They say we're entitled, narcissistic, lacking work ethic, constantly needing affirmation of our overinflated self-esteem and we just won't leave the shelter of our parents and let them BE already! Well, I say I deserve a day off for my hard work, some recognition for it's superior quality and yes, Mom, I will be at dinner on Sunday.
I'm just trying to hold on to my youth, really. Aren't we all?
Note: Jabs about Californians are satire and not meant to offend
For a short period of time in the mid-1990s, there was a skatepark with moveable ramps and jumps made out of wood set up in an empty cul-de-sac off McCurdy Road. My sisters and I, ages 5, 8 and 10, would watch from a safe distance as teenagers with baggy jeans, chains linked to wallets and grungy haircuts hung out on a piece of land now paved over and called U.S. Highway 101.
A few years before that, there was a restaurant called Nolan's on West Washington Street where an elderly woman yelled at me and my sisters when we excitedly hurried to our table to wait for our burgers and, in her words, "shook the whole building." We were 2, 5 and 7 years old. That building is now Union Bank.
In a little more than two decades, I saw Sequim boom from a small town with three stoplights to a not-quite-as-small town with sprawling housing developments and big box retail. It was hard to see the Robb Farm, with its big barn and white house with shamrocks on the shutters, turn into a parking lot with a Walmart.
Coming back home after a few years away at college and starting my career in California, I was proud to tout my "local" label and tell people about my family's homestead up Deer Park Road, established in 1884. (I hope I die before it is turned into a housing development or strip mall.)
My mom was a Sequim High School cheerleader who grew up two blocks from where I live now and my dad was one of the last students to attend class at the old Fairview Elementary School. I told people, "I'm as local as it gets."
I attended public meetings where newcomers (you know, those Californians who invaded our peaceful countryside over the past 15 years) were angry about policies and procedures put in place by US — third-, fourth- and fifth-generation residents. I was baffled by the attitude that just because suddenly there seems to be more of them than there are us we should change our way of life to fit what they want for themselves. There is a certain tension between "locals" and "newcomers" and a suspicion that because someone is new to the area they couldn't possibly love it as much as "us" or have its best interest at heart.
That is wrong.
In a way, I think people who choose to move to the Sequim area and buy land and build homes and live out their years here may actually love it more — or at least differently — than those of us born into it who don't know anything else and had no choice. They may be more appreciative of the sunsets over the spit, the foggy mornings that burn off to make way for sunny afternoons and the way people look each other in the eye and say, "Hello." I know that when I was growing up here I didn't think much of any of those things. But when I chose to move back in 2010 after a hot summer landlocked in Northern California, I couldn't wait to breathe more of that fresh air off the water.
Being local isn't about how deep your roots go; it's about the geographic area you call home.
For most of my life, I've called the Sequim-Port Angeles area my home. Next week, as my husband and I move to the giant mess that is east of Seattle, I hope to start to make my home somewhere else and eventually feel like a local there.
I want to thank Jim Casey, our former editor, for taking a chance and hiring me on May 17, 2010, and our current editor, Michael Dashiell, for letting me do my thing and always being on my side. It's been a great ride and I'll miss you all.