Growing Up In Schuylkill County

Growing Up In Schuylkill County

"Yo dere Bot"

With the recent events of high school graduations in the area and listening to the speeches about how it's the foundation we were made on, I've decided to do my own reminiscing about what it was like to grow up in the one-of-a-kind Schuylkill County. I was one of those people who always wanted to leave. I thought I hated it and that I would never get anything out of it. I thought it was nothing but stripping pits and bush parties. I remember on my graduation day there was no standing around for long after they handed me my diploma. I remember racing out of the football stadium and feeling freedom for the first time. I thought I finally made it. I moved away, but not too far away that home wasn't just a hop, skip and a jump over Mystic Mountain. When I came to college, I put myself out there. I got involved in plenty of activities and took on a few jobs to take up my time. I kept myself busy enough that I could use that as an excuse to never come home. In doing this, however, I surrounded myself with a lot of people who weren't from my area and were curious to know where I came from. It turns out that after one person catches you being from the Skook, everyone else picks up on it, too.

1. You have an accent.

Even if you think that you don't, you do. It's impossible to live in the area and not pick up on the dialect. The truth is, going down to the "s**t crick" sounds a lot better than going down to the "s**t creek".

2. You have an appreciation for high school football.

And you still have a hatred for the rival football team.

3. Your grandfather was a coal miner.

And you've heard every story about how your pap spent every day from dawn to dusk breathing in that coal dust. Gram stayed at home, cooked him dinner and raised the kids. The craziest part is somehow they survived and made a great life for themselves.

4. You say that you're "going over town" when you're leaving your house but not going far enough that it could be considered a trip.

Even though there's only technically one "town" in Pennsylvania (Bloomsburg), you still call every place that's not home a town.

5. You say that you're "going up the back" or "going up the bush" when referring to the woods.

Have you ever tried to explain a bush party to an outsider?

They have nothing to do with this guy.

6. You hung out at the Schuylkill Mall when you were a kid.

Every Friday night, when there wasn't a football game, you went to the mall to hang out with your friends (only if you were a cool kid). You spent your time in the arcade, the movies and Nirvanna's closet. It makes you sad going back there and seeing how much it's changed since then.

7. Sheetz is a regular hang out spot.

When it's two in the morning and you and your buddies have been driving around aimlessly for hours with nothing better to do, and someone gets hungry; you know where to go.

8. Olive Garden is fine dining.

You meet someone for the first time and you want to take them out on a date, and the nicest restaurant that comes to mind is Olive Garden, because you know that'll impress them.

9. Your neighbors keep farm animals, even though you live in town.

If you haven't experienced this yourself, you know someone who has.

10. You look forward to block parties.

Bleenies, babka, haluski, perogies and kielbasa. Not only do you know how to pronounce all of these things, you have eaten and enjoyed all of these things. Have fun standing in that bleenie line, though.

11. Everybody who graduate now goes to the same three colleges.

Kutztown University, Bloomsburg University and Susquehanna University–yes, I'm talking about them. We all decided that we were ready to move on and start a new chapter, so we just took all of our friends with us. There is something nice about being away at school and seeing familiar faces, though.

12. Everyone is connected somehow.

Someone gets arrested, dies or makes a name for themselves, and then all of a sudden someone you know is related to, has someone they knew who was related to, or knows someone who knew someone who was related to that person.

13. You take pride in being from the Skook.

Maybe not to the point that you get it tattooed on your body, but that feeling is still there.

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.

Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!


So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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