Life in the Midwest

Girl looking at leaf at Lacy Park in San MarinoPortrait of Pasadena girl with blond hair

Pasadena girl holding leaves in the park

I was talking to Lilly, an actress I know who grew up in Manhattan, and whose headshots I just took and we were talking about how cool it was to grow up in New York. It sounds fantastic: kids that are independent and sophisticated and street-savvy, that are exposed to culture and diversity and everything.  If I could do it a second time, I would choose that kind of childhood in a heartbeat.

But I grew up in a small town in the Midwest.

And Jackie, whose family is featured above, grew up in the Midwest. And there’s this thing with people who grew up there when they’re living other places, this common ground, an understanding. After you’ve talked for a while you ask, “Where did you grow up?” and they say, ‘Wisconsin” or “Michigan” or “Iowa,” and you nod and smile and say “I had a feeling…”

Everybody had a front porch, backyards ran on forever because there were no fences, and front yards were the size of a two-bedroom house. Everybody had a clothesline, and a screen door that slammed, and huge windows that swung open to let the breeze in. It would balloon the curtains and blow papers onto the floor and slam the doors.

I was able to walk to every school I attended, from elementary to high school, and know that almost everyone I went to elementary school with would be in my junior high and then in my high school.


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