Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I am going to have to forgo my confessions for today to rant. This rant is probably a long time coming, and, to be honest, I am fairly excited to write this. To preface my rant, I was born and raised in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. I attended public schools in the county until high school, when I decided (yes, I decided, my parents didn't decide this for me) to attend Seton Keough, and all girls Catholic school. I went to Loyola College, located in Northern Baltimore City, not too far from Towson and Charles Village. Upon graduation I moved to Federal Hill and lived there for two years. After getting engaged, my now husband and I decide to move to Catonsville because it is a lovely family community and has strong public schools. My dad's family is from Sparrows Point where most of my relatives (at least in the older generations) worked in the steel mill. My mom grew up in Silver Spring, MD, though her parents were born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania.

I preface my rant because it is important to know that I am a Maryland girl through and through. I root for the Orioles and Ravens (yes, sometimes the former team is hard to root for, but I do it anyway). I love big crab feasts. I worked hard to learn and explore the city that I never knew very well growing up. I wrote history papers on the War of 1812 in Baltimore, which is of interest to me, as our family shore house is located in Edgemere not far from Fort Howard. My relatives worked at Bethlehem Steel, a huge employer during its peak years of production. I attended Maryland schools my whole life. I will raise my children here. Maryland is my home.

That being said, I have many friends who live in Maryland who are not from Maryland. Typically, they come here for jobs or for school. These are also the people who loudly voice their displeasure with Baltimore, or Maryland (not all, but at some point or another I have heard the same complaints over and over). I have heard everything from Marylanders don't know how to drive in the snow (please don't say this to my father-in-law, he will give you an ear full about how many Marylanders DO), Marylanders are not friendly, Baltimore is dirty, etc. etc. I rarely speak up about my feelings on the subject because, usually, I am the only actual Marylander in the room. At Loyola I was one of few students who was actually from Maryland, most Loyola students are from the New York/New Jersey area. Even at school, most of my co-workers are transplants from the Northeast or the Mid-West. So before you tell me how horrible my state is let me tell you this...

If you say Marylanders never say hi, then you never met my pop-pop Frank or my grandma Fran. Pop pop would sit on our porch and say hello to every person who walked by our house. I would sit on his lap and he would greet everyone. Grandma Fran had an ability to know you within minutes of meeting you. She would chatter your ear off no matter who you were. She always said hello and somehow always knew everyone.

If you say life here moves too fast you have never been to our shore house in Edgemere. You haven't gotten to sit on the porch and watch a storm roll in. You haven't enjoyed a real crab feast and sat for hours listening to family stories.

If you say Baltimore is a shit hole of a city you haven't strolled the grounds of Fort McHenry and enjoyed the history of area. You haven't explored Federal Hill, or Fells Point, or Hampden. You haven't seen Maryland celebrate any number of its historical accomplishments, most recently the Sailabration. You did probably sit in front of your television watching The Wire or listening to the news.

If you say its restaurants can't contend with those in bigger, better cities you probably haven't been to the Charleston or Woodberry Kitchen.

Maryland has mountains, farms, beaches, and cities. You can drive from one end of the state to the other in less than a day and experience the beaches of the Eastern Shore and the mountains and farms of the West.

Now, I am not denying that wherever you are from is probably (in most cases, not all) the place you love and the place you think is best. I so strongly defend Maryland because this is my home. Please don't generalize or stereotype Marylanders because of 2 or 3 you met who you didn't like. Chances are, they probably aren't even from Maryland, but came here for school or for a job. In fact, the place where I experienced the most "rudeness" was probably at Loyola, where most students are NOT from Maryland. I wrote a sociology paper about how students never say hello or make eye contact when they walk by. I wrote this because it was so foreign to me NOT to say hi.

If you don't like Baltimore or Maryland. That is fine. To each his own. Not everyone will love every place. Plenty of people love New York City, and while I can appreciate the city, I just don't like it. It's too big and busy for me. Despite it's size, it makes me feel claustrophobic. However, I don't visit other areas of the country and bash them. I don't say they are ugly, or horrible, or everyone is an ass who lives there.

This isn't aimed at anyone or anything in particular. Just an outpouring of things that I have been building up for a long time. Let me show you my home. Where I come from, and maybe, just maybe, I can change your mind just a little...

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