Home Sweet Home: A Simple Way To Explain Where You Live, Just Cuz

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A rambling introduction then a simple question…

A friend and I were talking about where we each live now and how unexpected it’s been for us to find ourselves where we are.  In college we could never have imagined this.

She lives in an older home built in the ’40s in an affluent part of town in a community with a vibe that suggests social status.  It’s a desirable address, near a country club and fancy hospital and an upscale local grocery that’s all the rage.

Posh is the word for it.

I live in a 20 year old home in a quirky suburb with a bit of regional history that until a few years ago was considered to be the sticks by the people who live in affluent parts of town.  It’s an address that suggests good schools and unique local restaurants and outdoor activities.

Relaxed is the word for it.

To be clear, neither of us gives a flying fig through a donut hole about where the other one lives;  we’re not hung up on only befriending people who live exactly like we do.  Call us non-judgmental, I suppose.

Friendly, even.

No, the crux of our conversation was about how she’s ended up as an adult living close to where she grew up as a child while I’ve ended up as an adult living somewhere I knew nothing about as a child.

Without belaboring the point by getting pedantic with sociological terminology and geographic nuances, this is a simple | interesting | harmless way to divide people into two categories based on their subjective responses to the following question:

Do you consider where you live now to be your childhood hometown/region OR do you consider where you live now to be somewhere new you moved to along the way?

Discuss.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Charmingly cynical. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Fond of words.

142 thoughts on “Home Sweet Home: A Simple Way To Explain Where You Live, Just Cuz”

  1. I grew up in the New Jersey suburbs…. an upscale bedroom community for NYC. The country club, ladies who lunch crowd. Now? I live rural in the wilds of Maine. About as far …. not to mention alien…. from where I started as you can get. Life is a funny old thing.
    😉

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  2. I’m a transplant. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee. The contrast couldn’t have been greater between that and living in Queens and on Long Island. We’re in the mountains of North Carolina now. Every place was home while we were there.

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    1. Anne, you went a far piece away from where you started. Talk about adapting along the way. I agree, home is where you make it no matter how far away you roam away from your hometown.

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        1. Oh I do hope you write about it. Your experiences would be fun to read about. Especially through the prism of time. What was important to you then, what is important to you now.

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  3. I am definitely off the beaten path from where I grew up as a child – both geographically and socioeconomically.

    My husband and I grew up in different parts of the country but we both came from the bottom end of the ladder. You would think that our relationship with money would be the same, but it’s not.

    Many years ago when our children were still quite young, we made the deliberate decision to live modestly in our material possessions but live big in our life experiences.

    Most of the time I don’t regret the decision 😉

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    1. Joanne, I’m the same way in that I live far away from where I grew up. I know what you mean about how life is different both geographically and socioeconomically as an adult than it was as a child. I like your conscious approach to how you’ve decided to live and that for the most part you’re good with it. Can’t ask for much more than that, can you?

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  4. That’s a thought provoking question. Though, technically, I now live only 20 miles away from where I grew up, it’s an entirely different experience. I grew up in a middle class, homogeneous suburb, and now I live in one of the biggest cities in the world with more diversity than most know….so…geographically similar, in all other respects different

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    1. LA, begging the question, eh? I love it. It’s difficult to decide the answer to this question when your life circumstances have changed dramatically, but the geography is similar. Is it your hometown or not? [Friend had this same conundrum.]

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      1. Though..on a slightly different note, as my daughter and her friends have gone off to college, they will meet kids who say they grew up in nyc..most of the time, these kids grew up in the suburbs…so what does that say?

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        1. LA, I’ve heard people say that, too. They make no distinction about the difference between urban and suburban living, focusing on the geography of the region and the name that goes with it. I can understand that. A generic answer is easy.

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          1. Except it sort of annoys the city kids who are like..did you take a subway to school, or did you have to take tests at ten that determined the rest of your academic career? So they don’t like it…which is where New Yorkers get a bad rep…

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  5. After both growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Derek and I jokingly say we now live in “the land of Bubba.” For now, it’s home, but it’s not where either of us want to live permanently.

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  6. We may be in the same State, but we are nowhere close to how I grew up. I am grateful that we have been able to live the American Dream and make a better life for ourselves. Thanks, Ally Bean, for not letting me screw it up.

