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On Being OF a Place

Bill Palladino, Edible Grande Traverse, Get Involved

ON BEING OF A PLACE

By Bill Palladino

When people ask me where I’m from, I tell them without hesitation that I’m from the Bronx, New York. The answer throws many people off balance; because I have long since lost the coarse phonic cues that would make it easy to predict my origins. I have now assimilated the softer sounds and gestures of my Midwest home.

The query “where are you from?” is, after all, one of the most common questions asked of strangers. It begs for a reference—the first waypoint on a journey to understand who someone is. It pokes at the corners of our private lives, hoping to unearth rich veins of perception. But the fact is the answer cannot reveal much beyond the surface of a stereotype.

I’ve come to realize that