Writing Sample

Tell us about your home town.

  • What was it like growing up there?
  • What are some things to do or see?
  • What are popular foods in the area?

Write 1 to 3 paragraphs in your own words.

The town I grew up in wasn’t a town at all.  It was open countryside with a few people per square mile.   spent a lot of time looking out the window and reading.  I had a younger sister and an older brother, we were all born within a three year span, so mom must have had her hands full.  We didn’t have a lot of money but I remember being happy.  For the most part, the seasons regulated our activities, as very young children we only watched PBS, and our books were conservative; it was a calm childhood.
The area we lived in was blue collar, dominated by the steel industry and farming.  There was very little outside cultural influence.  We all loved going to the library and picking out new books. It’s still my favorite pastime.  An exciting weekend would have been payday, which meant a trip into the nearest town, twenty minutes away for groceries, VHS rentals, and carryout pizza from Josie’s.  Every once in a while we went to a mall in the next town over for soft pretzels and a movie.  I remember the mall entrance smelled oddly like vanilla, old men used to sit in the atrium smoking cigars.
Sometimes we went out of town to visit my grandparents or to one of dad’s fast-pitch tournaments.  I still love the sounds of the ballpark and the lights on the field at night.  We would bring picnic food but get bubble gum and candy at the concession stand. The games were long, we would be there all day.  It must have drove my mom crazy but I just remember it as being fun.  There was usually a playground nearby and we would all pile into the station wagon at the end of the day, covered in dirt and totally exhausted.
In the fall, we would drive out to an old covered bridge and walk in ankle-deep, dry, decaying leaves by the creek.  There was an apple orchard near there, dad knew the way because he used to hunt squirrel and trap coons in those woods.  We would buy apples and cider for the scenic drive home.
I don’t know. None of this sounds very exciting now. But it sounds pleasurable and very comforting.  I don’t live there anymore.  I can’t.  When I moved, I noticed something I couldn’t before:  The new people I met talked about their plans, their projects, the future.  Everyone back home talked about the break they never caught, the thing that ruined them, the past. I can’t be a ghost.