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    1. Zen-Den, well aren’t you sweet! I think we’ve done well because we both realized we had to leave our hometowns and go elsewhere. This place is different from where we each started but I’ve come to like it.

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  7. At this moment I am the next semi-rural community over from where I grew up. Pre-divorce I was in my home town all my life with the exception of a brief few months 10 miles away.
    Never will I go any nearer a city, but I do have dreams of a beach home, somewhere on the Atlantic coast. I’m pretty sure those will simply remain dreams.

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    1. Deb, you’ve nailed part of the issue with this question. Some people would say that being so close geographically to where you grew up means that you’re living in your hometown as an adult. While other people would say that your address is in another city so you don’t live in your home town. As for a beach home, when you get it I do hope you’ll be inviting some friends to visit you! 😎

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  8. It’s an interesting question because ‘home town’ is a phrase I never use, and never think of. I was born and raised in a medium-sized Iowa town, and I carry a lot of those Iowa/family values with me, and cherish the memories I have of the state, but I’m more likely to say I’m ‘from Iowa.’ Once I left, I moved so often and lived in so many places — Houston, Liberia, Berkeley, Salt Lake City, Houston, rural Texas, the Galveston area — none became a ‘home town’ in any traditional sense.

    But, at the risk of running on, there’s something else. Any place I am becomes ‘home’ to me. If I’m staying at a motel for a night, and I leave dinner companions to go back to my room, I’ll sometimes say, “Well, I’m going home for the night.” I don’t think a thing about it. I guess any spot I am becomes home for me, town or not.

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    1. shoreacres, the word ‘hometown’ is defined in many different ways and therein, in reference to this question, the difficulties start. I don’t consider where I live now to be my hometown, as in from my childhood, but I consider where I live now to be home. I’m parsing the words here. I can see how for someone like you who has lived in varied places the word becomes less meaningful.

      You raise a good point in that the phrase ‘going home’ is something we say that has a meaning in one moment that would be different in another moment. Context is everything when it comes to language.

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  9. I grew up blue-collar. Once I turned 20, married, I “flew the coop” and lived in assortment of settings – urban and rural. Now I live as far away as I could have ever imagined – and that’s the point – I never saw myself living here. And when it was suggested a decade ago that we do live here, I adamantly refused. It’s not blue collar, it’s rust colour – a forlorn mining town that has seen better days. But I love it.

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    1. Maggie, your bottom line about where you live now resonates with me. I understand, despite the rust color, how what you imagined a decade ago isn’t what you find now. I never, ever imagined myself living here in a suburb and DID. NOT. WANT. to move here. However now it’s all good, clearly not my hometown, but my home.

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  10. I grew up in a 100 year old farmhouse on the outskirts of town. Since then I lived in apartments, townhouses, suburban ranch homes, a 200 year old stone house…currently I live in an old federal building – a former post office, right downtown in my little village (now part of a city combined of this and 2 other distinct communities – the same geographic area I grew up in). Soon I’ll be moving as far west as one can go and still remain on Canadian soil. I have no desire to return to suburban living but have no idea where I’ll land, at this point. And that’s OK with me. I’m old enough and have done enough to know wherever I end up, I can make it into a cozy welcoming home for myself and others. But I will be looking eventually for an abode with a certain quirk factor. I like that as opposed to cookie-cutter.

    Deb

    Deb

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    1. Deb, I spent my early childhood in an apartment above my father’s doctor office and part of that building was 100 years old. Like you I’ve lived in all sorts of different styles of buildings in urban and suburban settings, but I only think of the town in which I grew up in as my hometown.

      I’ve no doubt that you’ll thrive when you move west and that you’ll find a place to live that you’ll be able to quirk out. I get that, oh yes I do. I may be in suburbia but there’s nothing cookie cutter about this area– or our home.

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  11. At my stage, manageable size is way more important than status. I’m glad to have given up the tri-level with a corner lot and 18 oak trees – stairs to climb, and millions of leaves to rake.

    Our lot is smaller now and each of us has given up 1/3 of our STUFF to live here. Like you, I don’t give “a flying fig through a donut hole about where the other one lives.” Yesterday we had breakfast with a couple our age who have lived in a home for over 30 years. I don’t envy the downsizing they’re dreading. Been there, done that!

