Not many people are familiar with the small town where I grew up. Often, when I describe it to people, I say that it’s in the middle of a corn field. Which, although not completely accurate, does paint a pretty good picture of the surrounding areas.
Growing up in St.Johns, Michigan, I experienced all of the annoyances of small town life. Everyone knows everyone. Which means that everyone is constantly in everyone else’s business. Secrets are hard to keep in small towns. And, like many people who grew up there, once I graduated high school, I was ready to get out of there and go away to college.
Well, unlike my siblings, I went away for college and never moved back to St. Johns.
It wasn’t until I graduated college, found a job, got married, and settled into a new town, that my heart began to long for all of the things that I thought I hated about my little hometown. Every time I went to the grocery store or out to eat, I would look around for a familiar face. I was lonely, and missed my community where everyone knew who I was.
Fast forward 19 years (Eeeeeek!)….
I have finally settled into my new small town, but I am so incredibly thankful for the hometown where I was raised.
Last weekend, my mom, sister, and I held a St. Johns High School alumni basketball game fundraiser for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, for my Boston Marathon Team in Training page. We advertised for the event on Facebook, recruited as many people as we could to play, my mom asked the middle school dance team to perform, and she wrote an article about the event for our local newspaper. But still, I felt really anxious about what kind of a turnout we would have for the event.
The morning of the game I posted one last update on Facebook asking who would be there….not many people responded. I honestly felt a little sick with worry that the stands would be empty and all of the players that committed to playing wouldn’t show up.
I should have known better. Small towns are loyal to their own. And, even though I haven’t lived in that small town for 19 years, most of my family does still live there, and it will always be my hometown.
The turnout was absolutely overwhelming. Everything came together perfectly, from my brother singing the National Anthem, to plenty of players showing up and each team having a coach, to the refs, the score table, the dance team….ALL OF IT! It was such a fun night.
Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined this fundraiser going any better. With the support of my hometown, we raised over $2300 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society! My heart is bursting with pride from bring from the small town of St. Johns, MI. The love I felt during that fundraiser is hard to match.
Thank you to everyone that was a part of such a special event. I am truly humbled and overwhelmed by the support.
Proud of my small town.