Journal Prompt Week 4: Your Hometown

Good writing has a way of really capturing the feel of a place. Take Bruce Springsteen. A song like “Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” makes a town along the Jersey Shore (in the pre-MTV show days) seem magical and alive. Another song, “My City of Ruins,” paints a dire but hopeful picture of his hometown.

Links to the songs, if you’re curious (this is not the last time you will see Springsteen in this class, so get used to him):

“4th of July, Abury Park”:

“My City of Ruins”:

In Springsteen’s lyrics (just another form of writing), he uses a technique I’ll bet you all have learned in English classes before: showing and not telling. He doesn’t come right out and say, “This town is cool, you should come visit,” or “This town kinda sucks, you should never come here,” yet we know by the end of the song how he feels. He uses vivid description to get his point across. He uses simile and metaphor, he uses words with connotations (positive or negative, depending).

There are pretty much three ways to feel about your hometown: You love it, you hate it, or you have mixed feelings about it. In 200-300 words, I want you to do what Springsteen did: paint me a picture, in words, of your hometown that lets me know how you’re feeling about it. But don’t tell me you love it or you hate it: show me.

You can write about the buildings, the people, the places you used to go. Your parents’ house, your best friends’ house, the pizza place. The homeless guy on the corner who used to sing to himself. Anything’s fair game. Capture the feeling.


A lot of you are from nearby or similar towns. Keep in mind that two people can look at the same thing and see two entirely different things.




37 thoughts on “Journal Prompt Week 4: Your Hometown

  1. Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania to start with is a giant farm with a few mountains and the occasional city. Coopersburg is the kind of town that isn’t shown on Google Maps until you zoom in about 20 some times. It’s surrounded by small locally owned farms and fields, and the neighborhoods are small, but the houses range from decent sized to unnecessarily huge. The actual town of Coopersburg and the part of random countryside I live in that just happens to have the mailing address of Coopersburg are separated by a giant hill. In fact, the closest gas station to me is approximately 8 or 9 minutes away. Said gas station isn’t even in Coopersburg- it’s in Emmaus, the town where I went to high school. Everyone in Emmaus is walking distance from many places they would need to be, and the actual town of Coopersburg is the same way. However where I live, compared to others, I feel like I’m forever away from anything I would need. Closest grocery store? 10 minutes away. Closest restaurant? 10 minutes away, in the same shopping center. How long did it take me to get to school? 15 minutes. It’s almost impossible to get anywhere without a car, and I waste so much gas doing something as simple as driving to a friend’s house. I live in a neighborhood of predominantly older people (this makes sense because we bought our house from an elderly woman moving into a retirement community), so my closest friend’s house is 15 minutes away from me, through back roads and over a highway. Many people learn to drive in town; I learned to drive on windy back roads. Life in Coopersburg is pretty low key and I’m a going-out girl: good place for me to live? You tell me.

  2. A small suburb complete with the most diverse group of people anyone could imagine is a place I call home. It’s not full of rich or poor, it’s a mix of every class, which has shaped my life and helped me to define what reality is. Some days I would much rather be down at the Jersey Shore, but I’d definitely miss it if I moved away long term. The neighborhoods are filled with screaming, elated kids, older women chatting in groups and teenagers speeding down the street. There is never a dull moment and there is always something being built which means I never have to go very far if I want a smoothie, expensive dinner, outfit for the night or to see a movie! Most importantly, it never mattered if I woke up fifteen minutes before high school started because all I had to do was grab my sister, jump in the car and be there within five minutes. Or if I was having some kind of emergency I could be at one of my friends, aunts or grandparents house in just five minutes. Can you say convenient? But most importantly, home is a place where a very special boy has my heart. I would be a completely different person, had a medium sized town in central Jersey, not been my home.

    • The middle of nowhere. Geneva is 15 minutes from the city that I traveled to every day for school, work, and food. There is no easy, quick trip into town, it always has to be an event. I lived in a neighborhood with all trees and where I don’t know many of my neighbors. I lived in a medium sized house with one story that overlooked the acres of land that was cleared for my horses. I could look out at any given moment and see deer grazing on some of the weeds growing in the pastures. The house closest to mine is abandoned, letting nature take its course with unwanted growth. Also, my house is only 45 minutes from the beach. I could make a day trip out to the shore and relax with my friends any day I wanted. We’d all sit in the sand and bask in the sun on the public beach, periodically running into the majestic ocean when we got hot. We’d get our entire senior class to make day trips to the beach most Saturdays. Everyone would park their trucks next to each other in a line, some girls would tan in the truck beds while the boys would start a pickup football game. My home and its location shaped me in a unique way, I was never in the hustle and bustle of the city yet I was very close to it.