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    1. Marian, I understand the concept of manageable. You had a house and lot that needed to be tended, so I can imagine how lovely it is to be living like you are now. Smart of you to move when you did, before you had to that is. Choosing to leave is much different than being forced to leave a house.

      I’ve never understood why some people are so uptight about only socializing with people who live just like they do. Where’s the fun + curiosity in that? Still, I encounter people who want to judge how other people live and are reluctant to engage with people who live the *wrong* way. A story as old as time, I suspect.

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  12. I live in a suburb of Chicago. Chicago is my “hometown” because I was born there and grew up there. So though I have lived where I live for many years, I still consider it a “new” place, because the lifestyle (small town) is different.

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    1. L. Marie, that makes sense to me. I can see how you can easily make that distinction between the two locations. My friend whose story is similar to yours came to the opposite conclusion, choosing to say that she lives in her hometown even though she’s now technically in a different, but nearby, town than the one she grew up in.

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  13. I’ve only had two addresses in my life. I grew up in the industrial part of town,literally across the street from a major chemical manufacturing plant… and within sight of a steel mill which is my town’s bread and butter. After getting a late start on leaving the nest, so to say, I’ve spent the last 11 years in a nicer, but still quite humble home on the outskirts of the same town. Call me unadventurous, but I’d never want to have to learn my way around a new area. I like familiarity…

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    1. evilsquirrel13, only 2 addresses, eh? I cannot imagine that kind of stability, consistency– or I guess, luxury. It strikes me as a rarity in our world to be able to not move for college or work, but you’ve done it my friend. Good job nesting in your hometown.

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  14. Somewhere new I moved to along the way. My dad was an insulator and I went to thirty odd school growing up – I happened to end up in one of the states I hadn’t lived in previously.

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  15. Ally, what an interesting conversation for you and your friend! 😀 You have touched a topic that intrigues many and it’s been fascinating to read the comments. At university my three friends and I had all moved to study there but then they all moved back to their home town and stayed in the area! Since then I’ve moved about quite a lot and now live in an area of the UK I knew nothing about but which I’m happy to call home!😀

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    1. Annika, I kind of thought that this topic might get people talking. It got my friend and I thinking. Many people move away to college then go back to their hometowns. I didn’t do that, but my parents did. I’ve moved some as an adult and like you I’m happy to be home where I am now. However I’ll never call this town my hometown. It’s all about semantics, I suppose.

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  16. Huh. Good question. I moved around a lot as a child, but within the same general area. I consider Washington D.C. and its surroundings to be my hometown.

    But the house and area I live in now? It’s the longest that I’ve lived anywhere. Plus, my state is diverse and was the first to pave the way in so many progressive ways: banning smoking in restaurants, catalytic converters, higher environmental standards, higher minimum wages, etc. So I’m proud to be from California and I definitely consider it “my” state.

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    1. AutumnAshbough, I take your meaning about a region being your childhood hometown. That makes sense to me, instead of getting caught up on each specific town name you lived in along the way.

      I hadn’t thought of how we all identify ourselves by the states in which we live. In some ways that’s more significant than the actual towns we lived in as a child or live in now. Like you this is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in the sense of a town, but I’m a lifelong Ohioan. Can’t seem to escape this place!

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  17. I quote Indigo Girls: Everywhere I’ve been has felt wrong to me. Looking for the home outside that “fits” (inside home, as in psychologically speaking, I’m doing all right). To draft your conversation wind, though, I never thought about where I’d be geographically when I was in college, so I ended up a few hours from the home I grew up in, then about an hour from that. Looking into new digs. If and when I land somewhere I call home, truly, I’ll update accordingly.

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    1. Tara, I imagine that for some of us moving away from our childhood hometowns was a given. Although like you I’m not sure I realized that when I first went away to college. The answer to this question is remarkably subjective which makes it a fun topic of conversation, but it also reminds me how differently people define the term ‘hometown.’ And how fussy they can be about it.

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  18. I’ve lived in 7 houses but all within a 5 mile radius. When I was growing up we lived on the west side of the train tracks and now we live on the east side. I still consider it my home town and while now I think I wouldn’t mind moving somewhere else it’s hard to imagine.

