Let’s not take Altoona for granted

Built on the railroad industry and nestled in the valleys of central Pennsylvania lies the small town of Altoona, and this is my thank you letter to the town that I am lucky to call home.

Dear Altoona:

While you might not seem like much to an outsider, you mean everything to the people who have called you home over the years.

You are full of people who were born and raised in this town and then continue to raise their own family and grow old here as well.

You have taught us all some valuable lessons over the years and provided us with friends and memories that will last for a lifetime.

As kids, we all enjoyed playing with our neighborhood friends in your streets until our parents called us home, and as we grew older, we began to cherish those Friday nights that we spent under the lights at Mansion Park cheering on our high school football team.

Sports were a big part of our childhood, whether we played soccer at Garfield Park or Little League at Fairview Ballpark.

As we grew older, we began to appreciate the rivalry that was present among Altoona and Bishop Guilfoyle students, and you knew that when these two schools faced each other in athletics that you had to be there to support your school like never before.

Some of us may wish at times that we could move away to a bigger city, but we know that there would be countless unique things that we would miss about you.

We would miss the beautiful Allegheny Mountains that surround you and seeing a Sheetz on every other street corner.

We know that life just wouldn’t be the same without a weekend breakfast at Tom & Joe’s or a dinner at Mike’s Court followed by a sweet dessert treat from the Meadows.

What would the summer be without a few nights spent watching a Curve game and enjoying some fireworks afterward or stopping by one of the local churches’ summer festivals?

While you have changed greatly over the years, and many people love to reminiscence on what you were in the past, we love how you are growing and developing with the addition of more and more local businesses and attractions every year.

If we ever do leave you, we are sure to return eventually, even if it’s only for a short visit.

Every time we return to you, we are warmly greeted by the sound of trains rolling through town and the sight of the magnificent Cathedral skyline.

Thank you, Altoona, for shaping us all and being the best place to call home.

Truby, 19, is a 2015 graduate of Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School. She enters her sophomore year at Saint Vincent College.