"Why I Love Growing Up in Springfield"

By Joe Mittica

I have lived in Springfield now since the winter of 1990 and I would like to share that I cannot say there is another town I would have rather grown up in. For all the negatives people like to point out, I want to say that Springfield is a great town for a boy to spend most of his first 18 years in.

Springfield certainly doesn't make my national top ten lists for best places to live in any of the magazine publications but I don't think anyone here cares. Springfield, with just under 10,000 residents, is the perfect size. We don't experience traffic jams, or long checkout lines at Shaw's, and usually we can find the movie we want to rent at VideoStop or Video Time. Springfield is, in a lot of ways, just ordinary Small Town USA.

Ordinary Small Town, USA, is just what I want to remember when I look back at Springfield in years to come. Springfield has given me the opportunity to grow up in a natural setting. For a young boy this town offers a lot. We have our baseball fields, our tennis and basketball courts. We have fishing holes and the boy scouts. There are campgrounds, a bike path, pizza shops, a movie theater, and ice cream, indoor and out. We have our Alumni Parade, a golf course, and a downtown cafe with live music at night. Twice a year our high school puts on a play and the community band plays for us in the summer. On the Fourth of July we have fireworks at the airport and we raffle off expensive sports cars, compliments of our Corvette Museum. I see all of these things and I wonder, "Why would anyone want to grow up anywhere else?"

The quality of the schools in this town are often overlooked. And I don't mean they are perfect or offer the education a top tier private school would offer. However, Springfield's schools have the quality of making a student feel safe, supported, and part of a community. Never have I felt intimidated by large hordes of kids or lost in a crowd. Here in Springfield you're somebody and for the most part everyone knows your face just like you know theirs. Students here feel attached to their teachers and have the support of a town behind them. I cannot imagine it any other way.

The character of the people in Springfield also needs to be credited in this article. Over the last several years I have been heavily involved in helping to build a state of the art recreation center on Clinton Street. I have met many people and I have come in contact with an amazing trait that people in this town share. After all the years of factories closing and industries crumbling, the people of Springfield have not stopped showing their commitment to the future of this town through this project. To many in this town this project represents a beginning to an improved future, a way to open doors for this town to enter. In their support for this recreation center, residents have volunteered their Saturday mornings to paint, sweep, campaign for votes, and wash windows on countless occasions. This exhibition of character blows me away and makes me believe that although Springfield has had a rough period over the last thirty or something years, the future is in the hands of people like this and I have no reason to worry.

So, to close, I thank Springfield. It is a great town with great people and whether I come back after college to live or not, I am excited for this town's future and for those who live here still.