Don't be afraid to tell your story

Lauren Transcript — May 8, 2019

Lauren Transcript

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.

3 – Julia — May 1, 2019
Julia Transcript —

Julia Transcript

You can download a PDF version of the transcript here.

Episode 3 – Julia

Ashlyn: Hello everyone! Before today’s episode of Hometown, a bit of a warning about our content. This episode does contain some frank discussions about mental health, including anxiety. If that’s not your jam, we’d recommend you sit this one out.

And if you are able to join us, we’re really glad you’re here, and we hope you enjoy.

[Hometown theme fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[theme fades out]
Kiera: Hello everyone, and welcome to Hometown!

Today I’m sharing my interview with Julia. Julia is a high school student who has a lot to say, and even though I’m not in high school anymore, I still can relate to her a lot. Her story really made me think, and it gave me a fresh perspective that I hadn’t noticed   before.

[In a new environment]

Julia: Okay… are we all good?

Keira: We are all set.

Julia: Awesome. So… what did you want me to talk about?

Keira: Well, why don’t you start by introducing yourself?

Julia: Right. Uh, well my name is Julia. I’m in high school. I wouldn’t say that I’m extremely involved in everything. I mean, I’m in NHS, and I’m also in some art classes, but other than that I don’t do a whole lot other than just study. I used to be in theater, but then I realized I actually didn’t like it all that much. [She pauses] Uh, I guess I would call myself an Official Caffeine Addict. [She laughs] Um… I like to read, but I don’t really have too much time for that anymore. Except for the stuff they make us read in English of course. Although I’m probably one of the few that actually read, most people just rely on Sparknotes. I’ve got an SAT test in about a week, so I’m pretty much focused on studying for that right now. Um… what else is going on… I’m starting to do college applications. That’s kind of scary.

Kiera: That does sound kind of scary. Where are you applying?

Julia: Uh… well, I’m applying to the community college, cause just in case you know? And then one that’s still relatively affordable and close, and one state school that’s pretty big, and then after that, it’s mostly out of state.

Kiera: That’s nice.

Julia: Uh, yeah, it’s kind of exciting.

Kiera: You sure sound like you kind of have a lot going on… how do you balance all of the college, the school stuff and everything else you’ve got?

Julia: Oh boy um… I would say that I try to have a still good balance where I can get everything done and still have friends and all that, but uh in reality I would say my academic life kind of controls me. I mean, to a point where it’s like… oof.

Kiera: Okay… what do you mean by that?

Julia: Well, I’m constantly stressed, I don’t get enough sleep, and I rarely have time to take care of myself. And all those girls at school talking about how their skin care routines would just die if they heard about how I take care of myself. But I know a lot of people who pretty much have the same thing going on. It’s pretty normal for the students around here.

Kiera: That sounds really unhealthy. Are you sure that’s normal?

Julia: I mean, of course it is. It’s not like there’s another way.

Kiera: There isn’t?

Julia: Not really. I mean think about it. I’m in high school which means I’m basically at the point now where I’m determining my entire future.

Kiera: What does that mean?

Julia: Think about it. Your parents, your teachers, everyone… they’re all guiding you to go down the path to success. And this path that consists of school, more school, a well paying job, getting married, starting a family. And then your kids go to school, more school, they get a well paying job, they start a family, and it keeps going. And all of that,   the success of not just you but your children and their children and so on for all of eternity and amen? It all starts here. In high school.

And that’s what everyone wants in life right? Success. How do you obtain success? No matter what it means to you, you have to make money to have it. To make money, you have to have a strong career. To have a strong career you have to go to college and if you want a really strong career, and everyone does, it’s  gotta be a really competitive school. And to get into a competitive school you have to be in the top ten percent. To be in the top ten percent, you have to have a good GPA and to have a good GPA you have to take as many AP classes as you can and max all of them. [She pauses] Maxing a class is when you get a 97 or above. It’s how you get the most out of your GPA And AP classes are college level classes. When you take them, they have a higher GPA scale so it boosts your GPA a lot.

Then there’s another thing to consider: college is… really  expensive, and student loans aren’t an option, I mean we saw how that worked out for other people. So you need scholarships if you don’t want to go into crippling debt. How do you get them scholarships? You have make yourself into a quote “Well rounded kid”. You do extracurricular activities. You volunteer. You absolutely must do NHS. You have to show that you have leadership skills, so you take on as much responsibility as you can bear. And then of course you have to write essays about all the things you do.