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    1. Janet, I’d say you’ve embodied the idea of staying in your hometown. That’s rather cool, especially because you’re happy about it. I know what you mean about *thinking* about any move. We did it so many times that now I’m rather content to stay put. This is home, just not my hometown.

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  19. That’s an interesting question. My first recollections of “home” were when I lived in the desert on a Military base with my parents. After my Dad retired from the military my parents followed the money leading us north to Silicon Valley by the time I was 10 where I lived in the suburbs with good schools, stores, and a mall until April 2019 when my husband and I moved to the High Desert! I live in what would be considered the suburbs here too, but the desert! I think I’ve come full circle. 😀

    My He-Man on the hand…this is completely new to him and somewhere he moved along his journey.

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    1. Deborah, you have come full circle and that suggests to me that you’re right where you’re supposed to be. I have no doubt that there are suburbs in the desert, have seen some come to think of it. I don’t know if a military base would be a hometown, but why not? It’s all about remembering where you came from I suppose.

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  20. Rural New Jersey (an hour from NYC) ~> Williamsburg Virginia (College) ~> Columbia South Carolina (law school) ~> Winston-Salem North Carolina (8 years) ~> Cherry Hill New Jersey (near Philly, 8 years) ~> Chincoteague Virginia ( 6 mos.) ~> Deal Island Maryland (7 years) ~> Here, Florida (11 years) ~> ???

    We aren’t in Kansas any more, Toto!

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    1. Nancy, do you consider rural NJ to be your childhood hometown? I mean, clearly you’ve gone a far piece away from there. And you’ve been the longest in FL which explains why you’re so happy. No dreary winters with ice and snow to shovel there.

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      1. Yes. I lived in a town with lots of horse farms and one gas station ~ Bruce Springsteen country. My parents lived there until 2012. So that was definitely home base.

        I like FL . . . a lot!

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  21. I live in a city but still live close to my rural roots, as I came back here from university for a job. But I wouldn’t mind a place with better shopping! One of my three roommates in school went back to her small town in northern Ontario to teach and the other two stayed in Toronto. It’s interesting that some people stray and some people stay. I guess it depends on circumstances (jobs, marriage) and if you are a homebody or someone who likes change and adventure.

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    1. Joni, I agree that whether you go back to your hometown after college or if you go elsewhere often comes down to personality &/or job offers. This question is one of those topics that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer to it, but does shed some light on what we all go through along the way. You’re close to your rural roots now and that sounds, except for the shopping, like a good thing for you.

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  22. I live in the same county I grew up in but on the opposite end of a large city. My best friend growing up moved to the other side of the country while following her husband’s career opportunities. Job opportunities really did influence our generation regarding places to grow our roots, but in this age of being able to work online, that’s changing fast.

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    1. Jean, you’re right about how we went to where the jobs were, regardless of our desires to stay connected to a hometown. After college I had one high school friend go back and remain in our hometown while the rest of us scattered; the *brain drain* as it’s called in small towns. Good point about being able to work online now. That’s a new variable in the equation.

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  23. I live two minutes away from where I grew up and where my parents still live. It’s a very suburban area with lots of amenities, and close to stores, coffee shops and freeways. I can fairly easily get to (if I want): Seattle, Mt. Rainier, Portland, the Pacific Ocean, Canada, as well as many lakes and hiking venues. I got my teaching job here, so I stayed and am glad I did since my family and friends are mostly in this area.

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    1. Margaret, you definitely stayed in your hometown. It sounds like a good place wherein your adult self could thrive while staying in touch with aspects of your childhood self. For many of us, we had to move onto greener pastures regardless of family and friend connections. You just never know how it’s all going to turn out.

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  24. Definitely not my home town which was homey. Everyone knew (or was related) to everyone else. No one locked doors and a kid got yelled at by the nearest adult if they did something dumb. I live in a suburban area just outside city limits where kids are never seen because they are either inside on their electronics or getting driven to lessons. People are pleasant but don’t engage with neighbors. My few meager attempts at a cookout with just a few neighbors ended in political arguments (and this was before the present political environment). Don’t do those anymore.