      -Christie Gleason

  3. Everything thing you could ever need is less than a mile away from you. There is a store at every corner, a restaurant down the block and school is maybe a little over a mile away. Your family members all live on the same block as you and most of you live basically in the same house just on different floors. Family is walking in and out constantly and the kids are running up and down the block playing sports in the street, racing down the side walk and same of the girls are sitting on the stoop talking about boys that walk by. Some of the adults are sitting in what we considered our back yard drinking tea or having a beer. There is not much nature but there is a park that has trees and is probably the only place you can see the sky without seeing a building at the same time. That park is where you met with friends or where your parents would tell you baby stories of you and a family friend. Down the street there is an entrance to the subway that can take you anywhere in the city to do whatever you want. There is a bus stop basically in front of your house that is running constantly. There are always people walking no matter what time of day or night it is. The lights from the stores are always lit up and light the way as you walk at night. When you go to sleep there is always a police siren in the distance making you feel safe and in danger at the same time. This is Brooklyn, New York; my home town.

  4. Walk outside anywhere in my home town and you will immediately feel the sea breeze and bask in the warmth of the Florida Sunshine. This is the perfect combination on a cloudless February day. Go long boarding to the beach with some friends and just chill. Stay till the sun sets because we have the most glorious sunsets you’ll see in the continental United States. The skies are painted pink, orange, and blue in such a way that not even Michelangelo could replicate. This is Naples, Florida, also known as my hometown.
    My best friend for my entire life had the best house; it was on a preserve and a golf course. It had a movie room and huge pool; this was the place to be anytime and with anyone. This was definitely a typical “Naples house,” and it was awesome. If we got bored there we could just drive on down to the ice cream shop at the corner or hit the movie theater with the huge leather reclining seats. You know the movie theater that brings you whatever you want during the movie, yeah that one. This town is the epitome of a tropical oasis. Palm trees line the streets like toddlers at Disney world. This place is beautiful and something out of a movie, but more than that, it is my home.

  5. Florida, the sunshine state. The ocean surrounds most of the state and clean, hot beaches border us from the clear blue Atlantic water, or the murky blue Gulf. I’m lucky enough to say that every day I got to see the sun rise over the water with the barrier islands turn into silhouettes in the morning. Any activity on the water imaginable could take place in my back yard, unless the waste management plant makes a few mistakes and pollutes the water to where it’s dangerous to swim. The City of Boynton Beach makes its mistakes, finds its corrupt money seeking city hall, and probably can’t prioritize right, but it’s still where I grew up. Developers have been trying for years to build big buildings, apartments mostly, and one built one that is visible from 3 miles inland to probably 5 miles offshore. Boynton is trying to turn itself into the neighboring higher class beach town called Delray Beach, however, my city just doesn’t meet the standards nor does it appeal to the right audience. If a person doesn’t live on the water or in a gated community, they live in Boynton’s lower class community which is about 70 percent of the city. All the cities south consider Boynton to be “ghetto” and rundown. Crime is high. My house has been robbed and attempted to be broken into several times, and there are places at night that people shouldn’t go. There have been murders in the Boynton Mall. Yeah the water is nice, but about 15 minutes away is one of the nicest cities I’ve ever been, Boca Raton. There’s not much to do in Boynton, so whenever I get the chance to go somewhere I do. Basically if I want to do something I leave town, but if I want to hang around it’s always nice to chill at home.

  6. Jacksonville, Florida.
    Spacious Land. Jacksonville is by far the biggest city in the United States land wise. There is a little of everything to do. There are the beaches, St. John’s River, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville Suns Baseball, Jacksonville Sharks Arena Football, University of North Florida, various malls, eateries, and much more. Jacksonville is such a big city that a car is a necessity. From one end of Jacksonville to the other, it could easily take one hour and that is not in rush hour traffic. The population of Jacksonville is over one million. There are so many diverse people continuously moving and hustling about. You see unfamiliar faces everywhere you go. You can never get to know everyone. With more than thirty high schools, the town never supports any school. A lack of community spirit is evident. The Jacksonville Jaguars can never fill the stadium. Big venues never come because crowds will not support them. Jacksonville has potential but it lacks support and money. Jacksonville’s city-funded programs are also slowing down. No more free swimming lessons or fun trips to the local parks. Crime is increasing and the various populations collide. People are scared to go to certain parts of town. Trash fills the highways and rivers. You can no longer swim in the St. John’s River without getting sick. Cleaning is a necessity for Jacksonville’s survival. Citizen support is needed. Even though Jacksonville is deteriorating, it has shaped me to be who I am now.

