What do you love about your hometown? I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about the summertime that just fills me with an overwhelming sense of hometown pride. Obviously, there’s something incredibly magical about summers in the Midwest, which probably has something to do with my love; the weather is beautiful, so people spend more time outside enjoying life and everything their little corner of the world has to offer. We’ve talked about where we live before, but what about the very, very beginning? You know, where you came from…
But first, a mini history lesson is in order: Aside from corn and Cindy Crawford, my hometown of DeKalb, Illinois, is also home to Jacob Haish. Haish became an early inventor of barbed wire when he received a patent for his innovation in 1874. He would go on to leave his mark on this town through his many philanthropic endeavors, including being instrumental in establishing what is now Northern Illinois University (Go, Huskies!) and leaving $150,000 for the DeKalb Public Library.
So it was that very library that proved the perfect spot to unveil an official memorial marker in his honor. I went to the dedication ceremony last weekend, where I got up close and personal with my hometown in a way that was both inspiring and life-affirming. And remember my amazing friend Jessi? Well, she’s a Haish descendant and has been chronicling the family’s history on A Twist in History, which is the most detailed resource on the Jacob Haish story that I’ve ever read! She also helped unveil the marker!! See, I told you that she was pretty awesome, didn’t I?
Growing up, I didn’t really have a true appreciation for this place I came from. I wanted nothing more than to break free from these corn fields and the small town life I’d come to see as suffocating. It was boring and nothing even remotely exciting EVER happened here, I’d think, and I had huge dreams of moving to the Big Apple. But now? Things have changed and my perspective is certainly different than it used to be. Sure, maybe someday I’d like to move to a big city, but right now, in my hometown, there is absolutely no place I’d rather be.
Where we come from helps make us the people we become. It’s our compass and helps chart the course for the rest of our lives. So how can this place ever be something we come to hate? It feels like that would be hating a part of ourselves, you know?
I don’t know about you, but I’m viewing my hometown with more gratitude these days. For everything it’s given me over the years and for helping me through this journey we call life. In case you’re feeling particularly nostalgic right now, here are a few more hometown pride blog posts from years past…
Do you have hometown pride, friends? What do you love about the place you came from? What makes it so special? I’d love to hear all about it, so be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments! And, for fun…what cool things is your hometown known for? xoxo