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A small-town girl goes into the whole wide world

Sept. 29, 2008

Welcome to a new weekly feature on the online forum!
Caroline (Newsom) Wigmore, formerly of Cokato, is a small-town girl, with a taste for travel, history and the arts. Find the online feature on the Community Forum, “Places to go before you die”, Caroline will highlight the places she has traveled to and the places she hopes to visit.

By Caroline Wigmore
Staff Writer

“Now don’t you run off to England and fall in love with some British guy,” my father said as we stood in the kitchen the day before I left on my first trip to England. He was serious.

“I am definitely not looking for a relationship right now,” I said. I was also serious.

Dad had no problem with the British, only the fact that he knew I would move to England in a heartbeat if I had a valid reason.

While in England, I discovered that something about English literature, English culture and apparently English men, really clicks with me, and to my father’s dismay, he received an international call from me a few weeks after I had arrived in England, telling him that his worst nightmare may be coming true.

Chris, my British national husband and I were married in August in my father’s church (Dad pastors at Lamson Evangelical Free) in Dassel. Apparently Dad got over his reluctance about my surprising romance, being that he officiated for us. It probably helps that we decided to try living in the States for now, before we would move to England.

I think I might have something in me that works like a homing mechanism works in a pigeon: I feel a sense of “home” about the places in the world where I have ancestral roots.

My grandmother, Eva Newsom, a painter, comes from Louisiana. Her paintings of the French Quarter and southern scenes from the post-depression era were always intriguing to me. I moved to Louisiana right after high school graduation and starting attending a small college there.

Later, on a whim, I almost moved to Australia to finish my degree, but didn’t really feel a sense of belonging there, perhaps because I have no family history (that I know of) in that part of the world.

The processional song at our wedding was “Whole Wide World” by the Monkeys. We chose the song for its lyrics that rang true in our lives.

“When I was a young boy, my mama said to me, there’s only one girl in the world for you, but she probably lives in Tahiti. Go the whole wide world, go the whole wide world just to find her, go the whole wide world, just to find where they hide her.”

I still live a pretty big life, here in Wright County. Cross-cultural marriage poses enough comical, cultural differences to give at least the illusion of world travel, when in fact, I am only in my living room.

I would suggest that we all travel somewhere that requires a passport, even if it’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. And if that’s not possible, then we should all read about other countries, or at the very least tune in when the news highlights foreign places. It’s surprising how much we learn about ourselves when we take the time to ask a non-US citizen about their thoughts.

A few places I hope to visit in the near future are Denmark and France, two more countries where I have family history. Denmark is especially interesting to me, as I was named after my Danish great-grandmother Caroline, who emigrated from Denmark to America when she was 2 years old.

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