I had grown up in Illinois 30 miles outside of Chicago. Where everything you did outside of school was pretty much anonymous. Anonymous is defined as lacking individuality, uniqueness, distinction, not being seen or acknowledged. For a teenager the suburbs of Chicago was a pretty happy anonymous place. There is a lot to do if you are not being held responsible for your actions.
Before you go thinking I was a bad kid though, I wasn't....my old high school friends will vouch for me. I truthfully was afraid to get in trouble...afraid someone would see me or tell. So I was good all the time, did my homework, was polite, kind and helpful.
I didn't realize that folks didn't know who I was, until one day after college on my way home from work. I was stuck in the infamous Chicago traffic and listening to music. When the young man in the car behind me started smiling at me in the rear view mirror. I had my sunglasses on so I was careful not to move my head just my eyes. But he still seemed to know every time I was looking.
Finally when traffic started to move he pulled alongside my car. Imagine my surprise when he proceeded to tell me how pretty I was and asked me to marry him! Right there on the highway I was proposed to by a total stranger. I smiled and politely told him he was too late I was already engaged. He seemed truly sad, laughed and said oh well...and good luck, before he drove away.
5 years after Mark and I were married we were settling into our house here in Sheboygan. We were new here and wanted to take Erik out to the park. Along our walk we were passed by not 1 or 2 but 3 separate groups of teens who said hello to us. I was shocked and then i realized they weren't anonymous. They assumed somewhere, somehow we would know them or their parents so they were just being kind, nice people.
I see this a lot in Sheboygan, even more today then back in 1997. I see it at the store I run and I'm proud of my customers, they welcome in total strangers. They encourage them to try a game, watch what is going on or visit. The best part is when our younger members are prompted to introduce themselves and out comes their hand too for a shake. WOW. It actually takes my breath away. I'm glad my kids are growing up in Sheboygan where something so simple as a hello, a handshake and a name, takes away all anonymity.
~Happy Summer Sheboygan! Love, Lynn