Moving away from home always makes you realize the quirky details about it that no one would understand unless you grew up there. I always joked about Ludlow being a bubble, but a week living in the city showed me how true that really was. Here are 10 signs you are from Ludlow, MA.
1. You’re probably (at least a little bit) Portuguese
I’m really not kidding when I say that pretty much everyone in this town is Portuguese. It’s a huge source of pride in town, and the community is strong. For those, like me, who aren’t, you’re probably friends with someone (or, more likely, a few people) who are. This is one of the big signs you are from Ludlow.
2. You grew up playing soccer
In most American towns, football is the big sport. But in Ludlow, soccer players practically grow on trees. As soon as they’re able to, toddlers are running around kicking soccer balls that are almost bigger than they are. Once you got to high school, soccer season was the only one that mattered (until spring, when all the soccer players did track and field to stay in shape for soccer season). If you grew up playing soccer that’s totally one of the signs you are from Ludlow.
3. You probably unironically owned a pair of Crocs
Crocs seem like the type of thing that are asking to be made fun of. I mean, look at them. I’m not talking about the sandals or sneakers that they make now, I’m talking about the original neon colored clogs with the heel strap and holes in the front for jibbitz. They were especially popular among the female athletes; before games you’d have an entire team of girls changing out of their crocs and into their cleats or shoes.
I specifically remember walking in front of two girls from another school after a volleyball game and hearing one of them say, “wait, so crocs are, like, a thing here?” I almost laughed out loud at how horrified and confused she sounded. Me too, girl, me too.
4. Going back to school was never bad because you knew that Festa was right around the corner
The end of summer vacation is always bittersweet, but in Ludlow we got to look forward to the return of Festa every Labor Day weekend. People come from different states (and even different countries) for the four day celebration of Portuguese culture, and we were lucky enough to have it in our own town!
5. When asked what people do for fun in Ludlow, you respond with, “they leave Ludlow”
There’s definitely something to be said for the “small town New England” vibe, but it leaves something to the imagination when it comes to entertainment. Luckily, though, we’re right near some towns that are actually exciting; if you’re like me, you’ve been up and down Main Street in Northampton a million times, and there’s probably at least one picture on your Instagram of the rainbow crosswalk.
If not Northampton, Mount Tom, Skinner Mountain, and the Notch are short drives away. No matter what you do, it’s better than being one of the people who park and hangout in the Friendly’s parking lot.
6. You’re fiercely defensive about which elementary school was the best
This one only applies to the older folks who were already out of elementary school by the time of the dreaded reorganization in 2009. Before they were split into specific schools for specific grades, it was based on where you lived.
Naturally, there were rivalries once we went to middle and high school about whether East Street, Veteran’s Park (Vet’s for short), or Chapin Street were the best. It’s all based on trivial things, but, I’m just saying, East Street was by far the superior school.
7. You couldn’t wait until you could finally be in Senior Show
Every March the senior class puts on a huge show of skits making fun of the school, each other, and the town. It’s been going on for decades, and it’s probably the biggest part of senior year. It sells out pretty much every year, and people start planning skits as early as freshman year. I didn’t do any senior activity that wasn’t mandatory, and even I was in three skits. This is one of the big signs you are from Ludlow.
8. You probably worked at either Randall’s or Big Y
Small towns are arguably one of the best breeding grounds for small businesses, and Ludlow is no exception. Even if you didn’t work at one of these two, chances are if you worked in town you worked at a small business. A bit of friendly advice, don’t go to either of these places unless you have thirty extra minutes to talk to the twelve people you know who are also shopping there.
Also, get ready for an awkward checkout experience, because you graduated with the girl at the register, and you know each other well enough to feel like you should make conversation, but nothing more than awkward silence ever ends up happening.
9. You were shocked and sad when Friendly’s got shut down for good
I’m pretty sure no one was surprised about this one, but it still hurt. Friendly’s was the only ice cream place in town open year round, and it was open later than Elsie’s. On top of that, it used to be the place that every single middle schooler used to walk to on the last day of school. You grew up going there. Was it a high class restaurant? Not even close. But where it lacks in quality it makes up for in nostalgia, being one of the signs you are from Ludlow.
10. You either love it here or you hate it
Ludlow is the kind of town where one of two things happen once you grow up: you either stay and live here forever, or you get out as soon as possible and move on. It’s a bit of a bubble, and people tend to either find comfort or boredom in that. The location helps, as well, because you don’t have to go far for a quality college education.
Personally, I left. But people stay for a reason, and I’m glad I grew up here. It’s a small town, and it’s nice to graduate with the same people you went to kindergarten with. The area is beautiful, and I have some amazing friends that I wouldn’t have made anywhere else. Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, Ludlow will always be home.