Growing up in Roscoe, Illinois was low-key the best
Rockton was OK too, I guess
Roscoe, Illinois — a suburb of the larger, more imposing Rockford — is home to, well, almost nothing noteworthy. It’s a small, quiet, middle-class kind of place, but nonetheless had a certain charm.
I moved to Roscoe from an even smaller town in eastern Kentucky when I was in seventh grade. Though there was nothing outwardly special about the town, 12-year-old me was instantly enamored — compared to where I’d lived before, Roscoe was simply teeming with fun things to do. (Seriously, my OG hometown was an hour from the nearest movie theater. Let that sink in.) I traded my Curious George t-shirts for Hollister polos, learned what a “cul-de-sac” was, and generally tried to acclimate to this new suburban lifestyle.
Now that my mom has migrated back to her old Kentucky home, I’m left with no real connection to Roscoe and honestly might never have reason to go back. Even though there was nothing out of the ordinary about Roscoe and day-to-day life seemed drab, in hindsight, it was still an A+ place to grow up. If you were ever a tween or teen in the Roscoe/Rockton area, all of this will be a tad too familiar.
No one could pronounce ‘Hononegah’
It probably took my mom and I like, an entire year after we moved to Roscoe to learn that it was HAH-NO-NEE-GUH.
Wal-Mart was the place to be
You couldn’t set foot in the Rockton Wal-Mart without running into between one and three dozen people you know. Whether it was 4pm or 3am, shit was always popping. Where else would you go when you had $20 of your mom’s money burning a hole in your pocket?
CherryVale Mall was trash, but you still went weekly
When you were tired of Wal-Mart and looking for a little more variety, where better to aimlessly wander than CherryVale? I’m pretty sure getting dropped off at the mall with your friends was a middle school rite of passage, especially if you were so hype to hit up Hot Topic. Or, if you’re me, you just go alone and play with the puppies at Furry Babies.
Flying Pig runs were everything
TBT to when it was still in a shack in the Hilander parking lot. Even my mom, the pickiest woman alive, loved her some Flying Pig. If it was summertime, there was no doubt you were heading to Flying Pig at least once a day to suck down a Sour Gummi Worm snowcone while you socialized with pretty much every HHS student and staff member.
…unless you were a Dairyhäus loyalist
To be fair though, Dairyhäus’ ice cream was/is the fucking bomb.
You definitely smoked weed at Old Stone Bridge
Well I mean, I didn’t because I was fucking lame. But I still knew what was up. An anonymous source even told me he once “stole a pot plant from there.” *Books a flight back to Roscoe*
You lived for Old Settler’s Days
Unless you had a shred of self-respect, in which case you stayed far away from that breeding ground for horny eighth graders. Still, I might have ventured out a time or two and braved the prepubescent crowd just to snag a corndog and an elephant ear. Don’t press your luck by getting on the Zipper, though — you probably won’t make it out alive.
You secretly loved Rock N Bowl
Look, I am the worst bowler in the world. But make that shit glow in the dark and throw on a copy of Now 14 and I’m fucking there. Sure, it smelled like an ash tray, but nothing could make your weekend lit AF faster than a text saying “wanna go to Rock N Bowl?” If nothing else, go for the cheese fries.
Edward’s fucking Apple Orchard
If heaven were a real place, this is it. You don’t need any other reason to love Roscoe other than Edward’s. Their apple pie (with ice cream or cheese, depending on how disgusting you are) is second to none. BRB, drooling.
You knew JMK Nippon was far superior to Shogun
Please don’t even argue. If you disagree, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. I still have wet dreams about the sushi from JMK, and I now live in NYC, if that tells you anything.
The harsh winters didn’t even phase you
If you grew up in Roscoe, you could probably move to Russia without even flinching. Snow days were few and far between because the town was so well prepared to clean up giant-ass mounds of snow before your 6am alarm for school had even gone off.
Having Chicago nearby was a low-key godsend
If your parents were ~chill~ they totally let you and your friends take the Metra into the city every now and then. Plus it was of optimal distance for the occasional field trip into the city, which felt extremely glamorous to us lowly high schoolers.
If nothing else, Roscoe/Rockton was home to some pretty great people
Yes, this is one of those predictable sappy endings. Looking back on it now, it’s hard to believe I spent almost 8 years calling Roscoe my home, and now I might never go back. While I’m not one to pine for my high school days, there are definitely plenty of things to miss now that I’m all grown up (cough Beef-A-Roo cough).
It wasn’t a particularly dignified or exciting place to grow up, but the students at Hononegah — among them some seriously brilliant and talented people — make me proud to be a former resident of Roscoe.