Five States in Ten Years. First Stop: Blue Island, Illinois

My first home.

As far back as I can remember, many of my fondest memories are from the first house my family ever called home in Blue Island, Illinois. For those who do not know, Blue Island is small town of about 20,000 people about 20 minutes south of the Chicago Loop.

Because I only lived in Blue Island until the age of eight, much of what I remember comes from seeing pictures and videos of our time in that home, besides the fact that my room was painted Barbie pink, and my older brother, Kevon’s room was red. Although I do not remember a lot about living there, the memories are shared through pictures of the countless, birthday parties, Thanksgiving meals, and Christmas celebrations, and even the many random weekend get-togethers my family hosted at our Fairway Circle home. From 1998 to 2004, the warmth of our home became evident, as six years of memories fostered.

During this time, my obsession for Barbies grew rapidly (i.e.: the inspiration behind the Barbie pink room). I took a huge interest like many young girls my age did. I collected all kinds of Barbie trinkets, including the original wooden Barbie kevon-and-iDream House, and a countless number of Barbie dolls, all named Patrice (I’m not sure why, or where that name came from). Although I was a Barbie girl, having my older brother Kevon around, who played all kinds of sports at the time, my interest in sports grew and fostered during this time. One of the most vivid memories I have is from a time when Kevon and I played virtual baseball on his Play Station, and being too short for the sensor to pick up my movements. It was such a fun game, and up until this day I had only ever watched him play. He finally gave me the opportunity t try it out, and I was quickly disappointed because I was too short to even have my movements picked up. Regardless of it not going the way I wanted to, this is one of my fondest memories spending time with my older brother.

In 2001, I began participating in Miss American Coed Pageantsscreen-shot-2016-12-02-at-1-25-28-pmThis was probably around the time when my love for speaking began. My mom, grandma and I practiced a poem by Vera R. Chitty called I Am Somebody. The overarching theme of the poem is confidence, which as a 5-year-old I knew nothin If I am bout. As I have grown up, over the years, I have realized that saying that poem, if I’m being honest, although I didn’t know the meaning behind it, helped me build confidence as a young woman. After moving on to the next round of competition, my family and I got to take a trip to Orlando, Florida for the finals, where I visited Disney World for the first time, and won Miss Illinois Princess.

While to many, Blue Island is just a small suburb south of the city, to me Blue Island means so much more. To most, they know Blue Island as the home of Beggars Pizza, but to me, I just know Blue Island as home.

Read about what my time was like in Cheyenne, Wyoming on the Second Stop!