  7. A place where the morning sun always greets you with a warm embrace and a bright smile, my home town of Coral Springs was perfect almost year round. The typical rain storm would only last several hours and gave some escape from the humid heat for those that dreaded its constant vigor. Despite what others thought of the climate, there was one detail no one could deny as mystical. With the consistently rolling breeze from the coast and our location being so close to the beach, this was my city’s most sacred attribute. Try to visualize the sun rising over the horizon with bursts of vivid colors ranging from rose pink to cherry red and everything in between. Try to feel the sand soothing your feet, the sun toasting your skin, and the breeze flowing through your fingers. Try to hear the waves of the tide crashing into the coast, the sound of giddy children playing, and the birds singing as they find small fish to eat. All this was available as Coral Spring’s backyard, whenever family of friends visited it was tradition to spend at least one day at the beach. With the multitude of activities to partake in a day seems to fly by faster than a seagull in the wind. Then after a long day at the beach, it was time to eat. As you probably guessed South Florida’s cuisine has a strong Hispanic influence, but the immense cultural diversity we have also lead to restaurants opening with food from all over the world. If you have ever been to Disney’s Epcot then you understand the restaurant line up on University Drive that runs through the heart of the city. From Italian, Cuban, Jamaican, Guyanese, and Japanese whatever your appetite craves is available. That’s home.

  8. Classic Merritt Island, Florida: Some people would prefer to never return; some love it. Where the palm trees flirt with the wind and the bicycle wheels with the cement. The smell of saltwater that lures you to make the ten minute ride to the beach. You can’t forget on the way there to say hello to Helmet Head that asks for money on the one and only big intersection of this lovely town. As you are making your way to the beach, you pass the good Ole Merritt Square Mall. With its beach themed curb appeal, masses of cars, and cruise buses coming in….it’s the main social spot on the entire Island. It has the cutest coffee shops, restaurants, and nice department stores with that Merritt Island charm. Everyone seems to join together here. You always find yourself seeing someone you know and end up spending the whole day with them! You either see some of your classmates from the only high school there is around there or your close relatives. For some peace and serenity, this is my favorite aspect of the island: the view on the docks. A five minute walk from my family house on a lake, there is the most peaceful spot I have ever been to. When you sit out there you see the adorable mini islands that surround the town and the beautiful sunset view that relieves all stress and worries. So yeah, some people prefer to never return, but it’s the place I call home.

  9. Beautiful Miami. I walk out my front door to bright sunshine coming through the tall Palm trees that are landscaped perfectly along the street. Immediately I start to seat from the humidity and the heat all-together but its bearable in my comfortable tank top and bathing suit with flip flops. Miami Beach the famous tourist destination is only 25 minutes from my house. Walking down Ocean Drive knowing I live in this city is amazing. Smelling all the different foods and seeing all the different people from different places in the world all together in one city is amazing. No matter which way you look, another pretty girl will come walking by or driving by in her boyfriend’s new Ferrari. Wherever you seem to go someone approaches you and then gets mad that you don’t speak Spanish, but you just laugh because you don’t know what they are saying. If you have the chance of staying on the beach when it gets dark; your drive home will be rewarded by a beautiful lit up Miami skyline. You can see American Airlines Arena where the white hot Heat have brought back two consecutive championships to this glorious city. You see the light reflect off the water just to double the appearance of how beautiful my hometown is.

  10. Sarasota, Florida. The town that I lived in my entire childhood starting when I was 3 months old. I grew up in a once small retirement community. There were hospitals, retirement homes and golf courses on every street corner. When I got older more people started to move in and it became a middle sized city with over 300,000 people in the county. It is a pretty peaceful place except that Sarasota seemed like it was tied in with most national catastrophes like 9/11. President Bush was at Booker Elementary School when he learned that the World Trade Center had been bombed. The terrorists in 9/11 were trained in south Sarasota. However on the bright side Sarasota has the #1 beach in the United States in 2012. Siesta Key has sand that resembles flour. It is a sight and feeling that you won’t soon forget. Sarasota also has some of the largest houses in the world near midnight pass. For teenagers it is a very boring city because there are no clubs or anything to do for young people. In 2005 it was ranked the fastest growing city in the United States. In conclusion, Sarasota is the most beautiful, boring, laid-back, wealthy, elderly, relaxing places in all of Florida.

