If you’ve spent your entire life trying to explain to the rest of the world that it’s MiDland, not MiTlin and it isn’t five hours away from the mall or have randomly craved an icing cookie (pink icing only, naturally), this list may be for you.
1. You make sure you have a new outfit for the 4th of July.
Of course, I have to start the list with the infamous Midland 4th of July! To us, the 4th of July is not just a summer holiday, it is summer. It’s filled with quintessential Midland things like using folding chairs to save parking spots, picnic-hopping on your way down to the park, sporting your new gear, knowing there’s the chance you could run into anyone you’ve ever known in your entire life, and naturally, watching the fireworks with Rudy Zetz playing in the background. You get extra Mitlin points if you spent the night before at the Wunder Bar and had a hard time waking up for the parade the next morning.
2. You’ve gone “down the street.”
This is synonymous with “going to the store” and probably came about when Midland had a bustling main street, filled with stores. An interchangeable phase used is “on the main drag” for giving directions to where something is located on Midland Ave. You also make sure you look presentable when you run “down the street” because you always could run into someone you know, and hopefully it’s not an ex-boyfriend.
3. You remember when Midland had a grocery store (or maybe even a few!)
Before Rite-Aid and Family Dollar, IGA was the go-to, located behind the “main drag” and 7th Street. Your shopping trip was not complete without picking up their fried chicken and Jojo potatoes, served wrapped in white aluminum foil-lined bags. You even lost your first tooth biting into a Hershey ice cream sandwich from there. You also remember picking up prescriptions with your grandparents at Ernie’s and buying candy after school at Toncic’s on Beaver Ave.
4. You’ve hung out at Mid-City with friends and used change to pay for your meal.
Whether it was after school or on a Saturday afternoon, you and your friends would meet up and squeeze into one booth, the one way in the back, by the pay phone. Counting your change, you would have to determine whether you had enough for a club sandwich and lemonade, or just the fries. Sometimes you miscalculated and had to call your parents on the pay phone for help.
5. You’ve had to catch a ride up or down “the hill.”
As a “Heights” kid (and Midcrest, sorry Dad!), you had to find a ride downtown for after-school activities or even just to hang out. Sometimes, you’d hitch a ride with neighbors or friends’ parents, other times (depending on your age), you’d “thumb” a ride.
6. You’re related to everyone.
And may be guilty of telling an out-of-town girlfriend that the girl she saw you hugging, down the Wunder Bar, on the night before the 4th, was a cousin. Just saying…
7. You spent your summers at the Midland Pool.
You and your friends had would spend almost the entire day there. From lathering on the coconut-scented tanning oil (skin cancer, what’s that?) to eating salt and vinegar chips with pruney fingers, you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
8. You know that any updates in your life will be circulated throughout town by the time you got home.
Growing up, your parents warned you over and over that they will find out what you’re up to. You always rolled your eyes. Until that one fateful day you decided to try your luck and skip school. Your mom’s aunt’s cousin’s step-daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s dad saw you and when you walked in the door at 3:10pm, your parents were there waiting for you. And you know this doesn’t change with age. The neighbors knew you were expecting your first baby before your in-laws did.
9. Basketball is your favorite sport, whether you played at 10th Street courts or in the “new gym.”
PSA: Midland Leopards were state basketball champs 1965, 1971, 1973-76. It’s in our blood. “Hey all you Midland fans, stand up and clamp your hands!”
10. You’re still proud to be a Midland Leopard, regardless where you actually graduated from.
Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who actually graduated with an M on your chest, but for us other ones, who graduated from Beaver, East Liverpool, Lincoln Park Performing Arts, Cyber School, or wherever else, we still bleed blue and gold. You may even look back on 8th graduation more fondly then your actual high school graduation.
Okay guys, which ones did I miss? Share your memories below!