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Appreciating Where You Are

For all my fellow Quincyans: are you “Quincy” or are you “Quincy Quincy”? I am just "Quincy", but my kids are "Quincy Quincy". Stick with me on this one…I do have a point with this.

Wherever you happen to live you can apply this test. For example, if you are just “Quincy” then you either moved to Quincy at some point in your life, or you were born in Quincy, but your parents were NOT born in Quincy. You are only one generation in. If you are "Quincy Quincy" then your parents were born here, probably grandparents, and so on.

For someone like myself, this distinction became noticeable in my early grade school years. When we had a movie afternoon with our little bags of popcorn and plastic cup of soda, I called my drink “pop.” This elicited odd looks from my classmates. After several years of sticking to my family’s northern Illinois reference of pop, I eventually gave in to the local term of soda.

Other things that stood out to me over the years to strengthen my beliefs that I was not quite a true Quincyan:

1) I didn’t have generations of family going to the K of C BBQ summer picnic to eat lots of fried foods and congregate near a beer tent. This was a foreign concept. In my adult years it was revealed that my parents would avoid 36th Street the days of the BBQ so us kids wouldn’t look out the car window and see the Ferris wheel and other spinning contraptions to draw our attention.

2) I did not think swimming in the Mississippi River was an option. It wasn’t until my first date with my husband that I understood that people get out of the boat and put their actual bodies in the river water. Five years later, I have become a river person, inviting people out for boat rides, and my kids are swimming around the little river islands like it is nothing. Because: they are "Quincy Quincy".

3) Big family reunions, or being related to half the town, did not exist in my world. Once, in high school, my best friend went to a family reunion one weekend and the boy she was dating showed up at the same family reunion. They were of course very distantly related, but I remember finding this possibility both horrifying and fascinating.

Now having lived in my hometown the majority of my life, I realize I am edging closer to "Quincy Quincy". Having married someone who is "Quincy Quincy" probably sealed that deal.

You might be wondering where this terminology originated. Simple: I made it up. Back in my 20’s this was thrown out as a joke with friends and it somehow stuck and is now considered an actual term. It might be in the dictionary or have a Wikipedia page, I’m not sure. It is not copyrighted though, and you are free to use it as you see fit.

That all being said, being “Quincy” or “Quincy Quincy” is really a state of mind. Growing up, I tended to notice the differences that I had with people around me. Saying I was just "Quincy” in my early adulthood was a way of saying, “I am currently residing here, but I have one foot out the door. This isn’t my ultimate end game.”

Anymore, I find comfort in the things that I have in common with those in my community. It doesn’t matter if they have lived here all their lives, or they just moved here yesterday - this connection is important. By saying, “This is my community,” I am allowing myself to be happy with where I am.

In such an anxiety ridden time where everyone seems so angry at one another, finding your community and embracing it seems like a lifeline. You may have “snoozed” someone on social media because you don’t agree with something they posted, but that doesn’t mean you should distance yourself from them in real life. Even with its cute cat videos reeling us in, social media has a way of slowly hardening us to real human connection and understanding. If we don’t like it: block it, snooze it, pause it, cancel it.

For me, finding my community translates to going to church on Sunday when I would rather sleep in, chatting with people before my noon workout class when I have a million things on my mind, taking friends on a sunset boat cruise even though I could be knocking out house chores, and starting a book exchange group even though the last thing I need is to manage one more event.

I would encourage you, wherever you are, to be all in: “Camp Point Camp Point,” “Hannibal Hannibal,” “Chicago Chicago” ...Your life story is built on the connections you make. You might as well be happy with who and where you build your life.

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