Are you a city, suburb, or country/rural area type person?
That last post on dialect & location has me wondering about the different places we live and why we choose them.
Also, someone requested some interesting tidbits about me growing up awhile ago on the readership survey…I need to do another one of those soon. Anyway, I thought I’d spill what’s on my mind and share a couple more stories from my younger days.
Not sure if they’re interesting but, here goes…
Sometimes I daydream about living in the country, away from everything. I think it stems from 3 things:
• The ease & comfort I often find in being reclusive.
• A 3rd grade field trip to…The Little Red School House? There was a walking trail through the woods with small wooden cabins along the way. Peeking through the window of one, I saw a (wooden or plastic mannequin) man and woman inside and, a fireplace. Warm lighting. I think the woman was holding a baby and there was a wooden crib on the floor. I thought it was so cozy and intimate. I remember wanting to go inside.
• The thick JCpenney’s catalogues from the late 80s/early 90s. The back few pages were usually selling these gorgeous quilted bedroom sets and other homey things.
I grew up in Chicago. South side. Far south side. West Pullman neighborhood. Sometimes people find this hard to believe.
It’s weird because, growing up I never thought I lived in a less than desirable place. By that I mean, unsafe.
It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized that it wasn’t the safest place to live.
I remember walking home from school one day with my older brother and hearing it happen just down the street from us. Pop, Pop, POP…POP…POP! That was all I heard when I saw several people begin to run inside their homes and shut their doors. My brother looked at me and told me to run. Then, he started running. I ran as fast as I could behind him as we cut through an alley (because, not cutting through that alley would’ve meant running kitty-corner to – and possibly through – open fire). We made it home. Safe. Thank God. I remember being in disbelief for awhile, shock I guess. It didn’t feel real. Being pissed about having to clean off an inch of fresh alley mud and gravel from the bottom of my white gym shoes did.
When I was a kid, in grammar school, it felt so different. It was different.
I remember candy and ice cream trucks stopping in the streets, the neighborhood kids playing outside and their parent’s organizing block parties when the weather was warm. Do people still do that, have block parties? It all felt good and safe, and neighborly. By the time I was in high school, the block parties stopped and hearing gun fire on days that weren’t July 4th wasn’t uncommon. I think I was too young – and shielded – to notice how, when the neighborhood changed. To actually see it as it happened.
It’s tough. Going back where I grew up and seeing house after building after house boarded up, abandoned. Many marked with the city of Chicago’s red X (Apparently the X’s are a sign for danger. For more info, listen to this podcast). This place used to be my home.
Have you ever gone back to your childhood home? How has the neighborhood changed? Have any fond memories?
Now, I’m a suburbanite who occasionally daydreams about living in the country.
In my dream, I have a little cottage type home with bright, glossy wooden panels everywhere, a tiny but efficient kitchen with copper pots hanging above the stove, and white quilts in the bedrooms. Sometimes I’m outside in the garden. It’s full of fresh herbs and tomatoes. Other times, I run a farm. When I picture this I’m reminded that I don’t like bugs and animals all that much and all the romanticism of a quiet living out on the vast open field gets crushed before I can imagine the next scene.
But, I don’t think I’d ever want to live in the city. Too many people. Too much noise. And, subway rats! As much as I prefer taking the train, I can’t stand the sight of them. But, it’s so hard to look away while you’re waiting on the platform and you see something down below, moving along the tracks. Lol If I lived in the city, I would never drive! So, I’d quickly learn to deal with that one.
Choosing to live in the suburbs, for me, was about finding the medium between the city and the (reclusive/3rd grade field trip/JCPenney) daydream. Away from the crowds, but not too far away. Just a nice, quiet place where I feel a sense of safety, peace, and homeyness. And, still have access to shopping and culture. I like it a lot, living in the suburbs. Still, sometimes I think about finding all of that in a different city/state, though I have no real reason to move (just an occasional desire for something different), and no idea where I’d go and fit best as a person I am. Suggestions? Lol
Chicago, overall is a big city and – like any place – has it’s good and it’s bad.
I hate how much the bad is emphasized on the news. “Chi-raq”. Pfft! Not cool.
I mean, who wants to come from a “bad place”?
As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t.
As I knew it, my childhood neighborhood was a good place that seemingly lost it’s sense of community.
The moment that begins to happen, what do you do (as a homeowner)?