July 17th: All About Your City – Take us on a tour of your city. It can be the city you were born in or the city you live in now. Just tell us everything there is to know about where you call home.
I grew up in a town where many things happened but there was never anything to do. A town where everyone enjoyed the quiet while they talked about everything, literally everything, that was going on. A Town that was bursting with friendships and families but was so small it could only legally be considered a Village.
Back where I come from Where I’ll be when its said and done I’m proud as anyone That’s where I come from
Some say it’s a backward place, narrow minds on a narrow wage But I make it a point to say, that’s where I come from
The Ransom, IL Population has read 450 since I can remember and I honestly it only recently changed once, to 500. At the same time, I think pretty much everyone in town is perfectly okay with that. We are all small town people, I mean you kinda have to be.
Ransom IS a small town, there is no argument there. Growing up, we may have been lacking a grocery store, a Walmart and a bowling alley. But what we weren’t lacking was the ability to forge lifelong friendships, a softball game every Friday Night in the summer or the ability to rely on your neighbor for a can of corn.
I remember growing up and there were TONS of things to do in Ransom! We had fireworks…AMAZING fireworks for the 4th, but always on the 3rd…that’s how my Grandpa wanted it. We had a festival each summer at the park. There were the Friday Night Men’s softball games, and a few co-ed tournaments too, definitely on Labor Day and Memorial Day. We used to parade down Main Street in our Halloween Costumes with the school. Keep in mind, the businesses on Main Street consisted of a Post Office, Photographer and not one, but TWO bars.
All that said, if we are being completely honest, about the time I hit 16 I wanted to live anywhere but Ransom. I was definitely at the point where I wanted to be closer to the friends that I gained in high school, closer to my work, closer to all the ‘cool hangouts’ and further from the neighbors that always knew what you were doing before you even did it.
When I started dating the DBE, I spent as much time in his ‘hometown’
(BIG city, Utica, IL) as I could. It just seemed so much “cooler” because then no one was watching. I never understood why my parents loved living in a small town so much. As a matter of fact, my mom always tells us that when my dad proposed, she said ‘yes’…but only, with the understanding that he would never want to live anywhere other than Ransom.
When I got engaged..I couldn’t wait to move out of Ransom. Its funny though, since I have moved out of Ransom, I have rented a duplex in Oglesby (Population 3700,) a house in LaSalle (Population 9500,) and Cherry (Population 480) and now two houses in Lostant (Population 550.) I think it was the year that I lived in LaSalle when I realized that I was really more of a small town person than I thought! And if you ask most people…a population of 9500 IS small town! But for me.. I was just not cut out for LaSalle. I mean, sure there were all kinds of stores and things to do and I had friends there. But I learned that real friendships carry on regardless of your home address. And I am sure that there were softball games in the summer, but who would I talk to during the games.. there were plenty of neighbors, but didnt even know their names let alone count on them for some corn in a pinch!
As I got older, believe it or not, I got wiser too! A time came when the DBE and I were spending at least one weekend a month ‘vacationing at my parent’s house’ in Ransom…the place where I didnt want to spend a Friday night growing up! I remember driving 50 minutes from Cherry to watch the Men’s Games on Friday nights, just because it was fun. Or even getting up EARLY on a Saturday morning to drive to my moms house for “Saturday Morning Coffee Clutch”…when I HATE coffee.
There were a lot of things we were considering when it was time to put our roots down and BUY a house. On top of that list was “Small Town Living” followed not all that far down by “close to Ransom.” Comical how things change over the course of a few years! I remember calling my parents to look at the house we were “Very Serious” about. After our walk through, I was certain that my mom didnt want us to buy it. I called my dad crying the next morning, because I REALLY wanted it, but didnt want mom to be disappointed. We talked for a while and the one thing that still sticks out was when my dad said, “Doneida, are you SURE you want this house?? 5 years ago you couldn’t WAIT to get out of Ransom, and this is the same town just a few miles away.” I know that he was trying to make sure that I knew what I wanted before committing to 30 years…but that statement just made me want the house even more! And to this day, I may not be living in that house anymore, and things have certainly changed since we bought it 4 years ago, but I wouldn’t change my mind for anything. I loved that house, but I love the town too. Obviously, since I am still living there, just on ‘the other side of town’…which means NOTHING with a population of 550! LoL The reason I love it though, is that is it SO much like Ransom.
When everything hit the fan last year about this time, I knew that I needed to get out of ‘our’ house and start a new life on my own. But I also knew that there was NO way I could afford a place of my own right away. So I did what any crazy person would do…I went home. And when I say that, I don’t mean, that I just went home to my parents house. I mean I truly went HOME. I found comfort and solace in a place that is familiar, yes. But more importantly I went home to people who loved me, and have for years. People who have been there since I was a kid, people who know me as ME and not just me as a part of “us.”
I could have never expected the way that Ransom would make me feel after all these years. Sure, I knew that walking back into the bar on a Friday night after the men’s games, that people would either know what had happened or ask “where’s Greg?” BTW…they would only ask if they had been out of town or in the hospital for weeks, otherwise, in a town like ours…word had spread long before I was unpacked. Anyhoo, I never realized though, that these people, some adults who watched me grow up, some kids who I grew up with would be so incredibly supportive of me when I was going through such a rough time. Not just that, but they made them easier. Whether it was doing the simple things like NOT asking how I was, or buying me a drink or the big deal things like offering to help me move my things, store them or spending a Saturday night in Lostant at the Lostant Festival so that I knew that they had my back when I was too stubborn to just skip it all together.
I may have moved back to Lostant in November, but I firmly believe that is ONLY because of work. I just couldn’t hack it driving an hour both ways, especially in the winter. If I were closer, you bet your booty, I would be living in Ransom! I think about it often, as a matter of fact! At 16, I had NO idea what the world was like, but at 29 , I know for a fact that little towns like Ransom, make the world a little better place!!
These are my people This is where I come from We’re givin’ this life everything we’ve got and then some It ain’t always pretty But it’s real That’s the way we were made Wouldn’t have it any other way These are my people
We fall down and we get up We walk proud and we talk tough We got heart and we got nerve Even if we are a bit disturbed