Winnie the Pooh lives in the 100-acre wood and though I have read his stories often... I myself didn't grow up anywhere near the forest.
The town of Elk River was small during my childhood years with everything seeming to be within a few blocks of the railroad tracks, the highways and every store in town.
It was the days when no one wondered about the safety of youngsters walking 4 blocks to the pharmacy to buy a piece of candy.
No matter how large Elk River grows there are some particulars that will never change.... and always make it feel like home. Like the cemetery at the end of the street and the triangle of pines on the corner at the top of the hill or the way the haze smoke dwindles from the stacks of the RDF plant.
There is something precious about walking along the railroad tracks (on the service roads) overlooking the river bending into town and knowing that the traffic below will never know that our "growing up" spot is right around the corner.
Of course, change is inevitable. It will always happen. Trailer courts disappear being replaced by Walmarts, Home Depots and giagantic grocery stores. Traffic lights are added and the flow through never seems to fade.
But, no matter how big a city gets, for the heart of a growing up child.... something about it being home remains. It might not be the 100-acre wood but it is home.