Sandra Sepaniak

lot of Western students say that they hail from the Quad Cities area, and I’m no exception to this. Though I was born in Geneseo — a small town a few miles east of the Quad Cities, I’ve spent my whole life in the area.

I’m aware of some of the stereotypes people have against us. Heck, I’m also aware of the stereotypes we have against each other, but I’ll get to that later. It’s high time that a few of those were debunked, or at least explained.

Myth: We all sell drugs.

Obviously, this is completely untrue, but not completely baseless. Several major interstates intertwine in the QC area, including I-80, which runs from coast to coast. Naturally, with I-80, I-74, I-88 and I-280 (among others) all in the mix, there’s bound to be a transfer of illegal substances and a drug bust or two.

But, where doesn’t that happen? There have been big busts in Chicago, Macomb, Peoria and just about everywhere else drugs are sold. The Quad Cities really isn’t all that different in that respect.

Myth: Everybody gets lost driving through the Quad Cities.

This one actually is true, particularly when driving off the main roads such as Kimberly or the Avenue of the Cities. Though I’m not entirely sure if this is the real reason, I believe it’s because the cities are so close together. Not all of the roads were planned with each city in mind, so sometimes the roads just end.

Furthermore, there are a ton of one-way roads, making navigation even trickier.

Myth: There is nothing but corn there.

False. We also have soybeans.

All joking aside, there’s actually plenty of stuff in the Quad Cities, almost none of them involving corn.  We have a huge river and plenty of history and entertainment to go with it — riverboats, casinos, a few small but lovely beaches and some of the greatest fall driving around.

In addition, we are also home to several museums for art, science and history and scores of restaurants, theaters and shopping malls. We host the John Deere Classic, an annual stop on the PGA Tour. Not to mention, we do host several big jazz and blues festivals — the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival comes to mind — and are also home to other musical groups such as an oratorio society and our own symphony orchestra.

Go about 12 miles out of the immediate area. There, anyone who is still interested will find the cornfields.

Myth: We’re all a bunch of stuck up jerks.

Granted, there probably are a few jerks in every town (the entire city of Philadelphia comes to mind), but we really aren’t all that pretentious. In fact, it’s a bit of a running joke that we tend to make fun of people depending on what side of the Mississippi they’re from. That aside, we really don’t have our heads jammed that far up where the sun doesn’t shine. Take my word for it.

I’ll be honest; it’s actually a pretty good place to start your life. Some people just never leave. While I can’t say I’m one of them, I can certainly admit that I didn’t completely hate growing up there. I fully recommend taking a weekend trip to a museum and a stop at the Whitey’s Ice Cream factory for some of the most delicious ice cream in the Midwest.