10 Painfully Accurate Truths About Growing Up In Southern Illinois
Politics and Activism

10 Painfully Accurate Truths About Growing Up In Southern Illinois

It's not exactly a vacation destination, but it's home.

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If you grew up in Southern Illinois (aka The Other Side of St. Louis), you’ve probably witnessed this type of conversation more times than you can count:

Person: “So, where did you say you’re from?”

You: “Southern Illinois.”

Person: “Oh! I know where that is! What town do you live in? I’ve probably heard of it.”

You: “*names country bumpkin village unknown to the rest of civilization*, Illinois.”

Person: “Oh...cool?”

1.You probably live in the country or at least extremely close to a rural area.

Don’t get me wrong, the country can be an inimitable getaway for anyone who desires to escape their daily activities to gaze into a crimson glazed sunset. On the other hand, however, it can be boring and impressive when brought up in casual conversation with peers. Besides Edwardsville and Belleville, most towns in Illinois east of the Mississippi are small and primarily agrarian. Once you start seeing cornfields and billboards advertising seed companies, you know you’ve reached home.

2. Everyone seems to be related somehow.

Many moons ago, certain families decided to settle in this area. It was accessible to St. Louis but just far enough away to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city. Well, here’s the issue—descendants of those families still live here, and they typically find great pleasure in making this known to others and closing themselves off from people who don’t bear their same lineage. If you’re not from this area, don’t take offense to this behavior. Simply, listen to people who were transplanted to the area. We know exactly how that game works.

3. Being able to drive to St. Louis by yourself is a huge privilege.

You’d think growing up on country roads and beginning drive lessons on John Deere tractors at age four would make “country folk” more adept to handling themselves on major highways. False. In fact, people from the country are intimated by the sometimes violent encounters initiated on highways by city slickers.

4. When people ask what there is to do around your house, you give them a blank, lifeless stare.

Umm, well, there’s like a bowling alley down the road. Here’s the thing though—usually not all the lanes are operating correctly, and it’s just a bunch of drunk old men getting their weekly satisfaction after a long work day. Still want to go?

5.You knew almost everyone in your high school graduating class.

There’s not much more to say besides the fact that it was just too small. Everyone knew things about each other, whether good or bad, and it was unhealthy for all involved. Thank the Lord for college.

6.You were low-key sheltered in high school, so college has been the culture shock that you’ve craved all along.

You thought people only did crazy stuff in movies till you went to college. Sure, the same stuff happened in your area, but it was kept on the down low to avoid negative publicity and conflicts.

7.People from St. Louis act like you live in another country.

“I think I drove through there on my way to Indiana once.” –A typical quote from a St. Louis native

8.People from Chicago think where you live is a barren wasteland, and they don’t necessarily consider it a part of Illinois.

Most of the time, people who hail from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs believe that Southern Illinois means Peoria or Champaign-Urbana. When I tell them even further south, they then ask if I live near Springfield. When I tell them even more south than that, they look at me as if there are no places in Illinois past the capitol.

9.Everyone at college wants to come see where you live because they don’t believe that a place could be so boring

.

Common questions I receive: “Are there really like only around 4,000 people in your town?” “How far away does your closest neighbor live?” Come on, we aren’t that uncivilized.

10. You want to leave when you’re here, but you miss it when you’re gone.

I honestly never thought I’d miss my hometown, but sometimes I sit in my micro dorm room and think about how nice it is that I can go in to town when I’m home and see a few people I know, or I can have a bunch of people over and get loud without any worry of receiving noise complaints. Yes, there are pros and cons to growing up in such a forgotten part of America. In general, Southern Illinois can be a place that you both love and hate depending on the day of the week.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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