9 Signs You're From The Coal Region

9 Signs You're From The Coal Region

I miss where I came from and when I visit the nostalgia sweeps me off my feet, tugging at my heart because there really is no place like home.

No matter what city or town you are from in the coal region, there are several undeniable signs that you grew up there. You can leave and move near the city, like me or you can stay there your whole life. The coal region leaves its mark on you, whether you like it or not. You can never truly leave it behind and honestly, you wouldn't want to because it's a huge part of who you are. Here are 9 signs you grew up in the coal region of Pennsylvania:

1. You speak hick.

The accent. It's one of the many tell tales signs you are from the coal region. When you move away, you try to lose your accent but sometimes, when you are relaxed and comfortable, it slips out. Ya'll feel what I mean?

Another part of it is actually understanding what people mean. It's like a whole new language because others look at you like you're crazy when you reply back to the hick speak. It's hard to describe but it follows you around, like a ghost of your past.

2. Knoebels was the shit.

If you were never at Knoebels, fix yourself. It's one of the best places ever. Every year, my family would rent a cabin at the theme park and we would stay for a weekend full of fun. Some of my best memories are from Knoebels, though I still refuse to go in the haunted house.

Knobels was fun and everyone went there for family trips and even reunions. Maybe this summer, I'll go back and enjoy the swimming pools with rope mazes. Of course I'll go on Twister, the wooden roller coaster that scares you to death because you're sure you're going to die when it breaks. But you go on anyways! May the odds be in your favor!

3. If you didn't have a license you were stuck at home all weekend.

If you were one of those sad kids that never got their license then good luck having a social life. If you did have a license you had to beg your mom to let her drive your car.

"Moooooooom, please! I have to go to Jess's house for our 'project'!"

The worst thing about living in the coal region is that Walmart was a thirty minute drive away and there was literally no fun things to do. Two shitty bowling alley's: one you had to keep track of your own score (Who even does that?) and the other was shady AF. You had the movie theatre but you were poor and used all your allowance on books. Oh, wait. Was that just me? *shrugs*

4. There are huge coal quarries, literally in the middle of everywhere.

You're driving up 940, enjoying the scenery when all of a sudden there is huge coal quarries. They were always working to fill them or there were just random machines sitting there. You could count the times you saw them on with just one hand. The one's by Stockton mountain, you had to guess if to was actually moving or if you were jus seeing things. I still don't know which it was.

5. Sorrento's was the place to eat.

Sorrento's wasn't even that good but you went there all the time for the pizza. It was cheap and didn't taste terrible. There was their competition, Garlic Knot, that you went to for fancier occasions, like when you didn't want to see bugs and dirt on the floor. Sorrento's was kinda shady and you definitely didn't touch any white powder but the food was good and it was fun to hang with your friends at.

My preference was Garden Chen, the Chinese place. Their shit was poppin'. It still makes my mouth water. I miss it so much but found Chinese near me that does the job!

6. The Laurel Mall was the Friday night hangout place.

If you weren't at the movies then you were at the Laurel Mall. You wouldn't buy anything or have any real money but you would walk around that mall for hours, surrounded by the drama that was going around about who was dating who and why. The mall was the cool kids hangout every Friday, to be someone you had to be there.

7. You get a special day off when hunting season starts.

I'm not sure if hick land still does this but for the first day of deer season we had off and all the murders in training would go shoot things. I would pray to hear that they missed their target and when I found out they didn't I knew they would have their heads stuffed and hung on the wall. You can't walk for more than two feet without running into a house that has tons of dead animals stuck on the walls. It's disturbing.

8. It's Duck Dynasty, but like worse.

Duck Dynasty is such a huge thing where I'm from. Hicks attract to hicks? Maybe. It's racist and stupid but it relates back to just how the coal region is. Like the characters, people exhibit some really weird behavior around home. Unsweetened tea is a huge staple, just like in Duck Dynasty. Almost everyone voted for Trump because poverty is a real thing and most people up there are close minded and uninformed. You have hope though because there are teachers out there to teach the kids to dislike a racist, homophobic, and xenophobic leader. Just don't talk politics with anyone over thirty wearing camouflage. You'll just hear, "Make America Great Again!" being yelled at you.

9. You're proud about where you came from!

You make jokes about the drugs and the accent but you know you are proud of where you came from because all these things shaped you to be who you are. The people, the hicks, the community, the schools, everything contributed to you becoming who you are today. I'll admit, I booked it the second I got but only because growing up there showed me I wanted more from life. I wanted to find my own home where my kids can one day write an article about how their hometown shaped them.

