Hometown Story – Reality vs. Dream

When asked to draw two different maps of my hometown the thought that immediately ran through my head was, what would be considered my hometown. Why you may ask, I have moved many times throughout my life and therefore which town do I consider to be my hometown that had the most impact. After pondering over the many towns I have lived in I chose to go with where my home currently resides, Ballantyne, a town just outside of uptown Charlotte North Carolina. I chose Ballantyne because it is where my family had a home for the longest, just about nine years.


The first map drawing shows what I considered to be my hometown, Ballantyne, in context of its location with uptown Charlotte and where my house is relative to both. Initially I felt I had it in the bag to draw this map; boy was I ignorant. There are four places represented on the map; (1) the physical neighborhood where my home resides, Highgrove, (2) Ballantyne town center, (3) the city of charlotte which is off in the distance about 15 minutes away from my home and (4) the main high school in Ballantyne which is Ardrey Kell High School. It is important to note that our neighborhood is a speck in relation to Ballantyne and the overall Charlotte area.  The high school which looks like a prison is on the map just for helping provide an easier reference for where my home is. I have no affiliation with the school because I went to a different high school.

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The second map is a google map which shows the same representation of my hometown.  When comparing the google map to the hand drawn version, it only confirms my suspicion. First that I am an appalling artist, second the geography class I took last semester didn’t help me in the slightest and third I still have a terrible memory because I missed so many locations. The google map is clearly more accurate and a more detailed representation of the locations near my house, for obvious reasons. The google map shows Ballantyne, Ardrey Kell High school and my home. Charlotte was nowhere on the map because it’s much farther away from Ballantyne than I thought it was. Furthermore, the google map triggered that there were many more landmarks that would provide someone a better appreciation of the size and amenities of my hometown.  I completely forgot that next to my home there was a middle school, Community House, in addition to the high school. There are three main shopping centers in town, Blakeney Village, Stonecrest and Ballantyne Village. There is Ballantyne corporate park which is a large complex of corporate buildings. There are many neighborhoods and two golf courses within the perimeter of Ballantyne. Clearly I am ignorant relative to my hometown.  I think it is safe to say that the google map represents my reality, although I always prefer to dream.


The third map and the second hand drawn map, shows all of the locations that I tend to frequent when living in my hometown. So, to get the obvious out of the way, yes I still see my parents and my dog so my house is on this map. However, what is on this third map that was nowhere on the other two is the school I attended for nine years, The Fletcher School. It is actually located in Charlotte but on the complete other side, about 30 minutes away from my home. The Fletcher School became a second home to me because of the students and teachers I grew close too. Other locations include the movie theater in Stonecrest because I love spending time with friends and family watching many movies. Also, movies are my passion and ultimately I want to have a career as a director of movies. Lastly there is a Barnes and Nobles in the shopping center known as the Arboretum. This location is where my close friends and I always hung out. It’s the place where I have developed relationships that remain important to me today. Like I said above, if the second map is reality, this map represents the dream, the parts of my hometown that have contributed to shaping who I am today.

When it comes to all three of these maps, no matter the inaccuracies or distance problems, these represent the same place. These maps show the same thing in terms of what is generally in the  vicinity but differ in what I want or remember to be in my hometown. Of all the maps, the third map with the important places to me, is my reality. I say this because it represents who I am and my personality, a social person that values close friends and family while having a passion for movies.  A hometown isn’t considered a town by the buildings, it’s made by the people that inhabit it and the memories.






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