|Photo courtesy Sandusky Register|
This weekend I had the chance to go home. Back to my old stomping grounds. Just when I think I am fully settled in the rural farm land of Northwest Ohio I spend a little time back in the rolling hills and valleys of Akron and Summit County and realize my heart will always belong there.
I may have been raised in a house in the suburbs of Akron, but whenever someone asks me where I am from I proudly proclaim "Akron!" My grandparents lived there-the south side. Firestone Park. My parents were raised there. Nearly every weekend of my childhood and much of my summers were spent there. Every firework display of my youth was watched at the feet of Harvey S. Firestone. I learned how to ride a two-wheel bicycle in Heinz Hillcrest park. I sliced open my foot at the kid's carnival in Firestone Park one summer. Had to walk the three blocks back to grandma's house barefoot and bleeding. All pizza is measured by the giant yardstick known as Italo's. And any Akronite worth their salt can make the blimp noise without blinking when asked.
I realized how much I missed home while back this past weekend. My husband and I were grabbing coffee. Sitting there I heard snippets of conversations around us. Mundane conversations that didn't mean much, but to my ears were like music. "You need to get better tires soon, this is the snowbelt after all." "How is the spread today on our Browns?" (said by a group of men clutching Cleveland Browns coffee mugs) A group of older men speaking some Eastern European tongue. Another table with a couple fighting over sections of my beloved Akron Beacon Journal Sunday Edition. We don't even get the paper on home delivery here. But if we lived in Akron, we would. It is a fabulous local paper. Fabulous. And that group discussing tires-they were clutching boxes of new windshield wipers and one had on a Firestone jacket. So very Akron of them.
This all reminded me that earlier in the week, the blimp flew over my school. Right when school let out, the blimp floated over the buildings as students poured out the doors and onto buses and into cars. They walked, mouths agape, eyes skyward in wonderment. The adults on bus duty were in much the same pose as well. All you could really hear was that whrrrerrrerrrerrerrr of the blimp and the bus engines. To me, the sight and sound was so comforting and familiar and yet to these children it was foreign. This could have been an alien ship coming in to land. Oh, the magic of growing up in Akron where the Goodyear would float over your summertime dinners on a weekly basis, or your afternoon fort building business. You would hear the whrrerrerrerr before you saw it, crane your neck, wave wildly and then go about your business. After all, it was just the blimp.
Yes, I miss Akron. I miss my rubber city. I miss its pizza, its burgers, its deep winter snows, its fall colors, its rusty pride. I may have put down deep roots here in the plains of Northwest Ohio, but at my heart I will always be an Akron Girl.