Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Local Locals

I know of a number of different bloggers from my county; I have met six of them. That doesn't count some business bloggers, either. If I count those there are more.

I know there are others, but maybe they don't mention their location (which is how I usually find local bloggers) or for some other reason their blog just doesn't come up in search.

The local bloggers that I have met in person are:

Brambleberry blog
Summit Manor
Gracefully Bound
The Blue Ridge Gal (just met her Friday!)
Destiny Booze

I think there are only three bloggers on my Botetourt list that I have not met.

Aside from the bloggers listed on my sidebar, local business bloggers are Botetourt Foot Doctor (a local podiatrist; a good read if you have trouble with your feet), and the Botetourt Paranormal Society (some spooky sort of folks). I have met the people behind these two blogs, too.

To be fair I have to mention the Roanoke Times Botetourt View blog; the author of that, which they call The Notebook, is a good friend (and competitor) of mine who also lives out here.

That's a lot of people I have met personally who blog. A lot of local blogs, too, though really not so many given that we have 32,000 people in this county now.

To my knowledge, few of the bloggers are what you might consider real "locals."

About 2/3 of the people who live here now aren't from here originally. They moved in from elsewhere, from the northern states or the western states or from somewhere in the valley.

To the real locals, unless your momma and granny lived here too, you're not a local. That's as true for folks who moved here 40 years ago as the ones who just got here yesterday.

I am not a true local even though my grandfather grew up on a farm at the foot of Caldwell Mountain and I can trace my ancestors back to 1790 or some such. That's because for a little while my mother's family lived in Salem and didn't stay in the county. My mother and father returned here in 1969, when I was seven years old. I consider myself local, though, even if I lack the full pedigree.

I was saddened today to read a comment from one of the area bloggers about local folks not being very welcoming. The blogger said she had yet to make friends with folks in the area.

I don't know how long this person has been here, but I don't doubt for a moment what she says. I haven't lived anywhere else as an adult so I can't say how folks make friends in other places, but making friends here is difficult.

It's hard even if you know people already and went to school here. And it is particularly hard if like me you're rather introverted and shy and not prone to making the first move.

Unless you go to church, there simply aren't a lot of places to go and meet people. Many of the folks I know because of my work.

That's one reason I enjoy blogging. It opens up a whole new world of friends, and some of them I get to meet in person. And while I may never meet some of you, there you are. Truthfully it's a comfort to know that you are out there, too (because I never imagine that you're reading me because you're up to no good).

Some folks must read my blog and never leave a comment, based on my stat numbers, and that's okay. I hope I entertain you, if nothing else. I consider my unknown visitors my secret friends.

The folks who do comment bring a smile to my face. Frequent commenters make me feel warm and fuzzy when I see their names on my posts. It's the cyberspace equivalent of having somebody drop in for tea!

If you're a local blogger I hope you point me toward your blog so I can read your work, too, if I don't already. I greatly enjoy reading other people's take on life in our area.

And I hope I get to meet you in person. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll really be dropping in for tea!


  1. Living in Floyd County, I'm well familiar with this way that the social structure of small towns is defined. We all get along pretty well though :-) I'm hoping to get to meet you this summer...

  2. We moved here in 2002. I find the locals very friendly on the surface, but wary of me and a bit stand-offish. I get the feeling that it's obvious I'm not from around here (I suppose my NY accent gives me away :)
    I've always taught my children that in order to have a friend, you must first be a friend. This is such a great place to live and well worth the effort to get to know people!

  3. June - I'm hoping we can get together this summer, too!

    Lenora - welcome! I've been reading your blog for a little while now and enjoy it. Maybe someday soon I will get to meet you, too!

  4. We moved to the NC mountains from the Raleigh area over five years ago and have now lived in two different areas here. And although we've found our neighbors here (who are both longtime locals) to be very friendly, in general, I'd have to say we haven't felt the warmest welcome from the locals. But I just keep trying to be friendly and saying "hey" even when they don't and being glad for the friendly folks I do find. And, of course, to be thankful for my blogging friends! :-)

  5. It's odd how much your description sounds like Pittsburgh! I moved here over 20 years ago and found I was always an outsider. Pgh families have been here for generations and don't leave, so everyone knows everyone else. It took me a long time to make a few good friends. I still feel like an outsider, but not as much as I used to. People are friendly, they just don't have the same history with you as with everyone else.

  6. Hey, we met!

    I feel like the others. Folks are very friendly on the surface but that's it. But I figured out why. They have been living in the same place their entire lives. They are surrounded by family and friends they've known for 25, 40, 50 years. Often, siblings and cousins and parents live right next door. Many times they work together because they will hire people they know. Best friends from high school still know each other and babysit each other's children. So they're tight. And they're busy with each other. They don't mean anything by it, but they don't need us. They have full lives. Unlike where I come from, it wasn't uncommon not to know your next door neighbor's name, or for your family to be all over the place. You're lucky if your family is still in the same county, or state for that matter, never mind the same neighborhood. Therefore, we'd reach out and make friends. And it was easy because the one we were reaching to was in the same boat. This may also be the reason why northerners learned tolerance--because our friends are not necessarily the ones who we played hopscotch with and who looks and thinks like us.

    Good post.

  7. Hi Deb - yes we did! I was counting only Botetourt folks in this particular post, and even missed one of those. If I count other bloggers I've met, there are a lot of them! I might have to do another post to try to get them all in. I didn't realize there were so many!

  8. Anita,

    We've lived in many different places through the years and I've got to say that graduating from "outsider" to accepted is just some normal phenomenon.

    We've been here over ten years and I think the neighbors have finally decided that we are here to stay and not as weird and threatening as they may have thought in the beginning. Of course, I've made lots of farmer friends from Botetourt Family Farms, so that's a real help.

    Hey -- wherever you go, there you are! Challenges present an opportunity to grow as a person.

    Thanks for bringing this up.

  9. You have a lot of friends Dew.

  10. I know the feeling. Every time I see where my blogging buddies have left a comment, my heart smiles. I can't wait to meet you in June!

  11. I haven't met any bloggers i follow but since you're so close, maybe we can have tea sometime!

  12. Having transplanted 3 times now, I really don't notice honestly. I'm so busy with my kids lives, I meet people from their activities, but I can't say I've connected to anyone and have formed a close friendship. I like everyone I've met, it's just people are too busy I guess to form new friendships, and I'm guilty of this myself! I've always kind of blamed myself for not inviting someone over and just starting that new friendship!

  13. Pick me as your friend... all of you... pick me, pick me... LOL

    We have lived in three different states in the past 10 years so I no longer go out of my way to make friends... Now, that doesn't mean I would not jump at the chance to meet any or all of you..... it just means that I have learned to shrug off the fact that I don't have any close friends here in Virginia. What say we all get together sometime soon before the sweltering heat of summer sets in. Late April... early May.... let's set something up! Anyone interested? Please raise your hand.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  14. I'm game!

  15. Tea sounds great! I love how blogging has opened up a sort of over the fence kind of chat with your "neighbor."

    We have lived north (NJ), south (TX and VA), east (Japan) and west (west TX). Seems like nice people and mean people live in each realm. More nice than mean for the most part, in each place. People who are scared of strangers seem to live in each place along with some of the most gracious folks ever. I am glad that for the most part, even though I have never been a LOCAL, have met some great community.

    BTW, how much do you guys want for a round bale or two of hay?


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