  11. Tampa, Florida. A seemingly wonderful place to those who feel they belong, with their designer handbags and expensive cars. To others, like me, it is a town filled with cookie cutter people, bad drivers and strip clubs. Tampa is known to have many titles, including the lighting capital of the world, the lap dance capital of the world, the place where old people go to retire, and my personal favorite, “Trampa.” I guess my town hasn’t impressed me very much, because I couldn’t wait to leave. Most of the weekends in Tampa revolved around house parties, that would get busted by police in the first half hour, and driving around aimlessly to try and find something else to do when the party gets shut down. Besides having my family and the beautiful home that I grew up in being located there, I’d say the only good things about Tampa was the nice beaches and the mall. Tampa is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in America, but thats about the only thing beautiful about my town. The main mall in Tampa, The International Plaza, is a really awesome mall with just about any store you’d ever dream of in it, though it largely consists of high end department stores or designers, because like I said, most of the people living in Tampa are rich and can afford it. Tampa is a little pod of people who are all exactly the same-rich, snobby and Southern- and they want to keep it that way.

  12. Finksburg, Maryland. I suppose that name kind of speaks for itself. Farms, wannabe rednecks and trucks are common sights in Finksburg. Fortunately, I did not have to spend my entire life in this hell hole. I moved to Finksburg in the middle of fifth grade. Previously, I had lived in the best town in America, West Chester, Pennsylvania. This was a town where everyone knew each other. Three of my best friends growing up lived within a five mile radius. I didn’t realize how much I took this for granted until I moved to Finksburg. Thankfully, I only had to spend three and a half years going to a school where nobody was like me. After that, I was privileged enough to attend Calvert Hall High School in Baltimore City. This was the greatest place on earth to me, besides being all guys. I had to drive forty minutes to and from school every day, but it was well worth it. Our school had the number one ranked baseball team on the entire east coast, which is what lured me to go there in the first place. I was privileged to play on the team all four years of high school. It was on that team that I met friends I will have for the rest of my life. In summary, I guess I wasn’t the biggest fan of my hometown. I viewed high school as my sort of “get away” and avoid going to public school with kids who drive their tractors to and from school.

    Louie Copley

    • I’ll agree that the name “Finksburg” speaks volumes. Maybe it’s just the way you’re phrasing things, but I would question the notion that “going to a school where nobody was like [you]” is always a bad thing. Did you gain anything from interacting with people from different backgrounds?

  13. Orlando. Home to the one and only Mickey Mouse. Tis quite a magical place to live. You can ride roller coasters like Space Mountain or Dueling Dragons whenever you want. As long as you can avoid crashing into all the international tourists who don’t know how to drive on the way there. Getting pictures in front of the castle and with characters is a must for instagram. If you don’t mind the 85% humidity air making you look like someone attacked your head. The sunny weather is perfect for tanning all day by the pool. Make sure you just get routine checkups (skin cancer is one of the most treatable forms if you catch it early). The night life is bumping down town with plenty of exciting bars and nightclubs. Just watch out for those creepy old men. I’ve heard they’ve been known to occasionally slip drugs into young girls’ drinks. With three different malls in a span of about 10 miles you can shop till you drop. Although you might literally drop at the Premium Outlets while carrying your many bags around the outside mall, but the Millennia Mall is always nice and cool. Nice and cool comes with a price though considering Millennia’s marked up prices at high-end boutiques. Pick your poison.

  14. Ocala, Florida…the “Horse Capitol of the World”….and yet i’ve never rode a horse. It’s impossible to drive anywhere, even a short trip to the closest store, without passing a field covered with horses spread amongst the rolling hills. The name of the high school i went to is Forest, named for the Ocala National Forest which covers most of Marion County and the surrounding counties. When I tell people where i’m from they assume i live out in the sticks with hundreds of thousands of acres of brush and spring-fed waterways all around me…but that’s false, kinda. Ocala is geographically in the middle of state, we’re not too far but not too close from just about everything that really attracts people to Florida. We have an hour drive to the Atlantic beaches and an hour to the Gulf, its just over an hour to get to the Disney parks in Orlando, about an hour and a half to go catch a Rays game in Tampa, and 45 minutes to the nasty orange and blue covered Gainesville. On half-days at school we would all hop in the trucks and head to the woods 10 minutes away and find ourselves jumping into the crystal clear river within an hour. Ocala has the best of both worlds, it has a strong community in the city where all businesses seem to somehow work together, and the beauty of nature all around us. Growing up in Ocala, It felt as if we were all one big family, i’ve found it is literally IMPOSSIBLE to go to Publix without seeing somebody you know. As much as people may look down on a small town in central florida, i got no complaints.

