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Old 04-03-2009, 11:47 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,186,293 times
Reputation: 22375

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Seeing as how I am off on a tangent today . . . I thought I would express something that has been on my mind.

I love being a Southerner. I truly do. And I love being a Southerner w/ roots back to the founding of this country.

I love the things that make the South "different" from the other sections of this country.

I love my Southern accent. Sometimes, I exaggerate it just for fun. There are so many different Southern accents. There are many in each state, actually. The Tidewater (VA) accent is very different from the Charleston (low country) accent and the western NC mountain accent is very different than the upper crust Savannah accent . . .

I love them all.

And I love the fact that we Southerners have traditions and rites of passage that are singular to the South. I love the myths of the South as well as the down and dirty realities.

Yes. I love being a Southerner.

You know what else gives me a lot of pleasure? I so enjoy it when others move here and they bring different things with them. Different accents, different recipes!!! Different traditions . . . something more to add to the quality of life here.

I really love to introduce my friends to the South. I enjoy explaining the trashy South, the conservative South, the blue blood South. I like telling people that many of the things they think are myths are actually fact! Like . . . all good Southern girls really do collect sterling silver starting in high school. And that you must not be a "real" Southerner if the first gift you were given for your "trousseau" wasn't an iron skillet, preferably one inherited from Grandmother's estate.

What worries me is . . . w/ so many newcomers, we Southerners are isolating ourselves and not sharing our traditions. I want everyone to know what it means to have lived here and been part of this way of life here for nearly 300 years. I want them to know about the Scots and Germans and Irish and Swiss who moved here . . . and how they shaped this state and how their beliefs and traditions STILL shape family life here.

I see so much of that being lost. I see newcomers arriving and dismissing anything that doesn't match up with their own traditions. Now, I don't see this w/ my friends, of course. I want to know about their backgrounds and learn their traditions, what they grew up doing and learning - and they want to know about my life. But I so fear that we are losing the attachment to the very things that make Charlotte "southern."

It isn't that I expect or would even want others to embrace all the small things that make life here different from other areas. But I just don't want to see it all fade away and be lost. And I don't want it to be misunderstood.

Charlotte has become the Gateway to the South. I think Richmond wants to claim that title and 150 years ago, I think that was accurate. Today, Richmond may be a front door to the South, perhaps, but it isn't the gateway.

I want to preserve the quirky things about NC and the South. I see these things being pushed aside . . . Yet, the newcomers I talk to WANT to know what makes the South different.

I just wonder . . . as we become more and more the Gateway to the South, are we losing the very identity that allows us to call ourselves Southerners?
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,428 posts, read 9,255,706 times
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In my eyes, as long as we've got sweet tea, BBQ, pretty girls, grits, magnolias & crepe myrtles, the outer banks, the Piedmont, and the mountains, then we're doin' all right. Things'll be different from now on, and there'll be growing pains, but we'll be OK.

For what it's worth, as I peruse the other city forums for other states, your concerns are also being expressed there as well.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:16 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,186,293 times
Reputation: 22375
Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
In my eyes, as long as we've got sweet tea, BBQ, pretty girls, grits, magnolias & crepe myrtles, the outer banks, the Piedmont, and the mountains, then we're doin' all right. Things'll be different from now on, and there'll be growing pains, but we'll be OK.

For what it's worth, as I peruse the other city forums for other states, your concerns are also being expressed there as well.
Well, I should get out more and read what is being said in other forums!!! Thanks so much for sharing that, SuperK!!!

You are so right about your list of things that won't change . . . I hope that is enuff to ensure that Charlotte doesn't become a city w/ no identity to anchor it.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Huntersville
1,852 posts, read 4,675,566 times
Reputation: 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
I want everyone to know what it means to have lived here and been part of this way of life here for nearly 300 years.
Wow Ani, you have been around awhile

When your city gets over 250/500,000 people you lose your ability to be unique. You can't have it both ways really, be big and "cosmo" AND be unique and southern. You don't have to lose your idenity, but don't fear the people coming in. We are the UNITED STATES, that means we are one country and people are free to go as they please in the US. Societies are becoming merged and blurred. Unless you corner yourself off from the world, yes, you will lose the edge.

Last edited by Whytewulf; 04-03-2009 at 01:14 PM..
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:03 PM
 
1,367 posts, read 5,101,118 times
Reputation: 871
It's funny, you probably wouldn't think it considering I'm a newcomer from Chicago, but it concerns me as well that maybe some of the culture down here is getting lost.

Since moving down here, the most difficult thing hasn't been meeting people, or learning my way around, or doing with things I'm used to... the MOST difficult thing is to move to an area that doesn't seem to have a very strong culture or sense of tradition. Now, I know that there are many "natives" here that do still have the sense of place and identity that is unique to Charlotte... but from what I can see it must be getting lost somewhere between the big box stores, the newcomers, modernization, etc.

Now, no matter where I move I will always consider myself a Chicagoan at heart, but I was really looking forward to trying to assimilate to, to the best of my ability, a new area. Problem is, I'm not sure exactly WHAT to assimilate to! I haven't really figured out "what makes Charlotte Charlotte" yet, if that makes any sense.

