If someone asks or it pertains to the conversation, I tell them I’m from Saint Louis, Missouri. The city is surrounded by a county that bears the same name with so many different municipalities, it’s hard to keep track of which city you’re in as you drive on a major road or highway.
I moved to Bloomington, Illinois from about 30 miles outside of Saint Louis in a neighboring county (St. Charles) that is still included in the description of the “St. Louis Metropolitan Area”. I grew up in Overland, which isn’t even part of the descriptions people give about St. Louis County.
People tend to define the areas of the county into compass directions, so you can be from North, South, or West County and the people near St. Louis in IL are on the “East Side”. That doesn’t cover all of the areas, but includes the most common. Overland, along with the neighboring cities of St. Ann, St. John, and Breckenridge Hills, is defined by its residents as “North County. People who live north of Lambert International Airport will tell you that they are truly in North County and Overland is closer to being in West County. Those who live in West County, west of I-270 and South of Page Avenue will tell you that Overland is definitely not part of West County. This is because West County is believed to be a more upscale area of the county and North County is considered to be a lower to lower middle class area. This is especially true for the parts where North County joins the City of St. Louis. There are people who define themselves as being in West County when by a map, they live in South County. The people in South County don’t seem to be hip on being defined as St. Louisans from the ones that I’ve met. A native St. Louis resident may ask another St. Louisan where they went to high school to gauge their social class and/or where they grew up.
There is no real map or solid geographical way to define any of these areas. The residents will argue specific landmarks or roads are the unofficial dividers, which would leave some people who live in the same city living in different directional definitions of the county. The city of Berkeley, for example, is on both sides of I-170 and both sides of Lambert Airport. The city of Chesterfield is pretty far south on the map, but also borders the Missouri River, which is geographically the western border of the county.
Two years ago, I moved to Bloomington, Illinois. I’m about halfway between St. Louis and Chicago. These two midwest cities are rivals in most cases. I am a fan of the St. Louis Blues hockey team, who is the rival team of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues have not yet won a Stanley Cup (since their formation in 1967) and the Blackhawks are the current champions. I’m a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, who enjoy picking on the cursed Chicago Cubs for going more than 100 years without a World Series Championship win. I’m not a fan of the St. Louis football team. Mostly because when I was a kid, the team was the Cardinals, who were moved to Arizona. The Rams weren’t a thing until after I was a Kansas City Chiefs fan. So while I will root for the Rams against other teams, my heart is with KC (and Joe Montana).
Since I live at the midway point off of I-55, the division of the fans for hockey and baseball are about even. The strangest thing is going to a restaurant or bar and seeing all of the Chicago sports team items hanging with the Cardinals baseball stuff. I’m mostly a hockey fan and there is very little Blues hockey decor on the walls. Perhaps a Stanley Cup would make some Blues items begin to decorate the walls of some places.
I call Bloomington my home now. I’m not even sure how to describe what part of town I live in. I know that west Bloomington is not a very safe place to reside and that isn’t where I live. Other than that, I have no way of describing where I live without giving locals my exact street or subdivision. I tolerate my neighbors being fans of Chicago without giving them too much grief. You can’t fault me for cheering for the teams I grew up loving, even if I had moved more than a couple hours from where I grew up.
Side note: The Blues name is not after a color. If you look at the team logo, you’ll see a musical note. This is a Bluenote. Now you know.
Thanks for reading this post. I’m going to try to keep it up once a week at the least. If the mood strikes me, I might do a bonus once in awhile. If you like my posts, please feel free to share and link back to my blog.