Pick A State


Like Home, Alabama
by Rick Vanderpool

Growing up, I lived with my family in Birmingham suburbs longer than any other place we were to call home – from 1960 to 1965; from the time I was in the 5th through 10th grades, after which my dad was transferred to St. Louis.

As turbulent as that period was for Birmingham and the rest of the world, other than problems with a bully and mean principal at school, my younger brother and I recall those years fondly.

After a couple of broken hearts, I saved up lawn-cutting monies to buy my first fly rod and taught myself to use it along 5-Mile Creek. My brother played YMCA football with Johnny Musso, and our baby sister got seriously into Barbie dolls those years.

Several friends and I may have ridden our bicycles over every single road in Jefferson County those years, but looking back, I thought 5-Mile Creek was at least twice that long or longer.

I traveled and photographed all 67 Alabama counties in a couple of weeks, total, but stayed a bit longer in the one where my family lived those years that left me with bittersweet memories (thanks to Ellen and Marion) and a well-worn old fly rod…