Traveling is something that will do something strange to you. It will make you love what you “hate,” hate what you “love,” and open your eyes to how you truly feel about the place where it all began. Before this whole blog even was put up, I knew I would have to give homage to the place where I was born, raised, and educated (mostly). It’s a place that most people would skip over, pass by, or sometimes ignore. To me, however, it’s different, and I didn’t even notice how I really felt about it until I actually left its bound. So let’s begin where it ALL began, Strongsville Ohio. So important it got its own page!
Strongsville, Ohio. I could give you all of the nitty gritty deals, “founded in this year by this person blah blah blah…” but why don’t we give it a little more life than that shall we? After all, I have only seen it since 1990 when I was born, not 1818 (eh, why not give a tidbit fact). Strongsville is a unique place, not big enough to be considered part of the BIG city that it pretty much is, and not small enough (thankfully) to not be considered a small city. I guess it’s abnormality is a good thing though, considering that everyone inside the boarder is far from what is considered “normal.”
Ever since I was born I always would pretend that I lived downtown, and was always sort of disappointed with the fact that I WASN’T really surrounded by all of the tall buildings, loud noises, and pollution. In fact, I actually cursed my city many times thinking it was the most boring place on the face of planet. Basically what everyone says about their hometown. Strongsville can also be cold, wet, rainy, and then randomly blisteringly hot, which also drove everyone insane. It wasn’t until I left however, that I really and truly knew what it meant to be a Strongsvillian, and what the place actually meant to me.
It’s weird. When I went to college for my undergrad, I wasn’t even that far away only being in Akron, though as strange as it seemed and as much as I loved Akron, it just wasn’t the same. I always thought that the moment I left the place I would be so happy and so glad to be out of there, but I wasn’t. Nothing could compare to the quaint little place I liked to call home. Don’t get me wrong, I love Akron with all of my heart and I would never have a problem living there all the time, but it will never reach that level that the ville did for me.
To give you a little idea of what the place actually looks like, let me describe it for you. It’s your typical Midwestern town on the edge of a big city, in this case Cleveland. It’s one of the most quiet, but also busiest suburbs in northeast Ohio. It is a place that most people will pass by thinking “that’s a nice place to put our feet up!” The only problem is that after that, they usually never leave! It’s pretty much two streets that intersect each other, route 82 and 42, which ironically are the coordinates of the city itself. Next to the intersection of those two main roads sits the city courtyard which is surrounded by the water tower branded with Ziggy (I still don’t know why) and the massive clock tower that has been climbed so many times by daring teens that it’s unbelievable…for the fact it’s next to the police station, not for the fact that it’s tall. With that I pretty much described the entire town to you, besides the fact we have 14 baseball fields and 12 soccer fields since we really like sports. So you’re probably thinking. “what makes it so special then?” That is a question that I think can only be answered by seeing it for yourself.
In this world there are few cities where you can actually feel “at home,” and honestly I feel that Strongsville is one of those few places. It’s jam packed with mom and pop stores and restaurants that brazen all of the street corners, making it a place that seems almost devoid of corporate strangleholds, even though of course I worked at the ONE McDonalds actually in the city. While some of the people here can be off-putting since they for some reason they feel privileged from living in the one gated neighborhood, the majority of the people will make you feel right at home. Sure we have the places in the city, like the mall, that make it seem like every other suburb, it always seems to draw itself back to the humble abode it really is.
I could count numerous stories of all the times I went to the city fair, ate a lot of food then had to run into the police station because I got sick. Spending countless summer nights laying on the bench outside the 24-hour donut shop with my high school friends making memories that are just now starting to flashback before my eyes. Then there was the lighting of the Christmas tree ceremony every year that brought out all my neighbors into the brisk night on the courtyard to watch the mayor light our huge secular beacon. Or even all of the pickup sandlot baseball and football games that we used to play in the metro parks, which ran right though the middle of the city, with people who would just walk by and have a couple hours free.
Basically, and I didn’t even realize this until I explored more, Strongsville has everything anyone could ever want. It’s tucked right under a large city, it’s a small town feel while still having plenty to do, nice people, parks, and an atmosphere that some places could only dream to have. I hope after reading this you’ll pass by. It’s the place where I found who I was, discovered my dreams, and met people that I will love for a lifetime. It just amazed me how such a small town with a laid back, 1960s-eque feel could have such an impact on not only me, but everyone around me. If you’re ever in town, don’t hesitate to stop by and say hello. I promise we will greet you with open arms, and might even let you ride the mustang we have in the high school.
Even if you’re not from this town, it’s almost certain you’re going to hear “I feel like I’m stuck here,” but if that’s true, is it really a bad thing? If you can honestly say no, then what’s it matter? After all, you didn’t leave for a reason.