In fourth grade, my family settled into a tiny cabin in the woods outside of Yreka, California. Yreka had a JCPenney department store downtown and lovely fashions like leather and wooden clogs that were all the rage at the time.

Yreka is small town America. Where Friday nights mean football and nothing matters like cheering for your home team. The Miners.

In the fall, Homecoming is all the hoopla. Each high school grade toils away on massive parade floats that scream school pride, princesses are nominated, and eventually, a big school spirit parade weaves through town. Truckloads of teens, firetrucks carrying the cheerleaders, and fancy sportscars with a homecoming princess perched in each one.

When senior year rolled around, my friends and I were all abuzz about princess nominations. Who would be nominated? Who would be in line to become Queen?

Turned out, all of my friends. But me. And I was crushed.

When I was a little girl, I didn’t know my family had very little. I never missed what we didn’t have. But as the years ticked by and I became a teen, I began to realize that I was different and had to work so hard to fit in. My dad had a pony tail. My mom – an earring in her nose. I couldn’t take a bath without heating water on the top of the wood stove. I lived deep in the woods, in a home I was too afraid to ever reveal. I wanted nothing more than to just be normal. To be like everyone else. And to someday be a Queen. But it just wasn’t my time.

Yesterday as our new home buzzed with the last flurry of workers and Colin and I worked like dogs to get things packed up and everything done, my mind was on the last forty years.

Years that I wouldn’t give back for anything. No matter how hard they were at times. Because as hard as some were, the better ones prevailed. Years where I grew to realize it really didn’t matter what I had or where I was from or if anyone wanted to nominate me for anything. Years that made me who I am.

A wife. A mom. A happy girl.

As we begin to settle into our new home, the place Colin and I intend to live out the rest of our years, this is our homecoming.

And I am Queen.

— — — — — — —

P.S.

One of my favorite songs my mom would sing when I was a girl, went like this:

“No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best, ’cause I’m the Queen of the house!

Queen of the houuuuusssssseeeee!”

MEET SERENA!

Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.

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