Once a White Havian, Hazeltonian, or Freak Lander, always a White Havian, Hazeltonian, or Freak Lander! I'm proud that I was raised in the coal region and you should be too!

I miss where I came from and when I visit the nostalgia sweeps me off my feet, tugging at my heart because there really is no place like home.

Cover Image Credit: blogs.ft.com

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No, Your Political Views Aren't Always Wrong, They Just Aren't Always Right

"No one is as deaf as the man who will not listen." - Proverb

Violence. It is inevitable. Whether it is verbal or it is physical, it is happening around the world every day and it is a very sensitive subject. Something absolutely devastating happens and all of the sudden politicians are being questioned and those who aren't politicians, but think that they are, are now ranting on Facebook swearing up and down the walls that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

After the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, I was at a loss for words. For an incident this serious to happen in what felt like my backyard was absolutely terrifying. To live in a world where this happened was absolutely terrifying. As families and friends of victims and survivors grieved on social media and on TV, people took no breath in expressing their feelings about the incident. From angry messages about the LGTBQ community and to the complete opposite side where those mourned for the LGBTQ community, arguments were all over Facebook. Opinions were all over Facebook, as they always are.

With the recent Las Vegas shooting the same thing was seen on social media as some felt strongly about the mental health of Americans and others cared deeply about those who were killed and what was going to happen next. Social media is home to many different political views as well as social views and the biggest issue, in my opinion, is that no one allows the opportunity for someone else to speak their mind.

Most importantly in my life right now, as well as the lives of many who surround me, is the Parkland shooting. This was absolutely horrifying, to say the least. It showed how unfair life was and how screwed up people can be.

Unfortunately, I have found on social media as well as on TV that people have lost sight of what truly matters right now as they are too worried arguing about their political views and making the statement that only their thoughts are correct.

Being a very open-minded person, I have read through hundreds of comments and watched my fair share of videos. I have heard Republicans and Democrats speak on the matter on gun control, gun safety, and guns in school.

Yes, I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe it is a right to carry a gun with the appropriate training and paperwork. Yes, I also believe that it has become way too easy to obtain such a powerful weapon.

Lastly, I believe that it is not the ease of buying guns or the Second Amendment itself that is leading to these terrifying events. It's the people of the United States and the way that they are raised today.

As Governor Matt Bevin said when he was younger, kids brought guns to school on a day to day basis and even more around the holidays to show off their new presents. People simply did not think about killing people. People were not terrified for their lives when they went to school or to a country concert.

Yes, you're allowed to have your own political opinions.

Yes, you can plaster your views and arguments all over Facebook and other social media platforms.

But stop and take a second to think about others views as well. Think about simpler times when your life didn't revolve around a video game or your cell phone or the latest violent movie that just came out.

When things were "simpler," there were not constant shootings at schools and out in public places.

Guns are not the problem. Do not be ignorant.

Realize that you can have your views but they may not always be right.

Cover Image Credit: Alex Radelich

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Let's Take The Politics Out Of School Shootings

So, please do not use school shootings as a reason to get in a Facebook fight.

The American dream is to send our beloved children off to school where they can flourish and learn. On the other hand, an important aspect of the American dream is the second amendment.

How shall we move forward so these two aspects of the American dream can coexist?

The answer to that question will not be discovered in my lifetime (or maybe ever). There is no way to save an entire country from horrific events like ones we have seen too many times. So, let’s stop focusing on which is the “correct” way to handle the situation and look at the broader perspective.

This week, social media is flooded with a variety of political opinions after the Florida school shooting that I would rather not explore. I am sure everyone is familiar with the different opinions that unveil after a mass shooting.

Unfortunately, we are too familiar with them.

I am a senior in high school who is hardly involved with politics. Putting political beliefs aside, I focus on the victims’ faces and names. I focus on their families. I focus on a school that will never feel the same.

The kids who passed were not thinking about politics during this tragedy. Rather, they were wondering if they would make it out of a place they considered safe, alive.

This issue is much bigger than a political debate. It is about hate in our world, a lack of love and a disconnect between ourselves and others. It’s not about guns. It’s not about mental illness. It’s about much more.

Rather than pointing the finger, we can all equally share the blame.

When social media turns an issue into a political debate, it’s easy to forget that children aren’t thinking about politics when they see their teacher, coach or friend pass away in front of their eyes.

So please, do us all a favor and don’t use children's dead bodies as a reason to get into a heated Facebook fight. That only spreads the hate. It is counterproductive. Rather than plotting against each other, we need to band together.

Cover Image Credit: Pixbay

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