So you take on all of these responsibilities and commitments, and try to juggle all of them together. You eventually realize that you have to budget your time very carefully, because there are only twenty-four hours in each day. And that really isn’t a lot of time all things considered. And you have to take time for eating, homework, extracurricular activities, studying for the SAT, writing scholarship essays, college apps… and at the end of the day, you have to cut something out, so sleep, self care, that kind of thing? It all just kind of go by the wayside.

Kiera: That really doesn’t sound healthy.

Julia: Oh it’s absolutely not healthy. But it’s what it takes. And it’s pretty much the norm. And since everyone else is doing it, it’s even more competitive. When it comes down to it, you have to be more than you think you can be. You can’t be just a “smart kid”. You have to be smart, and seem social, and be a leader in your community, and demonstrate creativity and critical thinking skills, and strengthen your writing and argument skills for essays. You have to do it all. You have to be it all. You can’t pick and choose, you can’t cut out one thing or the other. Because someone is always doing better than you. Someone else is doing all of it. So you can’t let your guard down for even a moment. Because you know, that if you do, you’ll be the only one.

Kiera: Well… why do you think that everyone sees this as the only way? I mean it just seems like a lot.

Julia: Um… I don’t know, I guess it’s just the way it is. It’s partially the culture, you know? The whole… American Dream. You can get whatever you want if you work hard. But you have to want it. You have to do whatever it takes. And that kind of transfers into everything else.

Kiera: So what is it that you want?

Julia: Um… success I guess. It’s not really that I want to be… rich or anything, I want what anyone wants for their future; I want stability and comfort. I want the chance to make something of myself, I want to be able to travel a bit, go to adventures, see Europe. I’d love to go to some of those art museums.

Kiera: So, do you feel like you’re participating in all of this because you have to, or is it so you can go to Europe and see an art museum?

Julia: I don’t think there’s a specific reason like that. It’s just… what I have to do. I want to make it clear. I don’t like that this is the way it works. I really don’t. But… it’s my only choice so… I have do it all anyway.

Kiera: So what are your feelings about all of this?

Julia: I hate it. It’s the worst, I know I’m stuck in this system that was made to basically weed the weak ones out. I can’t get out of it. I hate that!

Kiera: And did you always feel that way?

Julia: Yeah, I uh… I didn’t always feel so strongly I guess.

Kiera: So, what was it that changed your mind?

Julia: Well… a while back, I was really caught up in the whole system. I was truly trying to do more than everything. I mean don’t get me wrong, I still work really hard to get everything done, but I used to have even more commitments and I was so busy I was barely sleeping. And then, one day, I… basically broke.

I’m still not sure what the exact reason was. It could have been so many things. Maybe it was the fact that I had three tests in one day, two of them in AP classes, which are really hard. Maybe it was the fact that I was involved in some kind of toxic friendships, but I didn’t want to stop being friends with them because I didn’t have any other options. Maybe it was the fact that my GPA had slipped a bit more than I was okay with. Maybe it was just that I had a little too much coffee that week. Or probably, it was all of those things combined.

I found myself freaking out. Like, really freaking out. I was breathing really hard, I was crying, my heart was pounding. My mom comes in and she’s like ‘what’s wrong?” and I can’t tell her, because there isn’t one thing that’s wrong, it’s everything, it’s fact that I am not in control of a single thing in my life, and that I am not okay with anything that I’m doing, and… I just couldn’t handle it. It got really bad. I couldn’t get myself to talk to anyone, I could barely move. I was basically paralyzed. My parents thought I was having a seizure or something, so they took me to the ER. It turned out I had a really bad panic attack. The doctors thought it would be best for me to see a psychiatrist regularly after that.

Kiera:  How did that go?

Julia: Um… it was… at first, I didn’t like the fact that I had to be there, you know? I thought wow, I’ve officially lost my mind. Like I couldn’t… I don’t know I kind of just wasn’t okay with the fact that that’s where my life was and… I don’t know.

But… after a while, I realized that I wasn’t crazy exactly, I just needed help in a way that a regular doctor couldn’t fix by sending me home with some antibiotics. And I realized that everyone, they just wanted me to get better. And that talking to someone, a professional someone about everything was something I had desperately needed for a long time.

Kiera: Do you think it helped?

Julia: Yeah, I think it did. I had actually considered asking to see a therapist before that or something, but I just was too afraid to. You know… everyone thinks about mental health problems, and I understood the importance and I wasn’t really against it but it’s really easy to get intimidated about having a conversation about it. But after that, it was pretty clear I needed to see someone.