  15. Coral Springs, Florida. If only it sounded like its name. The name alone just sounds like a pleasant, serene place with amazing lakes. There are lakes, don’t get me wrong, but the water is murky and not to mention invested with alligators. The weather though out the year is never consistent. It is usually either scorching hot or unbearably humid. The part that gets to me is that there really is not a designated day for a single weather condition, throughout the day it changes from there being not a single cloud in the sky to the heavens opening up and releasing its fury for three days.
    Other than the weather, the town consists of a movie theater, a mall across the street from the ghetto, parks that close at ten o’clock at night, and an ice skating rink. The ice skating rink and the movie theater are normally filled with children in middle school, leaving no place for teenagers to socialize. There is no night life anywhere. Everything, except for taco bell, closes at eleven. So the streets are barren from dusk till dawn. The closest beach is twenty minutes away, which really isn’t that bad, but when there is finally a nice day everyone and their mothers is at the beach- making parking impossible. Ultimately Coral Springs, Florida is probably best intended for children under seventeen and their grandparents.

  16. My Miami
    When you look out of my window, you will see the amazing city that is Miami. The sun’s forever bright, burning rays bounce off the open water and back into the city. They shine onto the glass windows of the never ending forest of towering trees. They shine onto the tanned skin of beach goers and boat riders, shopaholics and workaholics, and partiers and clubbers. They shine onto the pale skin of the thousands of tourists who flock in during summertime and leave them with a stinging bright red complexion. From my window you can see the Magnificent Miami that they all come to see, buildings covering the flat land, cars speeding over the long bridges, and boats cruising underneath. The big city is never quiet. The beaches are crowded during the day and the clubs are packed at nights. That is the Miami you will see from my small window, but my Miami is very different. When I look out of my window I see a canal that I considered my swimming pool as a child. I see my friends and me swimming in it and playing chicken on the big yellow tube we had. When I look out of my window I see the two umbrella trees that held my epic tree house that my brothers and I built. I see us climbing up high and swinging down from the branches. When I look out of my window I see the grey paved sidewalk that I followed when I walked my dogs. I see myself making a trail of cheese cubes on the pavement so as to train my new yorkie puppy to walk with a leash. When I look out of my window I see my small, quiet neighborhood with all its familiar faces and memories. I see the place I grew up and the place I call home. That is what I see; that is my Miami.

  17. My whole life when asked where I’m from I’ve always replied with the same response, Orlando. Everyone knows Orlando. The truth is, however, that I’m actually from a small town right by Orlando. I grew up in Oviedo, which no one in the world has heard of unless of course you’re from there. Oviedo doesn’t have much to offer. In fact the town is famous for it’s chickens so that says a lot. The best thing that ever happened to that town was being home to UF quarterback Jeff Driskel. Everyone from Oviedo has at least once in their life complained about the town’s lack of excitement, but no one has ever left without missing it deeply. Oviedo is small, in a way that makes it feel like everyone in it is one big family. You can’t go anywhere without seeing someone you know. And any drama will be public within the same day it happened. Oviedo has two sides to it, houses in neighborhoods and houses on a bunch of land. I was one of the ones that resided back in the privacy of the woods. I shared 15 acres of land with all family. Every day cousins ran in out of my house. Every Sunday night my entire family gathered at my house for one large family dinner. Friday nights with my friends were usually spent with huge bonfires, four wheeling through the trails, boat rides on the lake, or fishing. My mom hardly passed up a single weekend without throwing a party in which a band and food truck were stationed in the backyard. Oviedo may not be a big exciting city, but it’s home.

  18. Andrew Miller

    I’m sure you’ve probably heard of the suburb of Sanford, Florida. It probably wasn’t for the right reasons, however. Yep, the little town lying on the outskirts of Orlando has received notoriety lately as “that town where Trayvon was shot.” Outsiders just have no idea. No, the town is not racist. No, there were not riots after the verdict. I’ve walked into that same 7/11 day after day and visited friends in that same Retreat at Twin Lakes apartment complex. I’ve been all around the city limits, spending time with people of all different races and backgrounds. I wouldn’t trade those diverse experiences for anything, either. The rest of the country has it all wrong, probably because they let the media do the storytelling. Let me tell you about the real Sanford, Florida. The town of serious historical value. The town where World Series MVP David Eckstein emerged from. The town where Jackie Robinson played a few games as a minor-leaguer. The town nicknamed the “Celery Capital” in the early 1900s. THAT is a more accurate representation of my hometown, not a headline on CNN coupled with an old picture of the late victim Trayvon Martin. The next time Sanford, Florida is tossed around in conversation, remember to think deeper than the tragedy that stained my beloved city for the wrong reason.

