I judged a book by its cover, and I was wrong.

Dear Toledo,

I have a confession: I’m not a native. In fact, I was resistant to get an Ohio license. I judged a book by its cover, and I was wrong. I LOVE TOLEDO.

In my pre-Toledo life I was a classroom teacher and loved my students as my own. I was comfortable with who I was and challenged in my profession.  Then, we moved to the Glass City and everything I knew changed.
We had a baby and life was completely different. I’m not referring to the typical changes that come with a new family member. I’m talking about my identity. I no longer knew who I was. I didn’t have a drive to succeed at anything and I rarely felt motivated to change someone’s life. I didn’t get to see smiling faces every day or get my quota of 20+ hugs a day. Beyond this, my new infantile boss was very demanding and we had communication issues.
Being a stay-at-home mom was not always my plan. This ended up being the best thing that happened in my life. It may have taken me a long time to figure this out, but I eventually came around to this new part of my identity.
So what does this have to do with you, Toledo? I was in full survival mode and I had to get out and explore this place. Trips to the zoo to see the polar bears and lights before Christmas, the family center at the art museum, Wildwood Metropark (I’m constantly amazed that the Metropark system is free!) and walks in the neighborhood (I’m guessing I’ve logged over 1000+ hours on the streets of Old Orchard) all became part of my regular routine. I never had time for this before and because of it, I started to see the beauty in everyday things.  It took a newborn to show me the beauty of the seasons, the comfort of spending a day doing nothing at all, and the peace of a good conversation with friends.

I participated in shows at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre and I’ve had countless opportunities to be a musician in ways that I hadn’t even imagined. The Old Orchard Family Group became my support system through all of my identity crisis. Could I have transitioned in another city? Perhaps. But the difference is that Toledo welcomed me with open arms. For this, I am eternally grateful to you.

So why do I love you, Toledo? Because I reinvented myself here. I’ve learned to be a person who appreciates friendship, art, and natural beauty. I no longer need to accomplish huge productions to feel like a success. A play-date that doesn’t end in a trip to the ER gives me the same feeling.

In short, thanks for welcoming me.



Gail is a talented musician who welcomes students in to her home for piano & voice lessons. She is the musical director for Hope Lutheran Church and can be found showing off her singing and acting chops with the Toledo Rep Theatre.

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