My Hometown

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life38 Comments


Last week a business meeting took me all the way to Seattle, the city that I love and the city in which I was born. It's been over three years since I was last in Washington, so I tacked on a few days in order to spend it in my true hometown, Everett. My best friend, Molly, still lives there where she's married and raising her two adorable and precocious daughters, Anne and Aida.


There is something about the air there. It smells different. Maybe it's because you can get close to the water and smell the salt in the air. Or maybe it's all those pine trees and all that moss and all that rain. It's a verdant land, that Pacific Northwest.


After my visit with Molly, I headed to Seattle for a meeting with the folks from Big Picture Classes.


Lucky for me, that meant getting to hang out with Ali and Stacy and my new friend, Tracey.


We stopped at Ivar's on the Pier for a fish and chips snack.


We headed off to the Space Needle for a tasty dinner with a 360-degree very slowly rotating view.


We left Seattle to head over to Carnation where Stacy's parents live and held our meeting on Saturday morning before all boarding planes to our respective homes.


I always get a bit nostalgic when I'm home for any length of time. Though I wouldn't trade the path of my life for anything, I still wonder what it would be like to live in the town I'm from.

This is a picture of Silver Lake. I spent every summer there, trying in vain for that Washington tan, swimming in the lake, and probably doing a few things I ought to not have been doing. So many memories wash over me just looking at this Instagram shot.

Photo May 17, 4 21 50 PM

A song came to mind, a song called "Hometown" by the insanely underrated Joe Jackson. If you're a fan, you'll know it. If not, here's a little taste of the lyric:

Hometown by Joe Jackson

Of all the stupid things I could have thought
This was the worst
I started to believe
That I was born at seventeen
And all the stupid things
The letters and the broken verse
Stayed hidden at the bottom of the drawer
They'd always been
And now I plough through piles
Of bills, receipts and credit cards
And tickets and the Daily News
And sometimes I just . . .

Wanna go back to my home town
Though I know it'll never be the same
Back to my home town
'Cause it's been so long
And I'm wondering if it's still there…

For anyone who somehow became separated from the place in which you grew up, it might resonate with you. In fact, sometimes this song breaks my heart in the best of ways.


Here's to where you're from.

Cathy ZielskeMy Hometown

38 Comments on “My Hometown”

  1. #2
    Jennifer Larson

    What a wonderful post! I grew up in Maine and have now been transplanted to Minnesota, but I always look forward to going back and eating pizza from Tess’s and maybe having a Jolt from Day’s newsstand. Nostalgia.

  2. #3

    it’s interesting because hometown can mean so very much….hard times, good times, fond memories, slow times, fast times, friends, people that were a little more difficult….I’m not sure how I feel about my hometown….maybe that’s something to journal…..

  3. #5
    Marsaille Knight

    I know that smell too. It’s never even been my state, let alone hometown. But my heart knows that smell and craves it. Apparently all my family does too, since nearly all my relations have migrated to Oregon.

  4. #6

    I grew up in Everett and have been lucky to live my adult life here too. It is a great place to live and raise a family! And the smell… on those occasions we would go to Eastern Washington, you would know the moemnt you were on this side of the mountains again just by the smell in the air. It is lovely.

  5. #7

    I totally understand this post. we just spent last weekend in Oregon (where I grew up) for a family wedding. all the memories that come flooding back………..

  6. #9

    I connect so much with all of your posts, where you are in life and your perspective, but this one really spoke to me. I’m from a small town in Southern Minnesota and wouldn’t change having grown up there for the world. I find I don’t have many photos of that time so a trip back for some “after the fact” photos now seems in order. By the way, I’m sure I saw you at the Aspen Clinic last week, coming out with your son. I live in Roseville and was in pediatrics with my daughter. It was funny – I had a little “movie star” moment, like Oh my gosh, I know her from her blog πŸ™‚ Thought you would get a kick out of that. Thanks for what you do.

  7. #10

    A mtg with Ali and Stacy? Could this mean a Cathy Zielske Big Picture class in our future? Pretty please.

  8. #11

    You did in fact see me leaving Aspen. Thats our clinic. Has been for years! He was getting his pre-7th grade physical. : ) And he was bummed because he had to get four shots. : ( Next time, say hi! Thank YOU for reading my blog.

  9. #13

    Thanks for this Cathy. I grew up south of you in Renton but the military has taken our family to a few places over the years. While I would trade these adventures for anything I do so miss home. It’s always nice, even in pictures, to see all those trees, Rainier or the Cascades and all the iconic Seattle sites…and even the overcast skies (lol). I do miss the air there….especially after it rains. Hope you had a great time back home! No place like it!

  10. #17
    Christy P

    I live right near Silver Lake, welcome back- I believe it was sunny too while you were here! There is just no place like the Seattle area, especially the EVT as I like to call it now days πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing and reminding me of my own surroundings!