  19. Weston, Florida. This is where my parents and I moved to when I was a year and a half old. We settled into the small, homey vacation condo that my mom’s parents owned and called it our new home in the Land of Opportunity, hoping to be an example of the American Dream.
    The city wasn’t as big as its neighbor, Miami, but it was home. We would sometimes (not terribly often) go to the small Venezuelan restaurant, Cafe Canela, for some empanadas. I went to school kind of far away (in Davie), across the huge, scary highway that most of us know as I-75. Hebrew Day School was another home for me, where I not only got to learn, but I also got to make friends and have fun with them, too.
    Sometimes, we’d go to the local park. It was essentially a giant field of green, with a few charcoal grills and picnic tables scattered about. It was a giant playground that I truly loved, since I had so much more space to run around than in the small apartment in which we lived. It was my giant playground, and I always looked forward to visiting the park.
    Sawgrass Mills Mall was huge, but having gone there as a young girl, I knew the place like the back of my hand, like it was my home. It was like another giant playground, even though I had to have a lot more self-control there.
    Looking back, everything felt like home. That was where I spent half of my happy childhood. I can’t think about living in Weston without being overcome by nostalgia. I was only eight years old when we moved to Lake Mary, so the larger portion of my childhood was spent there, in the giant playground that we all call Weston.

    -Becky B.

  20. If you are awake any time after seven o’clock in the morning, you will see streams of light lay across your bed. You rise from you slumber, open the blinds, and your eyes are opened to palm trees brushing across the clear blue sky. You get ready for your day, step outside, and are drenched from head to toe by the time you walk to your car. Humidity consumes your whole body in one foul swoop. You crank the A/C in your car in an attempt to dry your dampened form. On every street, you can spot at least fifteen people walking to work. One is dressed in a 7-11 uniform, another is a teacher on the way to one of the five local public schools. They represent the United Nations. The cars around yours range from recalled Kias to the lowest end of Mercedes. Traffic is never an issue here.
    It is a weekend. After work, your options are: go see a movie, travel at least twenty minutes to another city, or stay home. You know the mall is not safe because of the several shootings and fights that occur there. During the day, you know just about anywhere is safe. Once the sun goes down, make sure you do not draw too much attention to yourself unless you want to be the victim of a crime.
    All in all, Boynton Beach is a south Florida city. The beach is fifteen minutes away, but residents of the city rarely visit. It’s a nice place to stay overnight after you pull off of a long trip on I-95. As in just about any city, you have to create your own fun with the people you love. It is not the place you live that makes good memories, it is you.

  21. Lauren Anthony
    Parkland, Florida. At first glance my hometown may look like the perfect little suburb in south Florida where everyone lives peacefully with their families. With the beach within fifteen minutes what could be better? Our high school built on part of the everglades and named after the famous Marjory Stoneman Douglas, yeah the one who tried to save the everglades, great thinking. If you ever come to visit don’t plan your vacation day around going to the beach because at 12:30 it’s hotter than Africa and the sun is shining and then 12:35 here comes Hurricane Katrina coming to ruin your day. This weather pattern is very convenient when our whole high school is outdoors and it pours every day right when the final bell rings to go home. It’s like the clouds know it’s time for us to leave but they release all of their water just to keep us there a little longer to suffer.
    If you’re looking for a good place to hang out with friends, good luck! Unless you want to go to the infamous “Walk” which is a strip of stores that used to be popular when I was in middle school. The rundown movie theater, the mall or a friend’s house are all the choices you have for a Saturday night out. Seven hours away, there isn’t much I would go back home for except my friends. Friends who make that city filled with “Parkland moms,” who wear juicy and carry their tiny dogs around in purses, worth coming back to.

  22. Fallston, Maryland. The town where many are one. The vast similarities in this suburb north of Baltimore kind of give it a feeling of Whoville. Everyone looks the same, acts the same, makes the same amount of money, but this wasn’t a bad thing. Moving to Fallston late would not have been that fun but growing up there lets you build the family type of relationship you have with your friends. The people of Fallston are great. All of them have almost the same job (Doctors, lawyers, vets, accountants, and engineers). But every person is super inviting to their children and their friends. The lack of diversity has its ups and downs but every place has something wrong with it. There’s about on main road in Fallston called Mountain Road. Sometimes we even parody the Jefferson Starship song and sing that “We built this city on Mountain Road”, it flows really well with rock and roll. One main road is all you need though, right? Makes getting places a whole lot easier. Our high school was a wonderful place, minus the architecture of the building. It had about 10 windows, had cheese graderesqe brick walls, and everything was painted neon orange on the inside. Picture a prison, but with happy kids, a wonderful teaching staff, and a sassy old five foot tall vice principle who went by the name Ms. T (She was possibly the funniest woman I have ever met in my life). Our sports were great, most state championships in Maryland, our academics were on point, and not too many people hated school. Is Fallston worth coming to, you might ask? Most likely not. Unless you grew up in this town you wouldn’t really understand the massive amounts of inside jokes and pranks we play on our friends every single day. But if you want to raise a family and start out new, I would tell you Fallston is the place to go.