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    1. Kate, I grew up in a hometown like the one you describe. I don’t miss the place but I realize now how different it was there. We live in a suburb that while not friendly is at least cordial which suits me fine. No neighborhood parties, but it looks nice around here, better than most of the properties in my hometown, truth be known.

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  25. I am an Army brat – so I moved 6 times before I was in 5th grade. Most of my life was spent in Dallas, Texas. Life has progressively moved upward since then. I live in the suburbs outside of Boulder – quite different than my humble beginnings. I LOVE it more than I ever thought possible – my neighbors are fantastic, there is farm land all around – so it has sort of a country feel even though I live in a planned community. This is quite possibly the first time I have felt at HOME – crazy right? At nearly 55 YO. We will be retiring soon and starting to think about the next book in our lives….not sure if Colorado will be the final resting place!

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    1. pam, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many commenters were military kids. That’s something I didn’t experience, but always sounded so exotic to me as I was growing up.

      I’ve come to like living in suburbia, too, although our suburb isn’t the normal little boxes on the hillside. Our area has a country feel to it, too. Cows and horses around, with a sense of community within the suburb itself. I wonder what you’ll decide to do when you officially retire. I bet you do, too!

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        1. To a child in a small town in Ohio, anywhere not in Ohio seemed exotic. To you it was same old, same old… but to me listening to new kids talk about military bases it sounded amazing.

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  26. It was great growing up in our home town, but I would never move back, and I’m glad our kids had so many opportunities to experience different places. I can’t believe living so far away from “home” now. I was not the adventurous type. But because of job situations, we’ve moved many times. Some places never felt like “home”. The place we live now is the best place ever! Historic, small town, close to the mountains and the beach, and kids nearby. We are very lucky! I think we’ll stay!

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    1. Beth, well that’s it, isn’t it? Our hometown was good for us then, but we had to leave and go elsewhere to find work. No bitterness about it, but moving elsewhere did shape us into different people than we might have been had we stayed there. 🤷‍♀️

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  27. As an Army brat, everywhere I lived was pretty much “unheard of” before. When I finished college in Columbus, Ohio, I was very ready to be done with city life. Moved to Corvallis, Oregon, with the intention of living there permanently. It was as close to a hometown as I knew – where my dad’s mom lived and he grew up. I had lived there in 2nd grade and part of my sophomore year in high school.

    A couple months later (long story), I moved to Durango, which I’d never heard of. I fell in love with the mountains and it’s nice that it’s a college town, too. I don’t even live in town, but in a very rural area. Suits me very well! Here now for 35 years, this is really my hometown.

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    1. Eilene, interesting how many Army brats read this blog. I knew you were in Columbus for a while, but ending up in Durango is a far cry from there. I don’t think of where I live now as my hometown, but I think of it as home. Of course I had a childhood where I lived in one town so maybe that’s why my brain is wired that way. Nonetheless I can understand why you call Durango your hometown, 35 years is a long time to live anywhere.

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  28. I grew up in a gambling town and can remember cowboys coming into the casinos with rifles. I now live in a small almost quaint town. Lights out by 10 PM. I only stayed in touch with a couple of high school friends – one stayed and the other left and none of us ended up where we thought we would. My friends today all have more money than me but that’s okay. I don’t have expensive tastes.

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    1. Jan, cowboys with guns in casinos. That’s a trippy image and one that’ll stick with you forever, I imagine. I don’t stay in touch with many kids for high school either. Now, like you, I hang with a different crowd. My hometown stays in the past.

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  29. I grew up in OH and never really thought much about where I would end up living. I did NOT, however, want to become a Californian, and yet, here I am. Just circumstances being what they were, and I’m quite happy here. 🙂

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    1. Betsy, CA is about as far away from Ohio as you can get, so good job getting there even if you didn’t want to. Like most of us you landed where you did not by plan, but by necessity. Anymore it seems like a luxury to live as an adult in the town you grew up in.

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          1. SF and the Bay Area in general was a shock to my small-town girl sensibilities but I loved the anonymity I experienced. The downside of living in a small town is everyone knows your family, hence, your business. It can be so annoying, very parochial too. Where I live now is kind of weird because there’s both: parochialism and anonymity. Nobody knows you if you’re not in the right clique.