  11. #18
    Amy Ruotsala

    Hi Cathy- I hope you stopped in at the Skate Deck and took a big sniff of that smell. That will send you right back to the 70’s and 80’s. It has not changed one bit. Next time you are here, I’ll give you a little tour of Eisenhower Middle School….hello flashback!

  12. #19

    I lived in Seattle for a year after I graduated college. What an awesome city & state. I haven’t been back in 11yrs…I grew up in VT & I miss it so much. Your post brought up GOOD memories.

  13. #21

    Silverlake–I walk to Silverlake!!! Glad you had fun in your hometown. I still go back to mine now and again in CA but I think Everett is home now!

  14. #23
    toni from

    Oh Cathy I needed to see those pics and watch that video now, feeling very homesick. Thank you for posting this. We are from Washington State and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina last June for my husband’s job. We are from Graham, Wa (about 30 minutes from Seattle.) Oh how I miss my Emerald City and Mt. Rainier (we could almost see it from our house and we use to go camping and hiking there all the time.) Feeling very verklept right now, great song…Just another reason to love you and I swear we are kindred spirits, you and I.

  15. #24
    Tammy D

    Oh, thank you for the peek at WA! I spent the first 20 years of my life in Spokane (but I love Seattle too!) and the past 19 in the south (mostly Orlando with some time in Nashville thrown in). There definitely is *something* special in the air in the PNW. WA is still in my heart and even though I live elsewhere, WA state will always be HOME. πŸ™‚

  16. #25

    I was transplanted from my home area of Pasadena, CA 14 years ago, but my family still lives there so I get back about 4 times a year and insist on having a pastrami from The Hat… there’s something about the heat in the San Gabriel Valley that I miss…

  17. #26

    omg, the photo of you, ali & stacy gives me CKU flashbacks [in the BEST possible way!]! i miss getting to “hang” with you artiste-teachers during real, live workshops. the inspiration was palpable! sooo good to see you all together again, albeit virtually! πŸ™‚

  18. #27

    I am happy for you getting to visit your hometown and old friends again. Love the 3 of you together, such creative vibes must have been happening during this visit, LOVE LOVE the story and each picture. I keep telling my kids now that I hope they will always stay in our hometown and enjoy it their whole lives, a parent can dream right.

  19. #28

    My favorite part of the world (I live just across the lake from Seattle, and was born and raised here :D) AND three of my absolute favorite scrapbookers – all at the same time! Nirvana! Glad you had such a great visit, and next time, let us blog groupies know when you’ll be in town and we’ll take you out to coffee. πŸ˜€

  20. #29

    I really enjoyed this post. Love the lyrics of the song. Lots resonated with me. And P.S. MY hometown is good old Como Park! πŸ™‚ Now I’m sniffling.

    Thank you!

  21. #30

    I was born a mountain mama (small town in West Virginia) but I’ve been a big city girl (Chicago) for 20 years now. (How did the words “mountain” and “big” get attached to my identity, BTW?)

  22. #31

    My husband grew up in Lake Stevens and used to go fishing at Silver Lake. We no longer live in WA state but rather Arizona, and have a visit planned next month. Your post has us more excited than ever for the trip. πŸ™‚

  23. #32
    Cindy Sowell

    I was born in Renton, and raised in Seattle until I was 21. Your photos made me homesick! LOL!I loved living there, and my childhood was amazing! I swear I could smell Pike Place Market and Ivars just by looking at your photos! LOL! Ivar’s (on the pier) make the best fish and chips and fried clams! Yum! Currently I live in a small town with 1200 people, in Eastern Oregon. Now, there are different sites and smells that are filling my memories…sand,sagebrush,Russian olive and Ponderosa pine trees,deer, pheasants,cowboys and barbed wire fences. I love it here! It’s so peaceful, and I wish you could see it too!

  24. #34

    I’ve never ventured far from my hometown . . . I live 12 minutes from it — and have worked there for 20 years as a municipal employee. πŸ™‚ But oddly, the same sense of nostalgia and pride still fill me as I now help that city grow. (And I feel like we’ve kind of grown up together, really!)

  25. #35
    Debby F

    We are in Marysville, Wa. – We have had a dry streak. Windows open daily. Last night rain pushed through. My daughter (14) laying on the couch looking at her yearbook. Says – the smell of fresh cut gras and random rain are my favorite things.

    I sat teary eyed, thinking. She will remember this as home.

  26. #37

    I grew up in Everett too, Cathy! CHS ’80. I haven’t been to Everett for a bit. I still go up to Kayak Point to camp. I love WA!

  27. #38
    Teresa L. Cotterman

    Visited Seattle 4 times during my pre-teen years (Mercer Island is where my mom moved after she remarried) Remember being allowed to take the bus to a mall somewhere to see Rex Smith in concert (swoon), Pike Place Market and the University (where she worked) were amazing. It was also my first experience in the mountains Mt. Rainier is beautiful Love Seattle. If I ever found myself moving from the Midwest (still living in my hometown after 50 years…population 3000) I think the Pacific Northwest would be top on the list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *