A collection of love letters written to the town.
How I appreciate who you are.
Oh Toledo, how I appreciate who you are, and I’m happy that you don’t try to be more than just that. You succeed as a mid-sized, Midwestern city with a very modest view of yourself. You are what some people would call, “realistic”. Because of this, you tend to fall victim to the ‘Grass is Greener’ syndrome. People constantly fault you for what you don’t have, instead of appreciate you for the fantastic qualities that you do have. It’s simple really. If you were warmer, had mountains and taller buildings no one would ever leave you. But you don’t, so people do.
I fell victim to this voracious disease back in 2004. Upon graduating from eight years on Bancroft (four at SFS and four at UT), I packed my bags and headed for the greener pastures of Atlanta, GA. I took a position with a large company that I interned with while at UT. I thought I had lived my last days in the Glass City. Atlanta was bright and big and had a lot to offer. I quickly fell in love with the things that I thought Toledo didn’t have. Fast forward six months, I longed for the things that Toledo had. Most notably was the birth of my second niece, a beautiful, pigeon-toed baby that would soon become my goddaughter (I share her pigeon-toedness). I made the decision to move back “home” in January 2006. I came back without a job, but with confidence that I tried my hand at something different and chose to come back to the city that I loved. That city is you, Toledo.
In November 2009, you happened to lead me to Fusion Bistro in Cricket West where I would meet my future wife. She was a beautiful brunette who essentially led a parallel life to me. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to catholic high schools and the University of Toledo at the same time, and somehow never met. She knew the same people that I did, and even hung out at my college house. Toledo, I think you were waiting until we were mature enough to not mess it up. Thanks for that and thanks for Fusion!
In May 2015, you and your fantastic community helped my family and I get through the passing of my mother. You helped turn a gut-wrenching time into a celebration. If I somehow wasn’t sold on you before this experience, I certainly was after. It was validation that the decision I had made nearly a decade earlier, to come back, was correct.
As I stepped back from these experiences, I realized what makes you special. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have tall buildings, mountains or warmer weather, because what you do have equates to your identity. You have great people, supportive local businesses, historical places and buildings, solid suburbs that work well with each other, a growing urban core, beautiful Metroparks, affordable housing that makes outsiders jealous, appropriately sized venues for entertainment. The list goes on and on. It’s true that every time a Toledoan moves away, another city gains a thread of Toledo, and most of the time, that thread is of high quality. But I would encourage people to get to know you and love you for who you are. If they do, my guess is they’ll see that the grass is pretty darn green in Toledo.
The local pub, Fusion, is a favorite spot of John’s. Not only is it a couple blocks from home, but many significant life events have been encapsulated there, including where he first met his lovely wife, Liz. So it was only fitting that we caught up with them both there for a sneaky drink and a fun photo shoot!