I have never pictured myself as a “country girl” in any shape or form… until I came to Augie.
Just about all of my friends and anyone else I meet here on campus are from Chicago suburbs; on occasion, I’ll find the few from other cities or big towns. I, on the other hand, have the hardest time explaining the answer to the question “where are you from?” Well classmates, here is my answer.
I am from Rio, Illinois–a town of a whopping 200 people about 40 minutes south of campus (please refer to the lovely Google Maps screenshot.) I live in town, and yet I still live directly next to a cornfield. I like to joke around that the only thing on Main Street in my town is a pop machine because, well, it’s pretty much true. I could literally lay in the middle of Main Street in the middle of the day and rarely ever have to move for a car.
With a whopping six other people in my grade that live in/outside of my town, it’s obvious we can’t have our own high school. I drove 15 miles to school every day, and my route to school included unlined roads, wide-open cornfields on both sides, people I didn’t know waving at me as I passed, and getting stuck behind frequent tractors and combines. I went to ROWVA High School (Rio is the “R” in ROWVA,) where my graduating class was a hefty 46 students.
As weird as it may sound, I miss the stars. Sure, I know everyone here does know that there are stars in the sky and they’re visible from campus, but where I’m from, you can see so many; the sky is literally covered in them, and a lot of people from big towns or cities probably have no idea what that even looks like. I would lay outside (even in the middle of the road sometimes) with my best friends from home at 2 in the morning, look at stars, and just aimlessly talk. As much as I love Augie and all of my friends here, I miss that more than anything.
I am also constantly baffled at some of the little ways my lifestyle’s different than some of my suburban friends here. The main fact that I find baffling is that most people have never roasted a hot dog at a bonfire when I have done so at just about every bonfire I’ve attended. Sure, I make s’mores at bonfires too, but hot dogs are also a must–for people from small towns, I guess.
Tomorrow, I’m heading home. I’m going to one of my high school’s football games with my roommate, suitemates, and another friend. My main goal is to expose them to a true small town (because the Quad Cities is over 1,500 times the size of my town.) And after the game, there will only be one thing left to do–take them to my ghost town and teach them how to roast a hot dog.
Posted on October 13th, 2011 by Ashley LaGrow
Filed under: Ashley LaGrow