  23. The only place I have ever lived in my life is located in sunny South Florida. I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, only about 45 minutes away from popping Miami nightlife and a long 7 hours away from Tallahassee. Whenever I mention I’m from. South Florida, I get two responses: “Oh my gosh me too!” Or “Wow you are so lucky.” I honestly am so blessed and lucky to have grown up only 2 minutes away from the gorgeous beaches Fort Lauderdale has to offer. Since Fort Lauderdale is a small city, I can easily say I know mostly everyone or atleast know of them. That could be a good thing or bad thing I guess, because word travels fast in South Florida. Since Fort Lauderdale is extremely touristy, we have our secret spots that only the locals know about. We have those restaurants, like any hometown, that only the locals know about and don’t wanna share with the snowbirds. South Florida is known for having the worst drivers ever, and that couldn’t be more accurate. During winter, we have so many tourists and snowbirds, which are elderly people from up north, come down. Fort Lauderdale then becomes so busy and overwhelming for the locals, which is me. I’m so happy I grew up in Fort Lauderdale because being so close to the beach and living on the water is a blessing. I have gone to great schools my whole life and met amazing people. My high school, Cardinal Gibbons, refers to FSU as “Gibbons North” because of the amount of South Florida people that attend here. But growing up in Fort Lauderdale has made me realized there is no other place that I’d rather raise my family. It is perfection.

  24. Sarasota, Florida.
    The place between beach getaway and artistic haven. Along Siesta Key Beach the area is alive with people complaining about how the snow-white sand is so small that it has found itself in all their bags. They complain, yet they love it. The sand is so uniquely finite and white that one cannot simply get mad at the small inconveniences. People everywhere are friendly and happy. The row of condos that line the beach are crammed full of tourist year round: people so excited to experience Florida.
    You drive a quick 10-15 minutes (If there is absolutely no traffic) to find the area around Marina Jacks dock. All the art on display draws many people to stare in admiration and confusion. The sculptures are world-renowned and are very expensive. They add to the historic beauty that Sarasota beholds. Walking out of Marina Jack’s exciting ball room to the park, that surrounds the marina, you immediately notice the giant statue of the WWII sailor kissing the nurse. An image made famous by the picture taken the day the war ended in 1945, the statue towers over the docks at close to 40 feet high.
    You walk farther into Sarasota, you first notice the beautiful designs of the architecture of old Sarasota such as: Sarasota High School’s old building. Erected in 1902, built with the classic marble and brick design that draws many to admire it. Since being declared no longer part of the High school, the Ringling College of Art has transformed it into a wonderful museum to house student’s artwork. Walk any farther and you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of variation in the area’s beauty from its numerous parks to its tropical look and feel.

  25. The Seven Eleven and Dunkin Donuts down the street fulfill my addiction to caffeine. My best friend is fifteen minutes away and the very expensive gas prices have me wondering why I don’t own a hybrid. Living only an hour and a half away from New York City makes room for endless weekend plans. Coming back from the City the next morning after an amazing night is routine, but the walk home from the train station is not pleasant at all. Every morning I look out the windows to a beautiful pond, surrounded by trees and ducks. Kids swinging on the playground every day after school, their faces imprinted with smiles. Summer goes by quick and the fall wind blows outside. The climate changes and the boring green trees change colors to vibrant oranges and reds. Not long after, the leafs are blown away covering the ground, leaving a picture perfect scene where its impossible not to fall in love. In the meantime the High School Rivalry continues, all the teenagers support either Bunnell High School or Stratford High School. The diversity is clearly seen at football games, making me wonder how we all came together in this strange town. The only time our town slows down is when there is no way out, as the streets become flooded with snow and our house heater never stops. My parents and I sit in our living room, watching the streets disappear under the white powder that we all have a love hate relationship with. Its one of those things I only enjoy watching or snowboarding on, its useless for anything else. As I put on my jacket to shovel my driveway I wonder why I’m stuck in such a cold place. Stratford, Connecticut; I’m not sure if I love it or hate it, but this Florida weather makes me forget all about it.

