Although I Spent Most Of My Time Trying To Get Out, My Hometown Was A Great Place To Grow Up

Although I Spent Most Of My Time Trying To Get Out, My Hometown Was A Great Place To Grow Up

It’s my favorite place in the world...well, at least when I’m not there.

Recently, list of the “Most Dangerous Cities in Illinois” was circulated on social media and my town was number 13 on the list, even ahead of bigger cities like Champaign and Decatur. What I don’t understand is how it ranked more dangerously than Chicago. This isn’t the first list of “bad cities.” I’ve seen it in “Worst Cities in the Midwest” and “List of Cities to Not Raise a Family.” So, I'm guessing this isn’t a contained opinion.

Although I spent most of my life trying to find a way out of town, I still love my home.

Hoopeston although isn’t the most photogenic small town in all the Midwest it’s still my home and no matter where I go, it will always be home to me. It’s where I grew up and where I’ll always feel safest.

I love that I can’t go somewhere without running into someone that I know, or my parents know.I really used to hate this, but now I really miss it, because at school I can go by myself shopping for hours and just not have to speak, like, at all. I’ll go the grocery store and some of the cashiers are people I grew up with and others are friends of my parents. When I’m home I’ll run into my elementary school teachers by the milk and friends from high school that I haven’t seen since they graduated. It’s nice to see people I know and know me and talk to someone.

I love the memories I have of home. I remember the Sweetcorn Festival and riding rides there for what felt like days with my little brother and eating too much cotton candy because I insisted that needed the big bag. I remember dance classes after school in the fall and my mom picking me up afterward and getting ice cream from Dairy Queen before it closed until spring. I remember memories of walking to the library almost every day to hide from my chores. I have so many of these its hard to pick my favorite ones.

I love my family and friends that still call it home. My mom was born and raised in that just outside of town on a farm and my dad’s family moved from Chicago when he was little for my Grandpa’s new teaching job at the high school. My dad’s mom is the only grandparent I have left. My father’s sister and her kids are the only relatives still in town, besides my parents and my little brother.

Hoopeston is where I try not to go back to too often, but I just miss it even though I love college and Normal. Home may not be the safest place in the world by the standards of someone who didn’t grow-up in my hometown but to me, it’s my favorite place (at least when I’m not there.)

(I couldn't find the original articles that I remember seeing the past few years, but here are few that I could find that all conatin my hometown (Hoopeston) as one of the top worst cities in Illinois: 150 Worst Illinois Cities to Call Home, The Worst Towns in Illinois, and 10 Worst Towns in Illinois.

Cover Image Credit: Carlos Martinez

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.


Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support


First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,


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