Kiera: That makes sense.

Julia: The worst part was, even though my life stopped, everyone else’s went on. There were still SAT’s I had  to take, I still had to make up those three tests from that week. Life doesn’t stop just because you get overwhelmed and have to go to therapy. Not that I was expecting for it to exactly, it just… everything would have been easier to handle if afterward I had a clean slate, you know? I mean, I dropped some extracurricular activities; that was when I quit theater, and I also had been in orchestra before that. I did stay in art class though. That didn’t really take any time outside of class, and making art was soothing. At one point during therapy, we talked about ways I could deal with my emotions in a healthy way. We talked about how writing or making music helped some people. I realized art could be a really good creative outlet for me. And so now, it’s kind of… how I deal with everything.

Kiera: So what is your process like when you’re creating? Like, what kind of art do you make?

Julia: Well right now, I’m into the whole abstract expressionism thing. I’ll do something a little bit outside of that usually for my assignments, but when I get the chance I’ll try to put an abstract spin on it if I can. But when I’m “just creating” I tend to use a bit more judgment. It’s a bit more strategic, a bit more symbolic. I think a bit more; for example, I’ll ask myself “what am I trying to say, and what approach would make the most sense in terms of saying it?” I ask myself a million questions on how much space I want to use and where everything will all go.

But when I’m having a bad day, I’ll just go. Sometimes I’ll keep going with the same project, sometimes I’ll start with a new one, but I’ll do everything I can to stop thinking, and just put my feelings out there. And usually, my teacher likes those works a bit more. It’s good to feel like something good can come out of my mess of a life. And I think those works are kind of more… honest if that makes any sense.

Kiera: Wow. That’s really cool.

Julia: Thanks.

Kiera: I feel like you’ve talked about a really wide range of issues. Is there anything else you want to say before we stop?

Julia: Uh yeah, look, I’m not going to say that all of my mental health problems or anyone else’s are a direct result of the culture that we live in today. We don’t have total control over our mental health, just like we don’t have control over who gets sick. But I’m also not going to ignore the fact that this intense and toxic school culture has a really negative effect on mental health overall.  I mean I know so many people who are depressed or have anxiety, or both, and I think that today’s culture does contribute to that quite a bit.

I know a lot of people who neglect their own personal well being simply because they see the limited time they have, and all of the things that they ‘need’ to do in order to be successful, and then they realize that they just can’t fit it all in. So they have to cut something. It’s just a question of what. For a lot of people, it’s sleep. For others, they  just forget to eat or forget to drink water. I know so many people who look at their day, and see that with school, and studying time, and maxing classes, and getting good GPAs, and having extracurricular activities in order to be the ‘well rounded student’ for college apps and stuff, they see all of it, they do a quick calculation, and when they realize that they can’t do it all, then almost all of them just sleep less, and hydrate with caffeine instead of water. And that’s a big problem!

I hear a lot of adults talk about how “today’s youth” is focused only on the here and now. And to a certain extent, that may be true. But what I think a lot of people forget is that we focus on the here and now for a reason. It’s not because we’re narcissistic, or addicted to technology. It’s because there’s an immense pressure to have a successful future, and that takes a lot of work. We do everything do to get good grades, and be in extracurricular activities and everything so we can get to college so we can get a job. And so when we do focus on ourselves, when we live in the present… it’s usually because we’re working so hard for our future we need to take a break from all of it. And I don’t necessarily think that’s wrong.

(End of interview)

Kiera: I really hope you enjoyed today’s episode. And remember. 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,  Ashlyn Seibert as Julia. Hey, that’s me! 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 our parents for letting us do this crazy project.

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 Lauren on May 9th.

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

2 – Tom — April 25, 2019
Tom Transcript —

Tom Transcript

You can download a PDF version of the transcript here.

2 – Tom

[Hometown theme fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[Theme music fades out]

Kiera: Hello and welcome back to Hometown. I’m so glad you’re listening! Today, we’ll hear from Tom. I met him in his house, and it sort of matches his personality. It was a little bit cluttered, but only in the most charming way.

[In a new environment. The reverb is slightly different.]

Kiera: Okay, I’m recording. Thanks again for being willing to talk to me.

Tom: Oh, uh… sure! Now… how would you like me to start?

Kiera: Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself?

Tom: Oh, sure. Well, I’m Tom.