  26. My place of birth is where the street music and children’s laughter is what you wake up to and the police sirens sing you a lullaby. You hear gunshots before you hear school bells and the ice scream man don’t come around much. Beautiful palms trees, beautiful Florida weather, and beautiful people (on the outside). On the inside the people got a hole, maybe they got robbed, maybe they got jumped, or maybe they are doing the robbing and jumping and cant stand to look themselves in the mirror anymore. Beautiful Riviera Beach where the beach is clean and relaxing. The beach was about the only relaxing place that, and the recreation center. You probably would not think it’s so nice by looking at it but it kept kids off the streets. Riviera Beach is where you go when you want to see a McDonalds with bars on the drive through window. This is the place that’s right next to a police station but still has one of the highest crime rates in Palm Beach County. It’s a place when nice cars drive by all you hear is “click”. On a hot day you could probably find the “Candy Lady” selling ice pops and snow cones for cheap, and the little kids at the local swimming pool. Riviera Beach, its not quite, its not safe, but its home.

  27. The historic city of Richmond, Virginia. The place where I grew up and made some of my lifelong friendships. Growing up in the nice suburbs of Glen Allen right outside of Richmond couldn’t have been better. There was easy access to popular restaurants, a wide range of grocery stores, and places to hang out within ten minutes of my house. My neighborhood was considered the “rich” high school by our rival high schools. That never shook our area because we knew that every high school has rich students and that they were just jealous that we had the better sports teams. This area is definitely the best place to raise a family and is a very child friendly area. However, the city of Richmond itself is one of the most dangerous in the US. Luckily the suburbia I was lucky to call home was outside of the main city. Going there at night was a very risky decision. The old run down town had old buildings that needed renovation, it was very compact, and the streets were dimly lit. I miss the city even though it isn’t great. It was home and will forever be my vision of home. I couldn’t see myself living somewhere else and growing up to be who I am today.

  28. Small, quaint, and humble are words that come to mind when I think about home. Melbourne is my hometown. There are a decent amount of people that live there, but it’s not the most populated of towns. Everyone doesn’t know everyone, but we become great friends with our neighbors. People are genuine and care about one another. Strangers will pull over and help you if you are having car problems. The people from Melbourne are considerate of others around them. We hold doors for others, greet people properly, and we’re polite to one another. You don’t get that in most cities.
    Melbourne is a classy town. It’s not normal to see people dressed like bums walking around public places. People begging on the side of the street isn’t a very common thing to see either. Melbourne has more whole families than divorced ones. People say hello and start conversations when passing on the streets. The best part about Melbourne is that it’s not very far from city life. We get to live with the relaxing small town life and experience city life when we feel the need, but that’s rare because small and simple hometown life is so much better than city life.

    ~Kaitlyn Klingberg

  29. “Greenacres is the place to be,” to this day is what my dad sings to me. Living in the small town of greenacres/wellington florida has definitely left its mark on me over these past 4 years. My neighborhood is quiet, filled with older people. I can still see the old man riding his 3 wheeler patrolling the neighborhood and the grandmas and grandpas doing water aerobics in the pool. I can still feel the hot sun beating down on my back when I took my bike rides. I remember the hot summer days spent at the pool with friends. I remember walking over to publix during the day to get groceries for dinner. I remember my best friend picking me up and spending the day at the mall. And not some crappy mall like the ones here in Tallahassee, but the Wellington Mall. Where you could lose yourself for a day and probably all the money in your wallet. The same mall that my friends and I would get food at everyday before rehearsal. Where the manager at taco bell saw us so much that he started to give us the employee discount. Wellington, the home of my high school, where people drove their fancy mustangs and pick up trucks. Where people wore camo just for the hell of it, because they weren’t hunting at school. Where the girls had their lilly pulitzer backpacks and sperrys. Where I realized that I could care less about “fitting in.” Where I furthered my love of performing. Where I spent hours upon hours rehearsing with friends. Where I grew up.

  30. West Orange, New Jersey. No, its not like the show “Jersey Shore” and we aren’t all “guidos”. You can be on one side of town and see the biggest, monstrosity of a house then drive five minutes “down the hill” to see small, shacks boarded up. My town is anything but typical. Its where my parents met, its where my sister and I grew up, its home. My high school was the definition of a melting pot. You could meet people from any and every background. I was a minority and it was known. The fights that took place at my school were like something out of a television show, it was unreal. Being in class was almost a different world. Leaving the comical hallways to sit in some of the top ranked classes in the state. The school system is the main reason my parents never left West Orange. My town has a bad reputation because of our bordering towns. There is Roseland, Verona, and Livingston, which are pretty much your ideal “rich towns” and trust me, they know it. On the other hand you have Orange and East Orange where you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in at night, or almost ever. I had a typical friend group: a handful of guys and a handful of girls. We would attend football games, go out to parties, your average teenager’s life. My high school experience was mediocre. Nothing too special that every moment needed to be documented on camera. I lived a good life in West Orange, but it was time to get out of there.

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