Four Hens and a Rooster

I met Elaine through blogging – she’s a very active blogger and member of BlogHer and always offers some insightful thoughts to everyones posts, not just mine. What I love the most about her is that not only does she want to be a Roller Derby girl, she’s DOING it!! I wish I had the stamina to do it and have even thought what my name would be but haven’t nailed it yet. 

James Taylor practically raised me. When I was a kid it was the obvious “Sweet Baby James,” sung togoing to carolina me by my mom, or an aunt if we were having a family party at my grandmother’s house. I sang “James” to my baby sisters. I sing it to my own babies.

In the 90’s, when everyone in New York was suffering economic hardship, we were no exception. My dad, an electrician, moved us to North Carolina a month after my 17th birthday. It should go without saying that I was unhappy to leave my friends and family. But the bank was taking our house. Our new and unfinished house that my dad was building and we were living in when the economic crisis struck.

My dad had been working out-of-state for months trying to keep us afloat. He was fortunate to have found a much better job in Research Triangle Park.

My mother told me to buck up, and I did. I was still not super happy with the situation, but the whole thing sucked anyway. So, instead of focusing on the negative, we tried to focus on the positive. It’s what we do.

Carolina on My Mind became our anthem. “Ain’t it just like a friend of mine, to hit me from behind…”  That “friend” was life, and it had kicked our ass.

Carolina would be our new life. Our new start. We were leaving behind a lot of pain. The new house that was more of a burden than a joy. Dodging bill collectors, and the fear of who was on the other end of the phone when it rang.

We were getting a “new” car. One that would replace our car with the sketchy transmission and holes in the floorboards.

We were moving into a townhouse! That seemed so glamorous to me. There was a pool. And a tennis court!

“Can’t you see the sunshine, can’t you just feel the moonshine!”

Unfortunately things didn’t go well for me in North Carolina. The pain I was trying not to feel manifested in a lot of self hate, a lot of bad decisions, and more unhappiness. The damage I did to myself still lingers here and there, and after the damage I did to my family I’m surprised they have even an ounce of love and respect for me. I moved back to New York less than a year and a half after moving to North Carolina.

Carolina remains on my mind, though, with the beaches (my favorite part of Carolina), and the people I left behind.  Carolina remains the symbol of hope and a better life. When times get tough Carolina is always on my mind.

“Signs that might be omens say I’m going, I’m going, I’m going to Carolina in my mind.”


Elaine Griffin


Elaine is an obsessive list maker, chronic wine drinker, and a wannabe roller derby star. She blogs about these things, life, and her kids at The Laine List. She can also be found blogging about WordPress, social media, and other fun stuff at Elaine Griffin Designs.

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