Growing up I resented Nebraska and all things small town. Although I have lived in Nebraska for most of my life I still consider myself a Californian at heart. Not a day passes that I don’t think of my home state and all of the wonderful things that I miss, but as I grow older my appreciation for Nebraska grows with me.

I’m getting to the point in life where I will be moving away, eventually to another state and I have started to think about all of the things that I will have to start over with- my hair dresser, my dentist that I’ve known for over 15 years, the neighbors that I consider family, friendly strangers, the list goes on. Moving is always a fresh start, but leaving friendly, small town Nebraska is entirely different.

I’m happy to start a new chapter of my life and begin a future with someone I love, but leaving the place I now call home is a little overwhelming. My entire young adult life I have looked forward to the day that I get to say goodbye to Kearney, Nebraska, but as that day grows closer I start to think of what I love about this small town.

Writing and journaling has always been a way for me to reflect on my thoughts and feelings, especially when I am missing home, whether that be San Diego or Kearney. I recently received a message from one of my close friends saying that she thought about all of the writing I do and decided to give it a try after a rough day…

Missing Sweet Nebraska Summertime

-Lex Oestmann 

First of all let me introduce myself, I am Lex Oestmann. I am a 21 year old, soon to be senior in college at Nebraska Wesleyan. I grew up in a small town in Southeastern NE. This summer I was accepted into Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory’s Student Program and I am spending 10 weeks out in beautiful mountains of Colorado taking a wildlife class and doing independent research. This is the longest time I have ever been away from home and Nebraska, but I was excited because I love Colorado and the mountains; this was going to be a great new opportunity for me. I never once thought I would miss home or Nebraska’s hot and humid summers, but boy let me tell you I was wrong. Perhaps the saying is true…distance makes the heart grow fonder. Here are just a few things I miss about Nebraska summers.


1) Lightning bugs

2) Cruising back roads with my friends

3) Floating down rivers and stomping through creeks

4) Watching summer thunderstorms and not being afraid that lightning will strike you (real threat when you are living at 10,000 ft)


6) People waving as they drive by

7) Flat roads and sea level (I am a runner)

8) The sound of cicadas and bullfrogs humming their tune at night

9) Being able to sit outside at night and it’s still 70-80 degrees

10) Midwestern people

11) Fishing in my best friend’s pond on her family’s farm

12) Nebraska sunsets

Nebraska may not be picturesque mountain beautiful, but it has its own beauty that sometimes just takes driving down a back road to find. It’s a mixture of things that makes Nebraska beautiful and no matter where I live it will always be home.

I am sure we all have our own lists of what we miss/love about where we come from. The important thing is to acknowledge the beauty around us before we have to say goodbye. I have one more year until I move away from my small comforting town and I plan on spending it soaking up all of this Nebraska beauty.

Be thankful for the place you come from before you are looking at it through your rear view mirror.

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Taylor Cannon

Taylor was born in San Diego and grew up in Kearney, NE. From a young age Taylor has been environmentally cautious and concerned about social justice. She recently graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. Taylor has a passion for photography and volunteering. She hopes to encourage others to take action and become involved in both their local and global communities. Learn more about Taylor's photography at her facebook page: