I’m a Navy Brat and a Navy Wife. The term ‘local’ has never really been a term people have applied to me — I finally got close during my high school years since my parents bought a house in Virginia Beach and had extended family there.
Finally, I thought, this is home. This is where I’ll be from.
But I never really was “local”. I never knew the area or the neighborhoods quite as well as the kids who grew up there. I didn’t have all the major annual events memorized like they did, and usually didn’t know about them until the local news announced them. I didn’t know the best beach spots to go to in order to avoid tourists.
My friends who were born there with parents who grew up in the area. Now they were local. They knew every street in the city, every change, every business and business owner, every politician, every major family, and many of the criminals too. It was impressive. You could really tell it was their home and that they cared.
I wondered if I would ever feel like that about anywhere. I think it’s part of the reason that, back then, I wanted to be a cop. To me, cops, represented important parts of a community. They were supposed to know it frontwards and backwards. They were local.
But I never learned any of that about Virginia Beach or became a cop. Instead I married a sailor and was in the wind again before making it out of my teens. We didn’t leave the area for another year or two but I knew we would, so I didn’t bother with any attempt at roots.
That changed this year.
We’ve been married for seven years. We’ve lived in four states and have lived in too many rentals. And I’m tired.
So we bought a house.
I said I was done moving.
My husband has another 10 years in the military, and he has every intention of finishing. He may be able to do all 10 here, he may not.
But I am done.
I want my sons to go to one set of schools and make friends without constant goodbyes.
I want to put down roots.
I want to put my education to use and build a career.
I want to be able to paint my walls without risking a deposit.
I want to get to know my neighbors without seeing the interest disappear from their eyes the moment they learn we’re military and are probably leaving in a few years because they don’t want to invest in temporary relationships.
I want to be a local.