Kiera: …And um…. What do you do?

Tom: I’m… a writer.

Kiera: Really? That sounds… so interesting!

Tom: Yeah, kind of. I’ll do some freelancing when I get the chance. Or I’ll work on my own stuff.

Kiera: What kind of stuff do you like to write?

Tom: Oh, anything really. I especially enjoy poetry.

Kiera: That’s really neat.

[A dog barks, seemingly distant and muffled]

Tom: Um… oh, sorry. That’s the neighbors dog. Is that going to be a problem?

Kiera: No, it’s fine. You were saying that you enjoy poetry. I would love to hear a bit more about that.

Tom: Yeah, it’s actually funny how it all worked out though… I knew I wanted to pursue writing as a career, but I never really expected poetry to come as the main focus. I always imagined the typical write a novel, become an author, which looking back is crazy. I don’t think I have it in me to churn out novels for a living. And now, I guess I kind of see poetry as such a vital part of what I write. Not that much of it’s published.

Kiera: Well then, uh… what changed? I mean if you didn’t really see poetry as that important and now you do, must have been some kind of… something to prompt it, right?

Tom: Well, I grew up in the area, uh… sort of on the outskirts. My family owned some land, and we were farmers, you know? We mostly grew corn, nothing spectacular. We sold our crops, but it wasn’t like we made a ton of money off ‘em. It was kinda just… what we did. I remember doing stupid stuff with my brother and my friends when I was a kid. Like running around and messing with the animals a bit. Nothing mean of course, we’d just… [he chuckles] we had some sheep, and they’re not exactly known for being the brightest. So what you could do, is if you can get them to walk around in a circle, they’d just keep following the leader. And then, if you can get one of ‘em to hop over a stick, but remove the stick for the next sheep, they’ll jump regardless. I know it sounds kind of… boring maybe, but you know. They hadn’t developed the area as much as they have now. So there weren’t any frozen yogurt places or comic book stores to hang around. So, I guess you could say that I grew up a country boy.

But… after a while, things began to change. Right before my… must have been my freshman year in high school, the government decided that they wanted to buy up our land in order to build a road straight through it. There was a road near it, but it was in real awful condition, and they decided that the best solution was to go straight through our field! At that point, we weren’t exactly well off if you know what I mean. So my parents decided instead of being stubborn, knowing that there wouldn’t be much good coming out of that, to cut their losses, sell everything we couldn’t take with us, and move into a house closer to the center of town. It was hard to leave. I sure didn’t want to. I liked that house, those fields, everything about it. Sure there was always a lot of work to be done, but it was… home. And I was so frustrated and upset at the government because they took the most wonderful thing in the world away from me. They wanted to turn it into a simple road of all things! I didn’t care if it was for the good of the community. I didn’t care if it would make a lot of things easier for a lot of people. I just didn’t understand why it had to be our family out of the millions of families in the country.

Kiera: I’m… so sorry that sounds really hard.

[A lawnmower starts up]

Tom: It was. But that’s when I really got into poetry. I had a lot of… mixed feelings I guess. But that was how I sorted them all out. When I wrote, I didn’t always have to even think about what I was writing. If I could just get down to the core of what I felt, then the words… they just came out. I wouldn’t really focus much on rhyming or structure, since I was really just writing for myself. One time in English the following year, we had a unit about poetry. And I was so excited. But… I was pretty disappointed. We mostly studied poems with really rigid structures, and look, obviously I understand the merit behind sonnets and all that, and I can even enjoy writing a ballad every once in a while, but all we ever learned was formatted poetry. And I always got horrible grades because I couldn’t do that. I don’t think it makes me less of a good writer, but I just kind of gradually realized that sticking to strict rules was not going to work for me at all.

But yeah. In high school, I was pretty much either doing homework, or I was working on writing poetry. One time, I tried to enter in the school poetry slam. I thought “What could go wrong?” But really, I didn’t enjoy the rhythm I had to fall into, and then I had a hard time getting out of that, and not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I really didn’t enjoy the feel of like my voice, if that didn’t make any sense. e. e. cummings was my hero. He understood that in some cases, grammar and english rules get in the way of natural speech. But of course, we never learned to write like him in school. We just read some of his work, appreciated it, and moved on. Teachers were always showing us writers who freed themselves from certain rules, but never really gave us a space to explore that ourselves. And I understand. Those writers were professionals, we’re students.

