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You are my home and the perfect place for my family to grow

Dear Toledo,

I’ve never been much of a letter writer, in fact at this phase in my life, I’m lucky to be able to compose a witty text message, let alone a missive to the city that I call home, but I’m going to give this a try. I committed to writing the letter long before sitting down to actually write said letter.  So in true procrastinator mode, I read the entire archive of Love Letters to Toledo over again. Then? Then I sat…what could I say about Toledo that hadn’t been said? What part could I highlight that hasn’t already been placed in the spotlight?  Then I realized that the thing that I love most about the letters is viewing Toledo through another person’s eyes…seeing their perspective. So now, you get mine.

Perspective is a funny thing. It changes over time as you learn, grow, age…  Toledo of my childhood felt enormous. Driving to the south end to visit my grandparents felt long enough to elicit several “are we there yets?”, as I had not yet learned that you could get from our West Toledo home to just about anywhere in the metro area in twenty minutes. Once there, my favorite thing to do was to walk down the street to what I referred to as “the field”, to pick my fill of Queen Ann’s lace and other wildflowers.  I loved that field, and I still remember my five year old sense of outrage when someone dared to build a house in MY field.  See? Perspective… To me, that was a field in the country and it in no way felt like the empty lot that it was.

As I grew older, Toledo started to feel smaller.  In fact, as I reached my teen years it felt down-right suffocating (as most things seem to feel in teen years).  I wanted to get out.  It was a popular sentiment amongst my friends, and it was definitely not popular to want to stay.  But what did I know? In one of those funny twists of fate, I did not “get out” and instead stayed right in Toledo where I met the person whom I plan to write all the other chapters of my life, and we met on the very first day of school at The University of Toledo.

I went on to get my first “real” job, to get married, to buy a house, to buy another house in Old Orchard (arguably the best neighborhood in Toledo), and we started our family.  After becoming a parent, my perspective on Toledo shifted yet again, from Toledo…the housing is so affordable to, Toledo…great place to raise a family. It really is!  Toledo holds so many opportunities for a young family.  Metroparks to explore, a world class museum, an award winning zoo, a wonderful library system, farmer’s markets, parades, festivals, UT football games, the list could go on and on.   My Instagram is a testament that there is always something going on in Toledo…you just have to reach out and grab it!!

So thank you Toledo, for being my roots, for giving me room to grow and the time to really appreciate what a wonderful city you are. You are my home and the perfect place for my family to grow.

Michelle Harrison

 

Michelle is a Toledo native and busy mom of four young kiddos.  Chances are she’s in her minivan circling the city, and she’s annoyed that you are turning left…because she’s five minutes late due to a lost shoe or a child’s ill-timed bowel movement.   She’s an avid photographer, and while she used to spend hours in a dark-room, she now contents herself with fun filters on Instagram. She bakes, knits and has more things on her to-do list than hours in the day.  She is thrilled to join the Love Letters to Toledo team!