15 Signs You Grew Up In Park Ridge, Illinois

15 Signs You Grew Up In Park Ridge, Illinois

This town made me who I am.
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I had the pleasure of spending my life from the ages of five to eighteen in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois. As with anywhere, there are drawbacks to living in Park Ridge. However, since I have moved to Indiana for college and my parents moved to New Buffalo, Michigan, I have been missing the suburbs. Here are things that everyone who grew up in Park Ridge will know to be true.


1. Every movie you see is at the Pickwick Theater.

When there is a movie theater right in Uptown Park Ridge with $6.00 matinee movies and $8.00 movies after 5 pm, it is no wonder that most middle and high schoolers spend part of their weekend there. Oh, and it is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

2. Your town has two Starbucks within a block.

The age old question when you are meeting your friends uptown: The big Starbucks or the little Starbucks? Do we really need two Starbucks? No. Is it convenient? Yes.

3. Summer starts when the pool at Centennial opens.

Even if this was before school ended, which it always was. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve spending time at the Centennial Pool and the park on hot, summer days. To be honest, I was kind of sad when they tore down the park to make Centennial a water park, but at least they have cool slides now.

4. But Centennial is cool in the winter too.

Giant sled hell? I think yes!

5. The Lincoln vs. Emerson rivalry was real.

You upheld the dignity of your middle school with pride (Yay Lincoln!!) even through high school.

6. You have enormous Hawk Pride.

Most of Park Ridge goes to Maine South. Being a Hawk is not only where you go to school, it's a lifestyle. I am in college now, but I still watched the Hawks win the 8A Football State Championship this year. GO HAWKS!

7. You learned how to ride the Blue Line at a young age.

Being close to Chicago is definitely awesome, and it is even better because of the Blue Line stop at Cumberland. You can get to the Loop in less than an hour!

8. You take pride in the fact that Hillary Clinton grew up in your town.

She didn't win the election, but she won the hearts of all of Park Ridge.

9. And Harrison Ford.

Can't forget Han Solo/Indiana Jones.

10. You're not used to much diversity.

Our town is 93% white and feels like a lot more, and everyone seems to be upper middle class. People in Park Ridge are very accepting people, though!

11. You scream whenever you see the car chase in "Blues Brothers".

You recognize the Nelson Funeral Home.

12. You went to the Park Ridge Park District day camps.

I went there for eight years, and I can honestly say it was one of the best parts of my summer.

13. One of your first jobs was probably working at the Park District.

Whether you were a camp counselor or a lifeguard, you definitely spent time working for the PRPD.

14. You hung out in the library.

The Young Adult Loft at the Park Ridge library was the coolest place to be in middle school.

15. You met some of your best friends in Park Ridge!

I love them all so much, and I will forever cherish our memories.


Thank you Park Ridge for making me who I am.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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