[Dog begins barking in the background]

And it would be hard to incorporate much creative experimentation in a lesson plan. But, at the same time, it’d be nice if I’d had a space to explore that back in the day. I’ve kind of gotten of track here, mostly, I’m just trying to explain how important writing poems became. Pretty much anytime I felt anything, I’d find the nearest piece of paper, and I’d write a poem. Frustrated? It would explain my frustration in a way that was not hostile or hurtful. Happy? It would take a snapshot of that moment and extend it further than my own memory would allow. And when I started to struggle with my mental health, writing poetry helped me keep going. It felt like a validation of my feelings, and like I could get something positive out of the negative things happening to me. I wrote so many poems. When I got older, I thought about publishing a collection of them. I thought that maybe there was at least one other person in the world that was feeling what I felt, and it could bring some kind of comfort to them. The only problem was that I had my poems written in so many different places. Some notebooks, but also lots of pieces of paper, memos, the back of a receipt, and math worksheets from high school. Once I opened up an old favorite book of mine, and found a poem written on an index card I had used as a bookmark. There was no way I would be able to find everything I had written. But, I started looking for them. I put together a large stack, and I typed them all up one by one. And honestly, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It was like I was reading snapshots from so many years of my life. It made me feel connected to my past, and the world. It took weeks, but before I knew it, I was typing the last poem I had found. And I saved them all to a flash drive. And then, [He chuckles]  I lost the flash drive.

Kiera: [Laughing, but also mildly pained] Oh no. Are you serious?

Tom: Hey! It happens! Fortunately, I didn’t throw away any of my papers. I kept them in one of those… you know… boxes that papers go in. But, I still haven’t gotten around to retyping all of them.

Kiera: You should!

Tom: Maybe I will.

[Environment fades out]

Kiera: Before I left, I asked Tom if he’d mind reading one of his poems. He agreed, and he began to pull out an old paper box, just like he’d described. He thumbed through it until he seemed to find what he was looking for.

[Back in the small room environment. A page flips.]

Tom: This one, I think would be good. It’s actually about losing my home, and how that also sort of meant losing a part of me as well. I think I worked on this one a bit more than my… scribbles.

[He clears his throat]

The wind blows

And the world sways

The crops in the field move



And so on

And so on


Then they sway all to one side

Then the world tips over

Collapsing, collapsing,

My world is small

And it’s falling to pieces

And i am falling to pieces

And all is falling to pieces


And the pieces sway in the wind

And the pieces fall to the ground


Far away

Never seen again

My world has gone away

And I will never be the same

[A pause. In a different environment]

Kiera: I really enjoyed hearing Tom’s story. As he told it to me in our conversation, and then the simple emotional way that he conveyed it in the poem he shared. I also liked the small insight into his creative process that he gave. There was something very genuine about the way he phrased things that was charming. I hope you enjoyed listening to this conversation as much as I enjoyed having it. And as always, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

[End credit music fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown is created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Today’s episode featured the voices of Aubree Seibert as Kiera, and Harry Jeffrey as Tom. Today’s episode also featured the talent of Maddis, who is a very good boy. 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, Tom Finke for donating to our Indiegogo campaign, as well as Harry, Dani, and Jonathan for being wonderful and supportive friends throughout this project.

If you like our show and want to hear more, as well as get some 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 www.patreon.com/seibertandseibert that’s P- A- T- R- E- O- N .com slash S- E- I- B- E- R- T and S- E- I- B- E- R- T.  Keep up with us on Twitter at hometowncast and find transcripts and merch on our website at www.hometowncast.wordpress.com. You can also join our discord community.

Thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you for our next episode, Julia, on May 2nd. And until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

Eliza Transcript — April 17, 2019

Eliza Transcript

You can download a PDF version of the transcript here.

1 – Eliza

[Hometown theme fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[theme fades out]

Kiera: Hello, and welcome to this the very first episode of Hometown! I’m Kiera and I’m so glad you’re joining me today.

Today I have our very first interview for you with Eliza, a history teacher at a middle school here in town. I really enjoyed talking to Eliza. She’s one of the bubbliest people I have ever met. I found her story to be very touching, and I hope you enjoy hearing it from her as much as I did.

[In a different environment, some light background noise is there as they are outside]

Kiera: Alright, I’m recording now!

Eliza: [Bright, cheerful] Awesome! Hello! [She giggles]

Kiera: [She laughs] Would you like to introduce yourself?

Eliza: Sure! I’m Eliza! Um… what else do I say?

Kiera: How long have you lived here?

