I grew up in a small suburb of Chicago in Illinois called Deerfield. While I was there I enjoyed a perfect "American Dream" style childhood. At the time I did not appreciate all that the town had to offer but as an adult looking back at the experience, it was the perfect place to grow up.
Deerfield is located about 35 miles NW of Chicago so we had the advantage of all the cultural events living in close proximity to a large city one would expect. The music, the museums and the plays that we were able to attend made the experience very rich indeed. Our town had many tree-lined streets that were lovely and it had very nice parks, pools and schools. The downtown area provided excellent shopping opportunities and there were several malls very close to the town as well.
Every holiday was accompanied by parades and I was the flag-bearer on more than one occasion (mostly because I was one of the few girls in the scout troop who could carry the flag for a long time).
We had nice neighborhoods where the people came together for block parties and they visited with one another regularly...everyone knew everyone else and all the kids played together. There were so many kids that it was no trouble at all to put together teams for an impromptu baseball game or a game of stick hockey out on the street at a moments notice.
Deerfield was a great place to grow up and should be marked as one of the best hometowns in America!