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            1. I grew up in a small town and everyone lived in each other’s pockets, so to speak. I hear ‘ya. Where we are now is like where you are: If you want to be known then associate with the ‘in’ crowd. Otherwise you can live pretty much to yourself, like I do.

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  30. I just checked Google maps and it says (depending on which route I take) that I am about 7 miles away from the house I grew up in (and lived in all the way to college). Although I’ve lived in other towns as a young adult, they always felt temporary until I could get back “home.” That might sound a little boring but I guess I was lucky enough to be born in an area where many people would love to live.

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    1. Janis, I don’t think your experience sounds boring, more like fortunate. If you get the opportunity to stay in your childhood hometown and you’re comfortable with that, then go for it. That was my friend’s story, too. I’m part of what is known as the ‘brain drain’ meaning that after college I needed work and the small town I grew up in didn’t have the jobs. So like most of my high school friends, I left.

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    1. Judy, you’ve been around, and I mean that in a genteel way. You’ve landed back in your home state, which is like a hometown only bigger. I find it interesting how some people make it back to where they started, while the rest of us move away and never go back– although in my case I’m still in the same state. 🤔

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  31. I grew up in a small town. Now I live in a medium-sized city near a large city. But both are in Western Washington state. So, despite having lived abroad for many years, in the Philippines and Vanuatu, now I’m almost back home. I’ve always lived fairly near the ocean and on the Pacific Ring of Fire (which will figure in my next blog post.)

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    1. Nicole, you’ve gone rather full circle, a large one, to get back to where you grew up. Or close-by, I suppose. I’ve only recently realized how many people over 50 tend to want to go back to, if not the exact childhood hometown, the region they grew up in. I get that actually. I’m glad it’s worked out for you and that you’re near the ocean you love.

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  32. Well my first ten years were spent in Canada – we moved here in 1966 when my father asked to be transferred from Ford of Oakville to Ford of Woodhaven, a brand-new plant that opened in Michigan. I have no family here, nor back in Canada. I guess I may have had delusions of returning to my homeland since I still have a green card and am a permanent resident alien, all these years later. I understand it is very expensive to live there now, not only in the town where I grew up but all throughout Canada.

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    1. linda, I’d say you’ve left your childhood hometown behind. I’ve read that living in Canada is expensive, so I can understand your reluctance to go back there. So happy you found a good place to land in MI and that you’ve decided to stay here as a permanent resident alien, which sounds like a designation that comes with lots of bureaucratic paperwork and headaches… but worth it!

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      1. It is a lot of paperwork Ally. When I renewed in 2015, it took three times before I got my card. I’ve worn out my fingerprints with so much typing, so that is problematic with the Department of Homeland Security and the picture they take of you at the Immigration Bureau in B&W and in profile, does not do much to enhance your looks either. It is worse than most driver’s licenses.

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        1. I can only imagine how much bother you have to go through. It took Z-D and I two trips to the DMV to get our new TSA-approved drivers licenses. We had the wrong docs with us, our fault of course. But still… botheration.

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          1. I keep hearing all the PSAs about that – hopefully everyone doesn’t wait until October 1st to get it done. I am going to get a passport this year as I understand it will make the process easier since I am deemed a person without a country. Years ago when I would go on an international trip, I had to get clearance beforehand by going to a government agency (can’t remember which one as it’s been decades) and they had to verify that I had no taxes owing before I could leave the country. I got a stamp in my passport to show this fact, then I was cleared to go. I can’t even go to Canada since the Patriot Act, as a passport is now required.

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            1. We got our new drivers licenses over the holiday break which turned out to be a popular time to do that. The deets for the process are clear, but we screwed up. Our passports did help the process so you’re onto a good idea with that.

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  33. Where we are is where we planned to be some while ago; and now we are here, after living in Johannesburg (about 1300 km from here) for a good 40 odd years or so … So Jo’burg was home for a long long while. I’ve lived elsewhere in this country and abroad in my peripatetic years. The one interesting thing (to me) is that where we are right now is about 240 kms from where I was born, and lived for 6 years (when Moses was a boy). So, I know I’ll be revisiting that special part of the place of my birth, and walking along King’s Beach again …

    And, just because it’s a cliche, heart is where the home is, right?