Eliza: Oh, pretty much my whole life. I was born here, and I’ve never been away for more than a couple of months on trips and such. I love traveling. I don’t think anyone expected me to stay here in small town USA, I enjoy seeing everywhere else so much! But I couldn’t imagine ever moving away. Don’t you feel the same?

Kiera: I guess so.

Eliza: It’s just… such a nice place to come back to. I never feel like I’m tied up here, just like… I have… a soft place to land.

Is there  anything else I should say about myself?

Kiera: You can talk about whatever you’d like.

Eliza: Ooookayyy, well, I’m just a bit over thirty, just a tiny bit, which is crazy, where does the time go?! I’m not married, probably not gonna happen at this point. My mom always says there’s simply no person who can pull me out of the clouds long enough to get a ring on my finger. I think that’s a roundabout way of saying I have commitment issues? [She laughs] But… I just don’t like being tied down. And if I was to get married, and then have kids, well… but I do like kids a lot. I’m actually a teacher, but… still.

Kiera: What do you teach?

Eliza: Sixth grade history! I’ve always wanted to teach history since I was in high school, but I knew I didn’t want to work with high schoolers, or any kids too old. I’ve always loved little kids, but… I just wanted to teach history, not everything like elementary teachers have to do. It took a couple of years of having to teach other classes like health and some other grades of history but… I got into the position I dreamed of and I’ve stayed there ever since! And I love teaching. I love the kids, I love the subject, I love getting time off every summer to go on adventures, and I love the people I work with too. Several of the other teachers and me who started about the same time have a little lunch club. We meet up during breaks with whoever’s in town.

Kiera: You said you grew up here?

Eliza: Yes! Born and raised!

Kiera: What was your childhood like here?

Eliza: Oh, goodness let me think. I had a very… happy childhood. We had that classic American house with the big yard and it was just my parents my brother and me. We’d play with all of the kids in the neighborhood, and my mom would take us to play at the park almost every weekend. There was one close enough to walk to from our house, and I still drive by it sometimes. It’s changed a lot of course, which isn’t a bad thing. But, it’s made me a little sad to see them take out slides and everything I grew up playing on. They still have a swing set though, and that was always my favorite. Even when I was in high school I would walk down to the park and sit on the swing set with a date or just a friend… and we’d watch the sunset. [pause] I met my best friend at that park actually. We were just little kids.

I loved going to school here too. I mean, most of the time at least. I wasn’t really a super studious kid or anything. I mean, I always loved history of course, but mostly I just loved being around so many people. I was always very social. I got in trouble for talking too much in class kind of a lot. [She giggles] I had a lot of friends at school. No one cried more than me at graduation. I had to say goodbye to all those people I’d grown up with, and who knew if we’d ever all end up in the same place again?

I’m sure you can understand that feeling. You grew up here too.

Kiera: I can’t say that my high school experience was quite the same as yours…

Eliza: Oh, I’m sure it couldn’t have been that bad. I still get so happy when I see the people I went to school with around town. It’s fun to see these people I grew up with. I mean, I saw them when they were still elementary school kids running around and climbing on the monkey bars during recess. And then you watch them going through all of their awkward phases in middle school, and all of their crushes, and terrible relationships in high school, and then ten years later you run into them at the grocery store with their partners and beautiful kids. It’s crazy to think that before too long, I’ll probably be teaching history to children of some of the people who I graduated with. That’s going to make me feel old. [She laughs] But, it’s exciting. And of course I love hearing what people have done with their lives. Even most of the people who were kind of… unorganized all through school now have these stable jobs and are really really making something of themselves. It just makes me so happy to see! Um… does that answer your question? [She giggles]

Kiera: [She laughs] I think so. Don’t feel like you have to stick to some kind of script or anything, I just want to hear your perspectives.

Eliza: Alright! [She giggles]

Kiera: Um… you mentioned your best friend earlier? I was wondering if she still lives here.

Eliza: No, actually, that’s kind of a funny story.

Keira: I’d love to hear it!

Eliza: [She giggles] Alright. Well, like I said before, we met at the playground near my house. We lived pretty near each other, and it was the summer before second grade. She had moved here from a different state because of her dads job. We didn’t know each other before that day, but we just got a long so well and then we ended up in the same class that school year. After that it was pretty much sealed that we were best friends. We were always over at each other’s houses watching disney movies, painting nails, making friendship bracelets, and all kinds of general shenanigans that little girls get up to.

