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Staying close to home offers its own perks for Norwin-area resident

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The term “hometown” is defined as a city or town where one grew up or the place of one's principal residence.

As an adult living in the town where I also grew up, I am fortunate to run across other former classmates who remember the house where I grew up or reminisce about walking to Little General after school for a snack — or riding the bus to West. They remember LaDonna's Pizza, or the terrific firework displays up at the Hills Plaza, or Norwin Shopping Center before it got a fancier name, or Charlie J's, or Tanglewood Stables, or Blue Dell Drive In and Pool. There are so many memories.

In addition, it's fun to come across former school chums who have jobs such as doctors and lawyers and business owners and most important, moms and dads. They are folks who grew up here and stayed in this town to live their lives and raise their families because they enjoy the area, love the schools and want to be close to their families.

As a perk to my job, sometimes, I get to know the kids of my classmates. What an unexpected treat to have a glimpse into the lives of kids I ate lunch with in 10th grade, to be able to see them as parents. Would this happen if I wasn't living in my hometown? I doubt it — maybe once in a blue moon.

What a gift, living in your hometown. Having all streets be familiar — well, except for the new housing plans. How many times have you heard a last name and thought, “Yep! That's an Irwin name.”

It's sad that many folks never get to experience this. But I consider it a treasure.

You've no doubt heard that old saying that goes something like, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”? That can be applied to hometowns. We lose old places; we gain new ones. But has that much changed? No, and thank goodness.

Barbara Flynn is the children's librarian at the Norwin Public Library.

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