I live in Annawan, Illinois.
I like it here a lot; it is very small, having only 900 to 1,000 people living here. It’s the kind of small town that you would wave at a car passing by you, even if you do not know who they are. You would help your neighbor out if they had some sort of problem, or if they had a tree knocked down or something.
In July 2008, there were a series of very strong, straight line winds. They were around 70 miles per hour, and they hit Annawan. Since there are few big buildings to block the wind, they knocked several trees down and caused some damage to houses. The power was out for around two days or so. But, during that time I remember very distinctly and clearly, that I got together with several friends, and we all walked around town, helping others out by moving dead tree branches away to the streets where they would be carried off, or even cutting off limbs to the trees. Fortunately during this storm, I do not think anyone was ever hurt, and if anyone was, it was very minute.
I have not the foggiest clue why, but this goes down in my memory as one of the most fun times in my life. I liked being with my friends, helping others, or having some people come to sleep in our camper — it had electricity, since it was one of the few places with power.
It might have been the fact the whole community was working together. Walking out and seeing people helping an older lady, incapable of doing any of these tasks by herself, is really heart touching.
If someone is in need, our community helps. It’s a town where everyone knows one another, and smiles at each other, and treats each other kindly.
In 2010, a very similar event occurred. We were hit by another series of these straight line winds. I do not think they had more intensity, or if they did. I do not seem to be able to remember this more recent event. All I remember is that the community still worked together to get the task done.
I really enjoy living here for all these reasons. I know that when I grow up, I will be able to look back and remember the names of my friends and neighbors, or even the people I only knew the names of. Knowing that allows me to understand I won’t become complacent; it makes me want to go back to those times. I’m glad that I know that.
I love feeling safe in my small town with no crime or anything of the nature. Even if you don’t like someone who lives here, you have other people to be friends with. I could be best friends with some people and even learn from them how to behave better to make more friends, until virtually, the community is your friend. This whole concept is enough to satisfy my human nature. I wouldn’t want to live in any other place.
Kyle Davis, 13, is an eighth-grader at Annawan Junior High. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.