Monday, December 14

Around the World in Eighty Blogs



The brainchild of Shannon (Everyday Stranger), Around the World in Eighty Blogs features bloggers posting today about their fair cities. Here's my take on.....

Raleigh, North Carolina (also see here) We moved here in the fall of 1969; we had just had our second baby, mr. kenju was starting a new job, we had sold our former home and were looking for an apartment and trying to find a pre-school for our first-born. It was both a trying and an exciting time in our lives. The only thing I knew about Raleigh before we moved here was what Barney and Andy said about it on "The Andy Griffith Show". If you remember, Barney always stayed at the YMCA on Hillsborough Street when he came to town. It sounded only slightly less like "Hicksville" than Mayberry, where the fictional Andy and Barney hailed from. And in 1969, that wasn't too far from the truth. But they had a spanking new mall, the likes of which I'd never seen before and they had few sailors in uniform* so it seemed okay to me. It was also the state capital, and I knew it was a good thing to live in the capital if you ever have reason to need state government for anything. What that might be I didn't know, I just thought of it as a good thing.

*We had lived in Norfolk, VA previously, and I was decidedly weary of all things Naval by the time we left there.

I remember seeing the Governor's Mansion and all the state government buildings shortly after we moved here; little did I know then that many years later I would be involved in decorating that Mansion for Christmas or doing flowers there for the filming of a TV show (as I did in the 90's).

Raleigh is home to many colleges and universities; NCSU, Meredith College, Peace College, Shaw U., St. Augustine College, the new law school for Campbell U., and we're only a stone's throw from UNC in Chapel Hill and Duke and NCCU in Durham. Because of that, plus all the technology and pharmaceutical research companies in the area, we have a high per capita income level and a very high level of college grads. That helps to make Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill one of the preferred areas in the country. Over the past ten or so years, we have consistently been high on several national magazine lists of the best places to live in the USA. That has resulted in a population explosion here; at one point we were gaining approximately 1,000 new residents per month. A problem developed, since our city services had a hard time keeping up with all the new residents and our roads were not built for the amount of use they were getting. Thankfully, the increases have slowed down over the last few years.

We are almost equidistant from the mountains and the coastal regions, providing for easy travel to vacations in either location. Our weather is fairly consistent, and although we usually get snow at least once during winter, it is not of long duration. (I really hope that will be true of the winter of 2009!)


After living in an apartment for 18 months, we found a home to buy. We lived there for eleven years; the longest I had ever lived in one place up to that time. We discovered that Raleigh was a very good place to raise a family. Our children went to after-school programs at the very same YMCA that Barney mentioned on Andy's show, played in Pullen Park and attended schools that had high marks in testing and student achievement. The only real quarrel I've had with Raleigh over the 40 years we've been here is with the school board. So many changes were made over the years that one of my children went to seven different schools between first and twelfth grades, and only one of those changes was our choice.

Over the years, my husband was asked by various employers to move to another city, and most of those moves would have involved promotions and raises. Each time, we made the decision to remain in Raleigh. Most of the time that meant that he had to change jobs/companies, and we were lucky that his field made that possible without too much trouble or worry. We thought it was best for our children to remain here and keep the family stability we had come to prefer, rather than to move willy-nilly every time someone wanted us to be somewhere else. We have never been sorry for those decisions. We've been in our current home for 27 years, and have no plans to leave it or Raleigh. Whenever someone asks me where we plan to retire - I always answer right where I am now - in Raleigh!



16 comments:

Angie said...

One day I might get down there to meet you and to see Raleigh!

Anonymous said...

I lived in Cary for a while - so tell me, are you a Duke or a UNC fan? :)

Shannon
Everyday Stranger

Tabor said...

I have been to Raleigh a number of times and it is a wonderful place. I can see why you would never want to move.

sage said...

Nice post--that area has grown up so much since I left NC in the mid-80s.

Jen said...

I think it's important to provide children with as much stability as possible. I'm glad you were able to do that for your kids.

LL Cool Joe said...

Sounds like you have found the perfect place to live for you!

Grannymar said...

You are fortunate to have the place to plant your roots so long ago! May you prosper and stay healthy for many a long year.

Pat said...

You obviously made a very wise choice and Raleigh has done you proud and I'm sure you will stay faithful to it. I feel the same way about here.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I've been here 26 years, but I hope to move South at some point. I consider Georgia my "home" even though I was born in Alabama.

You're in a good area. You probably live around half of WV that moved to that area or Charlotte after graduation. LOL.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Most interesting Judy. You have seen a lot of changes in Raleigh and I guess with any city that keeps expanding, Some Good Things and Some Bad Things. That first picture is very interesting because there are so many big buildings...!
I love that you have lived there so long and especially that you have lived in this home 27 years....When it is right, why change it! And you know when it is right, don't you? That's how I feel about my house.

Arkansas Patti said...

For years I thought Raleigh/Durham was one city--have since learned better as my SIL's daughter is a nurse at Duke.
I love the Andy/Barney references but also like that you are loyal to the town and refused to move.
Roots are important to set down in the "right place."

~Easy said...

I love the area. Been there on vacation a couple of times.

Tabor said...

Actually it has been a number of years since I was down Raleigh way now that you ask. Have to think about going their again!

oklhdan said...

Great description of your town. There is something great about planting roots. I have never been to Raleigh but have a friend who has a business there http://www.acountrycupboard.com/servlet/StoreFront and Ron's daughter lives in Durham.

Harry said...

My sister has lived in Greensboro since - I think 1975. And my daughter went to Duke from 1998 until 2002. We always look forward to trips to that area. We often thought about moving there, but somehow we've just stayed where we are.

Jamie Dawn said...

Home Sweet Home. I love the Raleigh/Durham area. It is a great place, and I see why you love it so much. I've enjoyed all the pics you shown of your work at the Governor's Mansion - so beautiful.
You and Mr. Kenju have made Raleigh your home, and staying there all these years has been the best decision for you and your family.