Back Where I Come From

There are people all over this country who reminisce about growing up and their life in their own personal hometowns, and as evidenced in many of the pieces in this arena of our local media, I am included in that group.

Many of those who still remember what it was like in their hometown may have left that town or city to establish themselves elsewhere for a variety of reasons, maybe to move up in their careers, or because of the availability of a job or position elsewhere, or they relocated due to family situations, and then there were those many who found their jobs, careers, and families right in their own home town.

I know in our case (those of us who stayed here in Jamestown) we have seen many changes to our little city, and at times we’ve commented, or jabbed, complained, and sometimes gotten angry about what has happened to our community, due to the literal “state” of affairs in New York, and the declining population and job opportunities of our city possibly (probably) because of employment and/or economics. The point is, that in many people’s situations their hometowns might not be what they used to be, but it is always fun, especially for people in my generation, to look back and remember what it was like growing up in our home town.

As mentioned, some of the pieces in this column, since its inception about four years ago, have focused on the stores, shops, and businesses of Jamestown, the entertainment venues of this area, the family activities shared by many families in our home town, and the people who have stood out in this community, past, present, and both. There are people who were born here who made their mark in entertainment, politics, sports, business, industry, religion, and so many other areas, and those who have quietly raised their families and been hard working, productive citizens of this community, which brings pride to an area, no matter what changes may have come about to take some of the luster from our hometown, but much of that is just on the outside.

On the inside, recalling my past, I remember a local radio station, playing a song, which I believe was titled, “Jamestown, New York … That’s My Hometown.” We used to love hearing that song as we drove around town seeing the search lights shining over Caprino’s Furniture, or as we headed to Rockman’s or the A & P to pick up some groceries, or when we pulled into the first ever area McDonald’s after our Sunday family drive. I still remember the melody and the chorus of that tune, though the complete set of lyrics has escaped my mind through the years. The memory of the song and the pride in this community, by those of us who grew up here, wasn’t, isn’t, can’t be, and never will be diminished, regardless of employment or economy.

About seven weeks ago, Sally and I trekked to Burgettstown, Pa., for the sixth consecutive year, donning our Hawaiian shirts, and me, my straw hat with a shark on the front of the brim and parrot on the back, as we transformed ourselves into our “Parrothead” personas and partied with about 28,000 other lovers and followers of Jimmy Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band at their annual visit to the First Niagara Pavilion about a half hour from Pittsburgh. One of the members of Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band is five-time Country Music Association Award Winner (Musician of the Year), Mac McAnally, who is a songwriter, singer, musician extraordinaire, and has collaborated with Jimmy Buffett on writing many songs which are used in the performances of the band and both artists individually. One of McAnally’s original songs is one which is almost annually performed at the concert, and it always reminds me of my hometown.

The song is titled, “Back Where I Come From,” and it has a chorus which I will bet, sends many back to the days of growing up and living in their hometowns, just like it does me. Some of words included in this song include:

Chorus:

“Back where I come from,

Where I’ll be when it’s said and done.

I’m as proud as anyone,

That’s where I come from.

One set of lyrics:

“Some say it’s a backwards place,

Narrow minds on a narrow way,

But I make it a point to say,

That’s where I come from.”

Then the ending is a repetition of the chorus a couple of times.

As I said, every time I hear that song and sing along to it, I go back to some memories of growing up in Jamestown, as I am sure many of the 28,000 other Parrotheads did the same with regards to their hometown. It’s the kind of song that sends you back to a time and place when things were a little more innocent, and thoughts of stuff like black and white television and home cooking come to mind. It seems to do the same thing to me as the song, “Jamestown, New York … That’s My Hometown” did for me, and so many, back in my youthful days.

Jamestown, New York: Home of Lucille Ball, Robert H. Jackson, Roger Tory Peterson, Reuben Fenton, 10,000 Maniacs, Jim McCusker, Brad Anderson, Charles Goodell, Stan Lundine, minor league baseball and so much more, connections to Roger Goodell, Nellie Fox, Donn Clendenon, Randy Johnson, and so many more, and close proximity to Chautauqua Institution, two state parks, Chautauqua Lake and so many other great places. No, it isn’t what it used to be, but it is still a place that lets me say, and sing, “Back where I come from, where I’ll be when it’s said and done, I’m as proud as anyone, that’s where I come from.”

Jamestown, New York: “That’s my Home Town!”