And we stayed friends through middle school as well, and in sixth grade we both went through some… really hard things that… brought us closer. She was like family to me. I told her everything. I’m a very social person, and I like having a lot of friends, but… I’m also a rather private person. She was the only person who I really told things to. Summers were the best of course. Long nights of sleepovers, and braiding hair, and whispering all night about the boys we liked, and who all the other girls liked, and “don’t you think so-and-so would be good with so-and-so?” Long hot days of trying to be like the cool high schoolers we saw on TV, laying out in the sun and then giving up after five minutes and splashing around in the pool. Running out to the ice cream truck when it drove by. It went on like that for seven years.

And then… the bad news came. Her dad had to move again for work. When her parents told her, she ran all the way to my house to tell me and spent the night. We were both just… crying and crying. We were in eighth grade at the time, and we had so many big plans about starting high school together and suddenly all of that was taken from us. We’d be going to high schools across the country from each other. We promised each other all kinds of things that night, promises about never forgetting a single moment of the last seven years, and finding each other again someday. We knew we wouldn’t be able to keep in touch. Long distance phone calls would be too great a financial burden on our families, and we didn’t grow up with email and texting. We woke up that next morning still hugging each other, and our parents let us stay home from school for a day.

Those last few months, while her house sold and she packed up all of her things, it was… so surreal! Nothing could stop the two of us from having fun together, but… everything that we did came with the terror of wondering “is this the last time we’ll do that?” At first it was only a few thing that made me wonder that, but as the day she was going to move quickly approached, everything could have been the last. Going to our favorite ice cream place, swinging on the swingset in the park where we met… and our summer was cut short too. Her moving date was right at the beginning of July. We only had June. We still had the friendship bracelets that we had made in second grade. We didn’t wear them of course, but we kept them! The day before she moved away, we put on matching burn bracelets –uh, bracelets that you put on by burning the ends together so that they can’t come off– and… we cried more of course. Saying goodbye to her… it was the worst in my life up until that point. And I never did forget her. And, I never had another friend like her, who things were just… easy with. I wasn’t lonely, I had lots of people around, but… it just wasn’t the same. Half of my heart was missing. Even into my twenties would think about her sometimes  and wonder where she was, and if she was married yet…

And then on my twenty-fifth birthday I got a notification on Facebook, a friend request. And it was her! I accepted and she messaged me asking if I remembered her, to which I said “Of course! How could I ever forget?!” And then we got to talk on the phone, talking for the first time in over ten years. And she told me that she saw the date, and remembered it was my birthday, even after all these years! And she suddenly thought of looking me up on facebook. We were both so excited to hear each other. It turned out she was living in Chicago. That same day, she invited me up to come visit her, and we worked out the plans over the next few weeks. And then suddenly I was on a plane, and then suddenly I was in an airport, and then suddenly there was my best friend, now a beautiful woman, holding a sign with my name on it, and I rushed to hug her, and suddenly we were both crying, but this time, they weren’t tears over all of the years we had lost, but tears over the joy of what we found again. And I stayed with her for a week, and it’s almost as if no time had passed and we were still those two little girls growing up here! That wasn’t the case of course, we had a lot to catch up on. But she told me all about her career, all about the things that had happened in her family, who I was also close to, and then she showed me the city! It was the happiest week of my life. I’m pretty sure we both only got a total of ten hours of sleep over the whole week. Of course, the week went by much too fast, and before we knew it, I was back home. Without her.

But since then, there has been many visits back and forth. And we talk on the phone for hours. It’s amazing to have my best friend back in my life. The first time she came back home, it was absolutely wonderful. We’ve revisited all of the places that we went together when we were young. Even though some of them had changed into other businesses. The last evening she was her that week, we went to the park where we met. And we sat on the swing set, the one thing that hadn’t changed in the whole park since the day we met. We sat there for hours talking just a little, fingers interlaced, holding tightly, as if by holding tight enough, we could make the evening last forever. And we watched the sun go down over the noise of the children playing, and we watched as little kids made new friendships, some of which would perhaps last them a lifetime. And then we watched them leave the park. One by one, family by family, going home to where they would dream about all of the adventures they would have the next day. And still, we just… sat there. Until darkness fell like a blanket. And the stars came out to play in the sky.

[A pause. A new environment, without the background noise]

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

[End credit music fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown is created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Today’s episode featured the voices of Aubree Seibert as Kiera, and Tara Santora as Eliza. Original music was composed by Jonathan Sandy. Find more of his work on Spotify under Jonathan Sandy. Graphic design by Hanna Perkins.

