It’s kind of funny to realize how easy it is to take being young for granted. Even in these years of post-grad existence, we sometimes trace back the steps to our childhoods; still trying to find the same wonder that we found back when the best day ever meant nothing more than going to see the cheetahs at the Cincinnati Zoo or roaming around through the tiny replicas inside the Museum Center. That’s not to say that we miss being that young, but everything just seemed to have so much wonder to it back then. Whether it was taking in the massive size of Cinergy Field for the first time or peering down at the world below from the top of the Carew Tower’s observation deck, Cincinnati was just bigger then, but, as with everything else, the world started shrinking.
Before we knew it, we were making out with our high school sweethearts overlooking the city from one of the local parks. There were heated rivalries at football games that we got way too caught up in, but it was way too fun to hate on the St. X’s of the world. It was all going to change again, though. Some of us moved far away for college, only getting to munch down on our delicious Cincinnati Chili when we came home for the holidays or when mom happened to send a care package. It was sheer agony. No one else got that a 3-Way was a facet of our lives, and we weren’t talking about the experimentation that came along with college!
For the rest of us, we were lucky enough to stay right at home at one of the local colleges, and far too many drunken nights were spent wandering through the streets of Clifton. Sure, a lot of games of “Gunshot or Firework” were played, and a few of us may have gotten robbed, but it only made us better for the wear. Not to mention that the #hottestcollegeinamerica was a good place to be no matter what. Oh, and Xavier’s pretty cool too, but even those students would roll over to get reckless on Old Stratford. It was ratchet. It was beautiful.
When all is said and done, though, aside from a few reckless nights, Cincinnati brought us up the right way. She taught us resiliency through having to watch our lovable sports teams come so close to winning a title each year, but always managing to somehow fall short. She taught us to explore and chase our dreams by housing one of the best zoos, museums, and aquariums in the entire country. She even taught us what real beer is supposed to be like by providing a home to right around twenty local breweries!
What’s even better is the fact that we got to see her grow right alongside us. Sure, there were some rough times when we looked around and wondered if things would ever get more interesting around here, but she didn’t let us down. After years of talk, the renovations to OTR have become a huge success, providing a playground for both yuppies and hipsters alike to find high-quality cocktails and lose a few games of Giant Jenga (we’re looking at you, Neon’s). At the same time, the Banks Project started cleaning up what used to be one of the biggest eyesores in the city, and now the banks of the Ohio are looking better and better each year. They’re even adding in a carousel and beach in the near future, which is definitely going to be epic.
Even greater than that, though, is the fact that we know that this might be the place we want to raise our own kids sometime in the future. The more we get the chance to travel to other places, the more we realize that people may never understand the necessities of cheese coneys and goetta. Nope, having it frozen and shipped in the mail just won’t suffice, either. We want our kids to enjoy the same beautiful city that we grew up in, and it’s only getting better with time. Cincinnati, we’re proud to have shared so many memories with you growing up. We’re proud to call you “home.”