How are you doing today? I hope you’re having a good
breathing day. Some of you may already know me. I’m a respiratory therapist and
writer and I’ve been working for the COPD Foundation as the Assistant Director
of Education since 2011. I live in West Michigan, about 140 miles from Chicago
and 140 miles from Detroit, not too far from Lake Michigan.
But I grew up in the Chicago area – “Chicagoland” as they
call it – on the south side. Our house was a typical Chicago brick bungalow on
a narrow lot. My grandpa lived three doors to the south and my cousins lived
two lots away on the other side. Altogether, between our two families, there
were eight of us kids. In the summer, we played together almost every day from
breakfast ‘til bedtime. This photo shows me, about age 5, in our old back yard.
I’m the second one from the left, my big sister is on my right and two of my
cousins are on my other side. The building on my sister’s side is our next-door
neighbor’s garage. The brick house is our bungalow. Except for some crushed limestone
where the car was parked, this was pretty much our whole back yard.
Today I live in a 90-year-old house in an even older
neighborhood. Our lot is a little bit bigger than the one in Chicago, about 48
feet wide. Our neighborhood has no curvy cul de sacs, streets with fancy names,
or big lawns. But we have our front porches and our sidewalks, and we love them!
Our daughter and her guy live next door and our son, and his young family live
a few blocks away. I couldn't ask for more.
Where did you grow up? In the city, in the suburbs, on
a farm? Did you have extended family nearby? Wherever it was, and whoever your
neighbors were, how do you think it helped shape your life back then and your
life after that? Maybe it had an impact on your health or the health of your
family. My bet is that, if you give it a minute, you may have some thoughts to
So where did you grow up? I’d love to hear from you,
even if you just want to say “Hi.”