I've had a relationship with Durham, NC since I was a baby because I had a set of grandparents that lived in Durham.
As life would have it for me - I later ended up living (and I still do) in their same house.
I moved to Durham as a single (divorcing) mother of 3. Into the same house and 'big city' that I visited as a child. ( Durham was a 'city' to us - because where we lived and where I grew up was decidedly not ... a city.)
In the not too distant past (and even still a little today) - Durham has had a 'local reputation'. A reputation that was at one time and in part - maybe deserved - but definitely not to the extent that was shared in the local news that flowed within some of the sister communities - in the bordering counties especially.
I've loved this sweet Southern city for all of my life and I've felt very lucky to be able to call it home most of my 'adult' (whatever that is) life. I moved to Durham from one of our neighboring communities...so I was familiar with the reputation. I managed my early fears of living here by just cancelling my newspaper subscription. Obviously - this was pre-internet - and newspapers were our major source of information on anything beyond our doorstep... so, I just rid my 'daily newsfeed' of the negative press...
However, I still had friends and a former family member or two that took it upon themselves to keep me informed of the reputation.
I always loved Durham. It was my home and me being me - I took the opposite stance and with great conviction I began touting its charms to anyone that would listen. And yes - one of its biggest charms was that one had to have an open mind to see them ....
... an open mind
I love this place and it is validating to see others now realize the unique charms of Durham.
Flash forward 25 years to 2017...
Yes, I'll admit - it is sort of exciting to watch it grow (almost overnight it feels like), and become a destination...for unique people and diverse ideas. We're a 'destination' that others seek out. .... be it for just a visit or for a new full time home...
I also have a niggling fear these days...
That Durham will lose too much of its 'dirtiness' ... a dirtiness that helps an open mind stay open.
I fear that it will lose the very thing that made it special and unique.
I hope we don't lose the soul of its charm in the name of growth and the almighty $$.
I hope the 'we' of Durham recognizes the value of grittiness and dirt in the process of creativity.
I hope the 'we' of Durham always remembers the value of diversity and character.
And that these qualities are always nurtured and encouraged and protected.
I hope we always have an open mind.
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