One of my favorite quotes has to be “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you came from”. Most of my friends and I are in our 20’s; searching for work, acceptance, or some sort of sense of belonging to society. Some of us were fortunate to find work out of school, many still looking. Regardless, the saying plays a big part in my life solely because it’s telling us not to forget our roots. To me, that means always remember where you came from. Wherever I end up in this world, whatever happens down the line, when someone asks me where I’m from, I will forever tell people “I’m from Stamford, and proud of it”.
Growing up in Stamford taught me a lot more about life than any
classroom ever will. I started my life in Stamford living on the east side on Wardwell Street. My mom and dad had the bottom floor of a two family house which became my first playground. Once our family got bigger (aka my little brother was born), we moved to our new house off of Summer Street, the place I’ll forever call my home. I remember going across the
street where Ridgeway Shopping Center is when there was a Baskin Robins and getting ice cream, or playing capture the flag with all the neighborhood kids. Whatever I was doing, I knew I was safe and was only a walk (or run, depending on how much trouble we got in) back to my house. Don’t worry though; I didn’t get in too much trouble, I was too fast for them!
School was the most fun for me. Not so much the whole “learning” thing, but it was a place that I got to make friends and hang out with the ones I already had. Stamford has always had a good amount of diversity, and I experienced people of different races, religions, sexual orientations, and
nationalities at an early age. It didn’t matter to me what you were or who you were, as long as you liked the Power Rangers as much as I did. The
friends that I made in this town will be with me forever, wherever I go. Even when I went off to college, there were kids from Stamford that, although I may not have known them all that well, I knew always had my back solely because we were both from the same town and vice versa.
Being a kid who always was hungry (and eventually a man with the same appetite), I knew that Stamford had a food selection for whatever my tongue’s palate was craving. When I would hang out with my buddies who lived near High Ridge Road, we’d ride our bikes to Garden (sorry kids, it wasn’t Reddi Rooster) and grab a high schooler with an Arnold Palmer. Obviously, after hockey games at Terry Connors we’d celebrate a win or
loss with a Colony pizza or stop by McDonalds on exit 9 for a happy meal. Now when I’m hungry, I’ll either stop at Enzo’s and get the “Phil Special” or swing by The Village Table to grab some bangin’ tacos. Whatever I was craving, we had it. To this day, I will put up an argument with anyone who says that there’s nowhere to eat around here.
My family is what I consider most important to me. One thing I’ve learned is to not forget that as you get older, so does everyone else in your family, and to cherish the moments we have with them while we’re here. I always pick my grandfather’s brain about the history of Stamford. He and his brothers founded DeLeo Brothers Construction & Development Company and helped shape Stamford into what it is today. Among their accomplishments to fame was the construction of the overpass and road, on I-95, Exit 9 and the Mianus River Dam. He would tell me about the
integration of neighborhoods, the construction of major streets, and just how the quality of life in Stamford back then was a lot better. It makes me think: what does that mean for the quality of life in Stamford now? Is it worse? Better? Many can argue both sides of this coin, but no matter what they say, chances are they’re happy to call Stamford home.
“You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you came from”. I will never forget about the town that helped raised me. I know this may sound redundant at this point, but I can’t help it! I love where I’m from! No matter where you go, what you become, or what you do, always be proud of where you were come from.