Special thanks this week goes to Eliza Seibert for donating to our Indiegogo campaign.

If you like our show and want to hear more, as well as get some 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 www.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 www.hometowncast.wordpress.com. You can also join our Discord community.

Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you for our next episode, Tom, on April 25th. And until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

[Music fades out]

1 – Eliza —
0 – Kiera — April 11, 2019
Kiera Transcript —

Kiera Transcript

You can download a PDF version of the transcript here

0 – Kiera

[Hometown theme music fades in]

Ashlyn: Hometown. Create by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert.

[Music begins to fade]

Kiera: Hello everyone and welcome to the first episode of Hometown! Actually, this is more of a prologue I guess? Maybe episode… zero. Anyways, my name is Kiera, and I’m so glad you’re listening. Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m making this podcast, so I think I’m going to explain that first.

I was born and raised in a city that isn’t super small, but it’s definitely not a big city either. I went to a college not too far away and then moved back home after I graduated. It wasn’t exactly how I pictured, but it’s how things worked out. The town I live in… well I don’t know how to describe it to you, it just… is? [She laughs] Um… pretty much just your average suburban town. It has just average things in it, a few parks, a few elections nobody votes in, everybody just kind of goes about their normal business and stays in their small church groups of Facebook groups or whatever kind of circles people get into these days.

But, here’s my problem. I lived here my whole life except for college, and yet, I don’t really know that many people here! I don’t know who owns the cute old-fashioned restaurant ten minutes away or even if there is one. I don’t know who to go for to pick up the latest town gossip, I doubt there even is such a person. I don’t even know who’s running in the election, or if there’s an election going on right now. And, okay that last part definitely says more about me than this place, but my point is this: I’ve never felt a meaningful connection to this place. No sense of community, no warm and fuzzy feelings after coming home from a long trip, it’s always been simply the place that I live.

And I don’t want that to be true! I want to be proud of my hometown, and I want to feel connected to the people who live here! I want to find a sense of community in this place where I will probably spend my whole life.

And that’s where this podcast comes in.  I plan to interview people who live here, people who are different in many ways. Age, race, wealth, it doesn’t matter. But all of these people will have that one unifying factor that they all live here. I’m going to talk to them, try to understand them, and hopefully try to collect their stories. Stories are what I’m really after. I’ve always felt that by hearing someone’s story, even if it’s a small part of their life, you can connect to them on a much deeper level. And my hope is that by the end of this project I can look back at their stories, and… well, I guess I just want to feel fulfilled by them in some way. Maybe I’ll find where I fit in to all this. A feeling of home, community, that’s really what I’m looking for.

A disclaimer: I am not a professional, and I have no experience in podcasting at all, [Small nervous laugh] but I wanted something that would keep a bit of anonymity for the people that I interview without losing the personal connection of hearing someone’s voice. So, I bought myself a blue snowball mic, and… here I am!  I would like to apologize in advance for any low-quality audio or editing because I am learning as I go, but I’ll get better.

Each week, you will hear me interviewing someone, and hopefully prompting them to share some kind of a personal story as the center of the interview.  The name of the city that I live in will be kept anonymous since I want my guests to be able to speak freely. But like I said: picture any suburb in America, and you’ve pretty much got the main idea.

Well, that’s all for now! Be sure to keep your eye on this feed for the first episode of Hometown, coming soon to wherever you get your podcasts.

[Quiet piano music fades in, rising as low strings join in. A melodic line played by a (?) begins. The music shifts to a calm shimmer]

Ashlyn: Hometown is created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Today’s episode featured the voice of Aubree Seibert as Kiera. 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 our family for all of their love and support for this crazy project that we’re doing.

If you like our show and want to hear more, as well as get some 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 www.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 www.hometowncast.wordpress.com. You can also join our Discord community.

Thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you for our next episode, Eliza, on April 18th. Until then, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

[Music fades out]

Trailer — March 20, 2019


Episode Notes

Introducing Hometown, created by Aubree and Ashlyn Seibert. Original music by Jonathan Sandy, and graphic design by Hannah Perkins.

Join Kiera as she interviews residents of her hometown and gives them a place to share their story, and in doing so seeks a sense of belonging.

An anthology audio drama about finding community, what it means to have a home, and the stories that make us who we are.

And remember, don’t be afraid to tell your story.

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Find the full transcript here

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