Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Smaller City That Could

This time around, I'm going to touch upon a topic very dear to me. Something I am very proud of. Something I fight for. Something I'll ramble on and on about it if you ask me to. Something that, on certain days, I want to write off, but can't because my love is way too strong for it. That something is the place I call my home, and that place being Oshkosh, WI.

I was not born in Oshkosh, rather Myrtle Beach, SC. However, shortly after my birth, my father got a job at Buckstaff Co., one of the last remaining lumber mills in Oshkosh (if my facts are correct, I believe Oshkosh at one time had somewhere around twenty-six in the early 1900s, earning the nickname "Sawdust City"). So, the Patas, with my mom being from Chicago and my dad from Cleveland, moved to Wisconsin in 1984. I don't remember Myrtle Beach whatsoever, my earliest memories are from Oshkosh, which makes it kind of weird when people ask if I am originally from Oshkosh. Yes? No? Maybe? Perhaps, better yet, it's complicated.

Let's look at the city of Oshkosh, WI for a minute now. With a population of approximately 65,000, Oshkosh is located in Northeastern Wisconsin (even though it's much more eastern than north, but that's besides the point), as part of the Fox Valley. For those who don't think Oshkosh is part of the Fox Valley, yes, Oshkosh is. The FOX River runs through the city, basically splitting it in half, ending in Oshkosh. The Fox Valley is named that because of the Fox River, see how it works? Anyway, we are about 75 miles due north of MIlwaukee, and 50 miles south of Green Bay. That explanation usually works, seeing how most people have heard of the Brewers and the Packers. 

Oshkosh has the third largest Wisconsin university (enrollment being approx. 16,000), appropriately named the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, which is where I graduated from. We are located on the western shore of Lake Winnebago, the largest inland lake in the country (outside of the Great Lakes). Oshkosh was once known for Oshkosh B' Gosh (which I was a child model for, thank you very much), but sadly, the overalls aren't made in town anymore. Yearly, Oshkosh hosts EAA's AirVenture, a week long gathering and convention for Experimental Aircrafts and Aviation. During the week of AirVenture, the once used Wittman Airport becomes the busiest airport in the world, due to the amount of air traffic. America's oldest independent record store, The Exclusive Co., resides in downtown Oshkosh, alongside other fantastic local businesses.