Day 30 — It’s a Wrap

IMG_2619Today is the final day of Suzanne McClendon’s “Back Where I Come From” September Challenge, so it’s fitting that the last question is a “reflection” question.

Day 30: What did you think of this challenge? Did you enjoy it? Do you have any suggestions for 2018’s challenge song?

First, I’d like to thank Suzanne for this challenge. I truly enjoyed conjuring up many mostly long forgotten memories of my youth and the town in which I was raised. That has been fun. And most of all, it was great to read how other bloggers who also participated in this challenge answered these same questions.

That said, though, I am a private person, so revealing some of the details from my youth did cause some discomfort. Also, there wasn’t anything special, unique, or even interesting about either my youth or my hometown. I couldn’t help wondering why anyone would want to read posts about the place where I was raised. Still, I’m glad I participated.

As to a suggestion for next year’s challenge, I got nothin’.

Day 29 — Read and Listen

IMG_2619Day 29: Does your hometown have a newspaper? Does it come out daily, bi-weekly, weekly, or some other frequency Does your hometown have its own radio station?

Living in a suburb of Washington, DC, the newspaper of record was what used to be The Washington Post & Times Herald. At some point, the paper dropped Times Herald from the masthead and it was just The Washington Post.

A big city paper, the Post was published daily. There was also a county-wide paper, The Sentinel, that was published either weekly or every other week, I can’t remember.

As to radio stations, I used to listen to WDON, from the neighboring town of Wheaton. It was an AM Top-40 station that was daylight only, meaning that when the sun set each night, the station stopped broadcasting.

WDON switched formats from Top-40 to Country & Western around my senior year in high school. I am not a fan of country music, so I stopped listening to WDON after the switch.

Written for Suzanne McClendon’s September Challenge, which consists of 30 questions (one for each day of this month).

Day 28 — Family and Strangers


IMG_2619Day 28: Was your hometown like one big family or just a group of strangers?

Both, actually. Our subdivision, which consisted of around two square blocks with about 60 homes, was like one, big, mostly happy family. Almost all of the families were white, suburban, middle class families and many had kids around the same ages as me. So most people in the subdivision knew one another.

We had quarterly block parties, large neighborhood cookouts, and neighborhood gatherings at the local recreation center. Everyone seemed to care about and look out for their neighbors.

All of us kids went to the same public school except for the handful of Catholic kids who went to the Catholic school. But after school, we all hung out together.

Once outside of our two square block subdivision, though, it was more like a group of strangers. We knew kids we went to school with who lived outside our immediate neighborhood and we were friendly with them, but we were never as close with them (or their families) as we were with those who lived in our subdivision.

Written for Suzanne McClendon’s September Challenge, which consists of 30 questions (one for each day of this month).

Day 27 — No Restrictions

IMG_2619Day 27: If there were no restrictions such as money or employment, where would you most like to live?

“…no restrictions such as money…”? Seriously? When it comes to where you live, money is almost always a restriction.

However, to answer this hypothetical question, I would want to live someplace relatively isolated and near the ocean where I would be able hear the sounds of the surf crashing rhythmically onto the rocks below the cliff on which my modest bungalow sits.

Written for the 27th day of Suzanne McClendon’s September “back where I come from” challenge.

Day 26 — The Four Seasons

IMG_2619Day 26: Does your hometown experience all four seasons? If not, which ones does it skip over?

When I was growing up, my very favorite recording artists were Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. And when the Broadway show Jersey Boys came out, I got tickets and my wife and I flew to New York to see the musical. That’s how much I loved The Four Seasons.

But that path down memory lane has absolutely nothing to do with today’s question in Suzanne McClendon’s September Challenge.

Yes, my hometown, a suburb of Washington, DC, experiences all four seasons. Winters are cold and snowy. Summers are hot and muggy. Spring usually transitions from winter’s cold and snowy grip to summer’s heat and humidity over a two week period. In other words, spring doesn’t typically last very long.

Far and away, autumn is the best season of the year in that part of the country. Once summer’s heat has passed, and before the dark and gloomy days of winter commence, the DC area typically experiences around six weeks of absolutely delightful weather. The air is crisp and clean, and the autumn foliage is a cornucopia of exquisite colors. It takes your breath away. If the weather during that six week period between mid- to late-September until early November was that way year round, I might never have left.