I live in Litchfield Park, AZ, located on the outskirts of Phoenix, but this is not where I have always lived. I grew up in Brockport, NY, a small and beautiful town on the outskirts of Rochester and built around the Erie Canal. I loved that town so much that it became a part of me. The little festivals, carnivals and town activities became things that I looked forward to in the summer, once all the snow and ice from winter had melted.
Being a small town, people knew each other, and everyone there had a sense of community and responsibility to each other. They are all very warm, welcoming and interdependent, I miss it. The buildings in the heart of Brockport are all so full of history, all of which were built in the early 1900’s or earlier, and on some you can even see the faint glimmerings of painted billboards from a hundred or so years ago. The history and small town charm captured my heart. My family and I had left for economical reasons, being that much of the North Eastern United States is dependant on manufacturing, the majority of which has all since been outsourced over seas. So all of us, my mother, my father, my brother and I, packed up everything we had and made the move all the way across the country to this small town in Arizona, which I now call home.
Litchfield Park reminds me of Brockport in many ways. Litchfield Park is a small and historical town, started in 1916 by Paul Litchfield. This town started when the Goodyear Tire plant bought land to grow Egyptian cotton for tire cords. Some of the land was then used for agriculture and the rest was residential. What I love best about Litchfield Park is that there is always some sort of festival, outdoor concert or community picnic to participate in where you can meet wonderful and warm people. My favorite festival is the Litchfield Park Summer Arts Festival. In the center of Old Litchfield, the roads are closed and hundreds of booths are set up for the artisans, craftspeople and musicians, the food vendors and much more. This festival in particular has allowed me to see some of the extraordinary talents that are right in my back yard, so to speak. The people that my family and I have met since we have been here have all been so kind and welcoming, which has made moving here less intimidating and more comfortable.
Litchfield Park is unique, and possesses a few things that Brockport does not. What first caught my eye when we arrived here was the breathtaking scenery: the beautiful mountains all around us, the palm trees and desert flowers, the colors in the sunset sky and so on. It is quite amazing. One major difference in particular is that business here is booming, which unfortunately is more than can be said for Brockport, since its major businesses moved their production over seas. When I was in high school, I was trying to juggle three jobs, homework and the swim team all at once, which as one might imagine, is not an easy task. I, as well as most of my friends then, was forced to work so many jobs because each place had only had a few hours a week that they could offer to me. Due to the economic situation, no work place could afford to pay a high school student more than minimum wage. Out here, on the other hand, I was able to find a job very quickly, which is a nice change of pace. My father was laid off from Kodak in 1998 after working there for eighteen years and then was only able to find short-term contracting positions until our move here in 2004. My family and I have been so blessed here, a place we can work and that reminds us in subtle ways of the place we left behind.
Litchfield Park is a beautiful place to live and work and has quickly become a place to love. After leaving Brockport, I thought I would never feel at home anywhere again. I have been very pleasantly surprised. This place has a tight knit community of hard working and compassionate people with just the right mixture of small town charm and big city economy. Overall, it has become the perfect place to live and grow, a wonderful choice of location for anyone to live.