    Thanks Ally Bean

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    1. Susan, I’m glad you’ve decided to live in a place that brings you joy and allows you to tiptoe through your childhood when so moved. After reading all the comments here I’m learning that many people return to the area they lived in as a child. I didn’t realize this before, but can see how it makes sense. Love the cliche and agree… wholeheartedly. 🙂

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  34. Sorry I’m late to this party, Ally. I hope there’s still time to be one of the cool kids. Speaking of cool kids, you might be jeopardizing your status by being “non-judgmental” – most rare.

    I definitely moved into this region, and I bounced coast-to-coast getting here.

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    1. Dan, you make a good point: can a cool kid be non-judgmental? Or is that part of the cool kid code? I hadn’t thought of that… 🤔

      Like so many of us you left your childhood hometown behind. It’s been interesting to see who has done that and who has stayed. I’ve no ulterior motive for asking, just curious.

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  35. Kinda both. I never heard of the little town near where we live, and it’s in another state from where I grew up. At the same time, the place I grew up and the town where I live now are each near their adjoining states’ border, so I’m still in the region where I grew up and can get to the interesting parts of my old home town in less time than can people who live on the far outskirts of that town. Good question!

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    1. Marian, your answer makes sense to me. In some ways it’s not the name of the town or the strict geography that matters. Your childhood hometown is how you define it once you become an adult. In my case I know for certain that I moved away from my childhood hometown, but it’s not always that clear for other people.

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  36. I don’t really like any of the towns I grew up in. We moved a LOT, so there were several. The town we currently live in is fairly posh, with a nice shopping area downtown, full of restaurants and so on. Our particular neighborhood however is more apartments than anything else, with a smattering of townhomes, and a few blocks away, single family homes. Good schools. When we bought in ‘98, I never thought we’d live here this long (it being a townhome), figured it was going to be a couple of years at the most. But here we are all these years later.

    I like country and city more than suburbs, or at least that’s how I see myself. But having lived here this long, the suburbs have grown on me.

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    1. J, if you don’t like any of the towns you lived in as a child then you most definitely moved away, even if you’re close geographically to where you lived.

      I never thought I’d end up in suburbia, having spent most of my childhood being told how horrible they were. However, I’ve come to realize there are about as many different kinds of suburbs as there are recipes for meatloaf– that is, thousands. And to judge where you live based on its nomenclature isn’t all that smart.

      I hear you about staying a long time in a house that you thought you’d be out of in a few years. Same story here, but I’m content with where we are, having adapted, and wouldn’t change a thing at this point.

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    1. Elen, yes you definitely left your childhood hometown. I’ve come to like living in this suburb, but they’re all different so you never know how it’ll work out. I’m glad you’ve accepted it, no matter how you describe it.

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    1. Donna, it’s a question I stumbled upon as my friend and I were talking. I could easily say I moved away, but she was less clear about her answer. We both agreed that we’ve landed somewhere we never envisioned all those years ago. Fortunately we’re both pleased.

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  37. Excellent topic. Could write about it extensively. Will be succinct.
    Although we tried to leave Georgia and settle in a more liberal Midwestern state, the job offers for The Mister didn’t come there and we finally caved and settled back at home. And I mean, really home. Our kids go to our high school. While we have lived far away and in other Indiana cities together and apart, we both have spent the majority of our lives within five miles of this home. Our pediatricians shared an office. It’s very comforting to us that we both know where the ice cream shop was in 1978.
    I think when we’re younger, we maybe shop around for the where, and by now most of our people have decided country, city, suburb, mountains, sea, apartment in the sky, bungalow in the woods, historical estate etc, by real choice and not by convenience of commute or other extraneous circumstances. Most of our friends are as happy about where they live as we are, and that’s nice.

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    1. joey, I can understand deciding to go back to your childhood hometown to live if there’s a job there for you. I also can imagine how comforting it’d be to know more about the area in which you live, like you two do. We didn’t have that choice so Z-D and I moved to where the work was and that place was somewhere new for us. I did. not. want. to move here, but I’ve come to adapt to/accept this conservative place and I like our house/neighborhood so it’s worked out.

