve never really kept up with fashion designers. I just buy my purses from whatever department store. Most of my fashion choices tend to be pocket-based.
Lauren: [laughs] well a lot of mine were gifts. But I only have this one now.
Kiera: What happened to the other ones? Did you burn them after a breakup?
Lauren: [laughs] No, nothing quite so dramatic. But it’s kind of a long story.
Kiera: Well, we have time.
Lauren: Well it was a little more than two years ago, before I moved back here. I was living in Atlanta, working at a restaurant. Dating a man who took real good care of me. He bought me this purse and a few others, and some real nice jewelry. He liked to see me all dolled up when we went out with his associates. And of course, I always liked to get dolled up. I had lots of nice things back then, not just purses.
I had been living there for about 6 months. Me and this guy weren’t gettin’ serious or anything, we never talked about marriage, but we had been living together for a few months and it seemed to be going well.
Well one day at work, my boss comes and tells me, and he’s real flustered and unhappy about it, let me tell you, that someone is on the line for me, and they won’t stop calling ‘til I talk to them. And so I hurried over to the phone. I knew if I took too long my boss would sure be unhappy with me. He already kind of had it out for me. You see, he didn’t take too kindly when I told him I was already seeing someone and couldn’t go to dinner with him.
But at that moment everything changed. On the other side of the phone was a nurse from the hospital here in town. She told me my sister had a heart attack, just that day. And that the whole time my sister kept telling the nurse to call me and tell me. So she did. [She pauses]
I finished out the work day in a blur, I didn’t know what to think. I don’t know anything about medicine, I had no idea if it was the sort of thing where she’d get some pills and be fine or if it was something she’d never recover from. That night, she called me herself, crying. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do, she had to spend at least another two nights in the hospital, and then there were all the other bills, and possibly a surgery, and then prescriptions for most likely the rest of her life. You know, she’s just on a teacher’s salary, and her husband don’t make too much either. Plus they have the two kids and… well, you know how it goes. [She pauses and takes a deep breath.] When I got off the phone with her, I did some deep thinking. I thought all night, I didn’t talk much to my man. I lied on my back just staring at the ceiling, thinking. A good deal more thinking than I had ever done. Mostly I just stick to my gut, but this… I really had to think about this.
The morning after, I waited for him to leave. Then I quickly packed up everything I owned and got what I could into my car. The rest of my stuff I shipped to myself. I didn’t have much furniture or anything, I just took a set of dishes and a couple of things from the place we shared. I left a note apologizing for the suddenness and briefly explaining that I had to take care of my sister.
Then I went to my job. And I collected what I had left on my paycheck and told my boss I wasn’t coming back. Then I drove here. I only stopped three times. Once to sleep in a little motel. Once at a pawn shop, to sell all of the jewelry I had acquired over the years of broken relationships. My beautiful pearls, and diamond earrings. And once at a consignment shop, to sell all of the purses, all of the clothing, my beautiful dresses, my designer shoes. [aside] They didn’t take this purse because of this big scuff on the bottom, see?
And so I came home to my sister, still in the hospital, and spent the night in her room. And when the bill came in, I used everything I had from those things to help her pay for it. And I got a job waiting tables here. A good steady job, where I’m working hard and trying to move up to be a manager. I save all of my tips and help her pay for her prescriptions and her medical debts. My entire life changed so fast. Now I don’t buy any extra groceries, skin treatments, all of the things I used to enjoy. All that mattered was helping her. She still had to move to a smaller place, and she still struggles to make ends meet, but once I become a manager, I can take care of her.
Of course, that’s if I can. I’ve gotten passed over already twice. I mentioned people don’t take me seriously? [bitter laughter] My bosses act so surprised when I apply for manager positions, and it almost feels like they’re mocking me. But it doesn’t matter. I’ll do anything it takes because I have to. Because she needs me. And I’ll give up my reckless life until the day she doesn’t.
[End of interview]
Kiera: Thank you for listening to Hometown. And remember, 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 Sarah Wheatley as Lauren. 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 Sarah Wheatley of The Nuclear Solution, Kaitlyn Kliman of the Insomnia Project, A R Olivieri of Great and Terrible and several other shows, Neon of Mise en Podcast, the people behind Palimpsest, T.H. Ponders of Accession and Tory of Athena for reaching out during the creation of this podcast. Be sure to check out all of their amazing shows!
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. Due to the complexity of the next episode we will be taking a week long break, so we’ll see you for our next episode John on May 23rd.
And until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story.