Here Say is a project in community storytelling. We travel to a new place each week and ask people to share true stories about things we all experience: love, family, learning and more. To see where we've been, check out our interactive map.
Joe Holtsford says when he was younger, he cared a lot about being popular. He shared some wisdom with us about growing up and figuring out what’s important.
"In elementary school I had a lot of friends, but I really just followed this one guy around because he was the popular guy. But then in middle school I really branched out and started becoming less of a shadow and I found that was a lot more fun. I’ve been doing my own thing since then. I think everyone is really cool, they just have to learn to express it. On the inside they might be scared to be themselves, but really its just about being yourself and showing what you can do and who you are."
Allyson Kasper has a nontraditional family that she’s proud of. For her, growing up meant learning a hard lesson about acceptance.
"Well I grew up my first five years years as an only child. And my mom and my dad talked about having another kid, but they couldn’t, so we ended up adopting my brother from a family in St. Louis. We’re a caucasian family and we ended up adopting a black boy. When my brother was only like 18 months old we had a neighbor down the road. And we used to have barbeques at our house and we would invite all the kids. We were that classic neighborhood where everyone was pretty hunky dory with each other. But we had a family that kind of refused to come over. I didn’t really understand it at that age, because I was only six. But my mom got really angry and upset. Today I believe that everyone should be equal. That definitely taught me that no matter what sex or race you want to associate yourself with, everyone should be equal."
Abigail Fulcher remembers a childhood tale thats a little different from Santa Claus or the boogie man. She says realizing it wasn’t true made her appreciate her parents’ effort and imagination.
"When I was younger, my mom is Hungarian, her dad is Hungarian. And she would tell us there were trolls in the basement. We would go outside in the compost and collect roots and vegetables and all this stuff and make little traps in the basement to catch them and play with them and stuff. And this wasn’t just something we thought or believed was true, it was something that we full heartedly thought and they were a part of our house. It wasn’t until middle school that we actually started realizing that there probably weren’t trolls. She really fostered a lot of creativity and imagination with no TV or technology until we were almost in junior high. We just had a lot of time to make stuff up."
For more stories about growing up, check out our interactive map here.