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  38. Umm, both.

    My dad was in the Air Force, so I lived many different places growing up. In 2018, I returned to the Midwest town where I spent the first three years of high school. It’s as close to a “home town” as I’ve ever had!

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    1. Swinged Cat, some other commenters have mentioned that they grew up with military parents so they moved around often. I can understand how the concept of hometown is foreign to you. Of course for you the answer to the question is clear, you moved on regardless of what you wanted to do. We all adapt, don’t we?

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  39. Crikey Ally, you know how to ask difficult questions! 🙂 Like Swinged Cat, my parents moved around a lot – every 2-5 years throughout my childhood, not settling in the UK until I was 19. But, and here’s the rub, even though my parents lived in the same house in the UK for 40 years thereafter, it’s never been home to me and I was surprised that my mother found it so hard to leave recently for I didn’t think she’d put down roots either. My parents didn’t get involved in the local community at all and, as I didn’t go to school there, I had almost no local friends. I did work there for a large part of my adult life, but none of my work mates were local to that community either. Even now, my friends are based all across the country. For two years, I did become part of a local community, with a local (pub), with local friends and a local rugby to support. But stuff happened, to me and to others, people moved away, the pub changed hands (multiple times) and I no longer live there. But I really did love that feeling, for it was the closest I’ve got to having a hometown. One day, I plan to replicate that feeling in my final home – I just don’t know where that’ll be quite yet 🙂

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    1. Deb, your story rings true. If you don’t have a childhood hometown that you can clearly identify as such, then the question becomes problematic to answer. Many other commenters have pointed that out, too. In some ways those of us who definitely know we moved away from our childhood hometowns have had the best of both worlds– in the sense of knowing what it was like to belong and what it’s like to go out on your own.

      I like your idea that you’ll find a place that you’ll want to call a hometown and imagine that, if they’re being honest, many people feel the same way. You may have missed it as a child, but why not create it now as an adult?

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      1. I’ll be honest with you Ally, in the circumstances of those of us who’ve wandered, it does takes concerted effort to put down roots – both emotionally & practically. But, having done it once, I know how to do it and – almost as important – that the effort is so worthwhile. Now we just have to choose where and when eh? That one is the slightly more tricky question but luckily isn’t one that needs to be answered quite yet. It may even turn out to be where we are now, which I’d not be unhappy about, although I’d really like to be beside the sea.

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  40. Ally, I have ended up living here due to moves and transfers and synchronicities and sliding doors. We live in a beautiful part of the world and thankful we ended up here. Ironically, and a long story, my best friend since I was nine years old (54 years as best friends) lives ten minutes by car from me. She has lived in different cities with different husbands and none of this is planned. I don’t have the answers on this one. A great topic for discussion!

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    1. Erica/Erika, I have a similar story about how we ended up here. It wasn’t by plan, but now that we’re here [and the region has evolved into this century] I’m happy enough. How wonderful that your BFF lives so close to you. And how wonderful that you’ve stayed in touch, too. I’d say you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be– and that’s wonderful.

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  41. Oh oh oh!! I love this post!! I am married to a local but I grew up in another state. And as someone who lives in a town where a lot of people will go away to college but move back to raise their families OR go to college here and stay, I love having this conversation. 99% of my friends (yes, I’ve done the math) are either local or married to a local and that just boggles my mind.

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    1. Kate, once you focus on who you know now as an adult, it’s intriguing to learn if they consider where they are now to be their childhood hometown. The answer to that question isn’t always clearcut, as many commenters have said. You must be plugged into your current city if you know that many people who are from there– or connected to someone who is. I agree, your number boggles the mind. I’d guess that you feel comfortable where you are with that much support around you.

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  42. Sometimes the simplest questions can create an avalanche 🙂 I’m still in the process of growing up, so I can’t quite say I live far away from where I grew up, but definitely far away from where I lived 20 years ago.

    What brought you to your current location? For us, it was work. Back when we were in the more of the Weekday 🙂

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    1. Endless Weekend, like you we moved here for work. I wasn’t thrilled to be in a big city, but I’ve come to like where we are. It takes a different kind of mindset to move somewhere new than it does to stay where you grew up. Not that one is better than the other, they’re just different.

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