There are some personality traits that just come with being from Northern PA. I may mention the “NP’ers” from time to time, so this is for reference.
I grew up in a small town. Very small. I graduated with 137 people, and at the time of graduation I would have been able to tell you a great deal about each of them as well as their families. A “new” family was one that hadn’t been around for 50yrs. My mother was treated as an outsider my entire childhood because she didn’t grow up in Troy. * Thank goodness that my grandfather had run the Acme for 40yrs or I’d have had zero credibility because I didn’t start in kindergarten with everyone else.
I’ll throw in backstory just for shit and giggles—I didn’t start K with everyone else because my maternal grandmother was sick and my Mom and I moved to MD to take care of her. My Mom put me in Catholic School because I was school-starting-age, and the head nun told her “She will be nothing but trouble in K because she knows too much. We will put her in first to challenge her and she’ll figure out how to fit in.”. When my grandmother passed away in October, we moved back to PA and my Mother insisted I go into 1st grade because that’s where I had been. The school district in Troy had to deal with my Mom on a pretty regular basis and now that I am a parent….boy do I feel bad for those folks! lolz
When you know the same people for so long there really aren’t many choices, socially speaking. When we left elementary and moved to middle school I was not in with the popular kids, but I wasn’t un-popular exactly. There is a weird middle ground that no one ever talks about, but that’s pretty much where I was for the rest of my academic days. You can try to get out of the middle, but very few make it. I always wanted to be with the “cool kids”, but the friends I had were awesome and we had a blast doing things we thought were rebellious. Like sneaking in to a movie after we’d just seen one, chewing vitamin C to see who could stand the sour longer, or making “potions” with all the stuff in the bathroom cupboard. That’s the thing about NP folk, they are as dedicated as they are stubborn, and once your “class status” is set the only things that can move you are a huge weight loss/some other kind of big physical change, or marriage.
If I had to sum up my own NP qualities that I know I will never lose:
- Sense of humor. Blue Balls, PA. Intercourse, PA. We. Are. Hilarious.
- Chill factor–because if you get stuck behind an Amish buggy in lower PA you need to just keep your shit together and remember that wherever you are going, you’ll get there when you get there.
- Emotionally stoic–because we don’t show feelings. ever
- Being helpful–because if someone needs help you just do it no matter who it is.
- Pride. Penn State pride, PA pride, it’s something we all have.
- Vengefulness—because we know it’s better to plot someone’s slow demise than to slash tires. Kidding! Or am I?
I wish my children could grow up in a town similar to mine…a small tight community where everyone basically got along(or faked it, because NP’s can fake it like a champ), it was safe, we looked out for each other, and at the end of the day, it was just a good place to live in a beautiful part of the country.
*while I encourage comments of any kind, please know when I make statements like this I’m speaking from my experience and how I saw people treat each other. I’m not judging, I’m not gossiping, I’m not back-stabbing, I’m simply relating what my 40yr old brain remembers from when I was growing up.