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Home sweet home?

| Wednesday, December 11, 2019

I’m a proud native of Holland, Michigan. 

Ask anyone, and they will tell you that no introduction of myself is complete without pointing to the left side of my right hand to identify my home of sandy beaches and snow-melted streets. 

So let me tell you a little bit about this town I call home. 

There’s nothing quite like spending summer days on Lake Michigan or getting days off school for a tulip festival. It wasn’t until college that I realized how peculiar it is for students to dress up in authentic Dutch garb complete with clogs just to scrub the main street while being cheered on by members of the community.

If tulip festivals aren’t your cup of tea, there’s always the opportunity to spend time at the beach. Whether it be a hot summer day or admiring the waves on a blustery winter day, it will inevitably be a good time with beautiful views. A personal favorite pastime of mine is to gawk at the immensity of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ summer house and ponder just how easy it would be for one of her yachts to be set free.

As you can imagine in a small, charming town, word travels fast. Especially about something as volatile as second-degree murder and mutilation. 

Let me back up a second to the bleak December day, not much different than this one, where I got a picture in my family group chat of our street being lined with police cars and medical examiners. For a neighborhood active in the community watch Facebook page, this was exceptionally alarming. Thanks to my savvy internet search skills, I quickly learned that my next-door neighbor had been arrested in connection to a recently discovered mutilated body.

While our conversations never exceeded much more than a “hey,” it’s still unsettling to know the guy you spent the past six years head-nodding will be spending the rest of his life in prison. 

The following week, I was home for Christmas break, and instead of sitting at my favorite coffee shop or watching the waves crash onto the beach, I sat in my family room watching the media frenzy unraveling before my own two eyes. Whether it be reporters trying to get comments from his parents (who had also been arrested as accessories at this point) or from neighbors or catching footage of the deceased’s loved ones standing on the street begging the family to release the details of where her head, hands and feet were. It was far more compelling than anything HBO had to offer me. 

Over the course of the next year, I watched the investigation and his inevitable trial unravel. The situation quickly became my anecdote for quiet pauses in conversation, stunning my friends with my extensive knowledge of the subject. 

While my father wasn’t too pleased that our property value had decreased as a result, life in the neighborhood seemed to return to normal quickly after.

Oh Holland, never a dull moment. 

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About Mia Marroquin

Mia Marroquin is a rising senior Communication Studies major at Saint Mary’s. Currently serving as Saint Mary’s News Editor, she hails from Holland, Michigan and is an 80’s movie fanatic. Follow Mia on Twitter @_miamarroquin

Contact Mia