I’ve had the opportunity to travel the United States quite a bit over the last 20 Years; from the unbelievably congested streets of New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, to the scarcely populated hills and hollows of West Virginia and Kentucky. I’ve fallen in love with Red River Gorge in Frenchburg, Kentucky, the mountains of West Virginia, and a few Beaches in Florida. While beautiful and fun to visit, no other city is quite like Portsmouth. I think Southern Ohio is one of the most beautiful places in America. With it’s rolling hills and lush forests, lakes, rivers, creeks and amazing wildlife – we have it all. Portsmouth represents all the best attributes Ohio has to offer. Whether exploring and shopping in the historic Boneyfiddle and downtown area, admiring the floodwall Murals, enjoying one of the public parks, hiking in the expansive forests or camping and soaking up the beauty of the outdoors; there certainly is something for each of us to appreciate and enjoiy.
Growing up in a small town affords one a unique and lasting outlook to one fortunate enough to have done so. In many ways Portsmouth, specifically the people I grew up with and the countless experiences I’ve had, have helped form my views and groom me into be the man that I am today.
As teenagers, my friends and I lived for our Weekends. Finally we could stay out all night rollerblading on the Esplanade and anywhere else our in-line skates could take us. Long after the cities inhabitants were cozied up and tucked in for the night, we were just getting started. The whole city was ours, and we sure gave those downtown streets and sidewalks a workout. We were just 15 year old kids having good, clean fun in the city that we knew and loved. Of course, things were different then.
We took pride in our city and neighborhoods. The floodwall murals alone stand testament to the idea of what a community can accomplish thru hard work and unity. We were, and are, so much more than just what grave statistics tell us. There was a much stronger sense of community when I was growing up here. We actually interacted with our neighbors and we knew their names. The drug scourge hadn’t fully taken hold yet, and for the most part people felt safer, and therefore looked out for others in the community. We weren’t afraid of having our homes burglarized regularly, or having our cars vandalized or stolen. By no means had we been completely crime free, but trusting your neighbors wasn’t such an alien idea, either.
The Generations before us knew the importance of a strong and unified community, and I think it’s time we relearn that.