A love letter to the town (I mean city) of Brighton, Colorado

Categories: Breeality Bites

Even faux-Brighton natives like me know you always access La Es from its back entrance.
Back in the late '80s, when I was first introduced to Brighton, it was just starting to evolve from a sleepy little town into what it is today: a real-life, grown-up city. I don't get back there much anymore, but I do still get together with my friends who grew up there.

This past weekend, for example, I caught up with my B-town clan at a BBQ for a baby's first birthday (when you're a semi-adult, attending baby-themed parties is, like, the best way to con your married friends into hanging out with you). I sat down with the mother of one of my long-running Brighton BFFs, and we exchanged farm gossip and family gossip. Though the city has grown and changed and looks hardly like the one I knew as a kid, the people I met there are still the same.

This split-life upbringing left me with two very different sets of teenage-era friend groups, but a decade and a half later, the majority of those closest to me are either from Brighton or are people I met through my Brighton friends. I'm sure that living in a small town on only a part-time basis as I did had its advantages, but I still find myself pining for the life that they had, all of the time.

It isn't like small-town living means people or their life experiences are inherently "simple"; for me, the benefit was comfort in familiarity. I wouldn't trade my catholic-school-to-public-high-school-with-a-graduating-class-of-several-hundred-students experience for anything, but Brighton always felt like a home town that I wanted to be mine. From Fourth of July celebrations to swimming in the ditch to falling asleep to the sound of the train passing along a track a block away, all of my memories of the little city I pretended to call home are pleasant ones.

But that's not to say that I don't also remember my best friend's mom hanging over the backyard fence, notepad in hand, taking down the license plates of cars parked at a highly trafficked neighbor's house because she was sure they were dealing drugs. Idyllic dreams have their realities. And that reality was that maybe some of us who were hanging out at the Wagon Wheel skating rink would grow up to be the high-school kids who were friends with the drug dealers -- and they certainly weren't the people living next door.

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