Sheryl Aronson


Last issue, we asked readers to share their back-to-school stories with us. Cuyahoga Falls resident Sheryl Aronson’s college classmates thought her Texas story was a tall tale.



When I first arrived on my college campus, no one believed I was from Texas. It wasn’t just that I didn’t have a Texas accent.



My family lived in El Paso, Texas, from the time I was in third grade through high school graduation. When I graduated from high school, my mother decided to return to Cleveland. She, my father, my three older siblings and I were all born here. Most of her family of origin still lived in the Cleveland area, and as a bonus, both of my brothers were at Case Western Reserve University.



A few months after moving to Cleveland (South Euclid, to be exact), I relocated again to the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. I didn’t know anyone there, and was randomly assigned a roommate. The internet and social media did not exist yet to make it easy for roommates to get acquainted before school started. I had written one letter to my roommate, and received one back. My brother drove me to school. We unloaded the car, and I introduced myself to my new hall mates.



No one believed I grew up in Texas! My brother had an Ohio license plate. I didn’t sound like a Texan. (El Paso is as close to the Pacific Ocean as it is to the other end of Texas. That nice southern drawl hails from the other end of Texas, the part that leans toward Louisiana and the rest of the Deep South.) I heard “No you’re not.” “Where are you really from?” “Did Evelyn tell you to say that?”



Evelyn? My new roommate? What did she have to do with it? I hadn’t even met her yet. The story emerged: Evelyn had arrived the day before, after visiting her sister in Alaska. With Alaska on her luggage tags, she convinced everyone she lived there. Later she confessed that she really lived in Binghamton, 160 miles away. Then I show up, telling everyone I am from Texas. It has to be another joke, right?



From Rochester, N.Y., Texas seems just as exotic as Alaska. No wonder they didn’t believe me. I had to show them my driver’s license to prove I really was from Texas.