I grew up in a town where you couldn't drive down Route 5 without passing somebody you knew. I grew up going roller skating on Friday nights and instead of skating, we sat on the fuzzy barriers between the concession stand and the benches. You couldn't understand the thick layers of grime that coated every inch of this place. But we returned. Friday night after Friday night we came back, to drink Monsters and eat room temperature chicken fingers.
I grew up in a town where the beach wasn't a photo in a summer issue of a Better Home and Garden magazine. It was our back yard. And after laying in the hot sun for hours and hours, we could walk up the road and cool off with a milkshake and a hot dog from Connor's. We could absorb the sun and then drive back to our houses, windows rolled down, with our sticky, sweaty hair matted to the back of our necks. Then after the sun disappeared behind the water, we headed back to the beach, to set bon-fires along the warm sand and huddle around them in our sweaters.
I grew up in a town where the snow could consume you after December reared its head to us. We would look both ways for suspicious teachers before running out of the school during lunch to get a quick coffee from what seemed like our own personal Tim Hortons. Trudging through the heavy snow to our cars. Laughing and shaking and using notebooks to scrape the ice off of the windshield because half of us hadn't brought ice scrapers. Getting stuck behind one another in that awful parking lot, then driving home blindly.
I grew up in Angola. Where we were family, and friends, and neighbors. This summer, I returned to those neighbors, for a period of time that made me feel like I had never left in the first place. I fell back in love with the beaches and the faces and the streets. I believe its important to remember where you came from, especially when another year of college is right around the corner. I know I have more places to go, and more people to meet, but I will never forget where my roots are. And I'll never forget that this town will always, always, be my home.