I love New York; I love being a New Yorker, a Long Islander, a south shore girl. No matter how much others complain about how expensive or cold it gets here, nobody will ever be able to convince me to think of my home state as anything but my favorite place to be.
But how did I get here?
Well, long story short, I never had to get here because I’ve just always been here. I was born on the island, and raised in the same school district that my parents were. They never up and moved us anywhere else; luckily, I never had to worry about leaving my school or friends or anything behind. I never had to consider anywhere else home.
Like most European immigrants, my Oma came into the states from Germany through Ellis Island. And from there, she’s almost always been in New York. She first stayed somewhere upstate at a farmhouse with her first husband and my Aunt Margarete and Uncle Charlie. A family that owned the house let them stay, so long as they helped work around their farm.
I don’t know any other details, but at some point, they left, and headed towards New York City for work. They lived in an apartment in Manhattan, a house in Manhasset, and, eventually, with a change in husbands and two more kids, a house in Bay Shore.
And as for my mom’s parents, my Nan and Grandpa, they were both born, and grew up, in the Bronx. They grew up together, and eventually had my mom and uncles Joey, Sean, and Chris, before moving into a house in Brentwood, on Long Island. There, they added my Aunt Sue, Uncle Tim, and Aunt Peg into the mix, and now, my aunts and their kids still live in the same house with my Grandpa.
My parents technically went to the same high school, although they never knew each other. My mom went to one half of the school, called Ross, and my dad went to the other half, known as Sonderling; they graduated in the same class, but were in two totally different atmospheres. They didn’t actually meet for another eight years after graduation, and my mom already had my older sister, Joanne, and brother, Rick, who also grew up in the same town.
When they got a place of their own together, they moved into a house less than a handful of blocks away from Oma, so when they finally had me and my younger siblings, we also went to the same school district as my parents—on the west side, just like my dad, sister, and brother did.
And a lot of us are still there today; the youngest two of our clan are in high school now, and nobody plans on leaving the area until after they graduate. Funny thing about my siblings and I: all of us have been given the chance to leave Brentwood at some point, yet none of us wanted to graduate anywhere else.
When I do eventually leave my hometown, I don’t think I can see myself leaving Long New York—unless it’s for a vacation. If fate steps in, and forces me to do so, I don’t think it will be a forever thing. I would still come home, for sure. But I like this place too much to truly leave it on my own. I love my home state, my island, my shores; I feel like it’s where I am meant to be.
Prompt: Why do you live in the state that you do?