I mean, anyone can move to Chicago (sorry, that's my only reference) and get a pretty quick idea of what foods are common, what the pace of life is, how politics work, and the history of the area. I'm sure other areas are similar, and I'm not just talking about big cities, even small towns can have a really clear and concrete identity. But moving to Charlotte, it's hard to pinpoint the area's culture and identity.
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:17 PM
Status: "North of Palm Trees, South of High Taxes" (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Noth Caccalacca
5,608 posts, read 6,698,534 times
Reputation: 4917
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whytewulf View Post
Wow Ani, you have been around awhile

When your city gets over 250/500,000 people you lose your ability to be unique. You can't have it both ways really, be big and "cosmo" and be unique and southern. You don't have to lost your idenity, but don't fear the people coming in. We are the UNITED STATES, that means we are one country and people are free to go as they please in the US. Societies are become merged and blurred. Unless your corner yourself off from the world, yes, you will lose the edge.
Whytewulf is exactly right! The problem with Charlotte and its embrace of the "New South" is that nobody has defined what the "New South" is supposed to be. Is it an "antibellum redux and update" or a recreation of the myriad newcomers' concept of a Northern "El Dorado"? Change has hit Charlotte hard and I think both natives and newcomers never know what to expect in terms of its future evolution.

I was up very late the other night and caught a history of Charlotte on one of the PBS stations. It was an eye-opener to say the least! Many of the problems that have been magnified by time, were evident even in its early development. Hodge-podge development was well-noted by the architect of Myers Park back in the teens. He even had a master plan that was ignored by city (non)planners during WW 1. Roads were problems throughout Charlotte's history. 74 and Independence Blvd were obsolete even by the time they were finished. Much of historic Charlotte was blown up or bulldozed long ago in the name of progress. It must be distressing for older residents of Charlotte to see how much of it has been "californicated" into its present state. To them, Joni Mitchell's "they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot", must ring all too true!
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Huntersville
1,852 posts, read 4,675,566 times
Reputation: 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEmissary View Post
To them, Joni Mitchell's "they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot", must ring all too true!
All too true.. But at least ... um.. oh never mind..


What's the difference between a southern zoo and a northern zoo?

A southern zoo has a description of the animal on the front of the cage along with... 'a recipe'.

Last edited by Whytewulf; 04-03-2009 at 02:12 PM..
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:17 PM
 
285 posts, read 713,385 times
Reputation: 117
Hey Ani, your northern friend (long island, no less is stalking you)

So Bless your heart and I'm here to tell you that since I've been here, I love fixin' sausage deer balls caught from my southern neighbor.
I love making pulled pork just as much I love to fix Fried Calamari!!! which i guess is ok since its deep fried anyway
'
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Indian Trail near S. Charlotte
210 posts, read 446,090 times
Reputation: 117
Quote:
Quote:
I was up very late the other night and caught a history of Charlotte on one of the PBS stations. It was an eye-opener to say the least! Many of the problems that have been magnified by time, were evident even in its early development. Hodge-podge development was well-noted by the architect of Myers Park back in the teens. He even had a master plan that was ignored by city (non)planners during WW 1. Roads were problems throughout Charlotte's history. 74 and Independence Blvd were obsolete even by the time they were finished. Much of historic Charlotte was blown up or bulldozed long ago in the name of progress. It must be distressing for older residents of Charlotte to see how much of it has been "californicated" into its present state. To them, Joni Mitchell's "they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot", must ring all too true!
OOOOO, another good discussion. Thanks Ani.

I can remember standing in Campello, a section of my native MA, watching the bulldozers and wrecking ball attack South Congregational Church where some of my ancestors had spent much of their time since 1800. What replaced it? Walgreens and a parking lot.

I moved out of the city which my ancestors had settled in 1635, because most of it has been destroyed and taken over by newcomers who cared nothing about the history of the area. They are now trying to establish their own history, but that is for another time and place.

I moved to a town nearby, and right after we moved there, the bulldozers and wrecking ball demolished 2 old homes built in 1797 and 1803. The court order halting this action arrived at the scene as the second house was stuck by the ball. What replaced them? Nothing for 4 years due to the turmoil this sparked in the community. Finally, they built CVS and a parking lot. Walgreens was supposed to go in, but they bought out CVS's other site due to the emotional timbre in the town.

When I moved here to the Winston-Salem area a few years ago, I went to the local library, chose a local architecture book and a history of the town and area. I swear I know more about the history of this area than many of the long-timers. The Moravian heritage is still strong here, and when I went to a seminar at Salem College, I felt that I had missed out not going there as a college student. The history is as strong as that of Harvard, if not stronger, because it still captures the true feel of its origins.

I'm used to hodge-podge, because everyone jokes that Boston's streets are paved cow paths. But MA real development problem started when the government "bought" dairy farm cows and had them destroyed, buying out the farmers (by 2006, it meant 90% of the dairy farms) in order to keep the cost of milk "stabilized". And we wonder why all the new developments have street names like Old Farm Road, McIntire Dairy Lane, etc.
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Indian Trail near S. Charlotte
210 posts, read 446,090 times
Reputation: 117
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5kidsmama View Post
Hey Ani, your northern friend (long island, no less is stalking you)

So Bless your heart and I'm here to tell you that since I've been here, I love fixin' sausage deer balls caught from my southern neighbor.
I love making pulled pork just as much I love to fix Fried Calamari!!! which i guess is ok since its deep fried anyway
'
OH NO 5kids! Ani, she meant Bless your heart the northern way, even though we don't say it up north, because it's against someone's rights due to separation of church and state)

Explanation to 5kids: If my friend Teeyim (Tim) told his wife he had to do a whole load of laundry that day while he was home watching TV, his wife (who had just worked an 8 hour day, bathed the child, made the supper, and did 2 loads of laundry the night before) would answer "Well, Bless your heart". (names and problem changed to protect the innocent).
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