WHAT MAKES A PERSON A ‘LOCAL’ IN THE WENATCHEE VALLEY?
SO WHAT MAKES A PERSON A LOCAL IN THE WENATCHEE VALLEY?
I’ve been working in the Wenatchee Valley for about two years now. I don’t get out much but when I do, I’m still wondering around aimlessly as if I just moved to town last week. When I finally got settled here, one of the very first thing I was told was, “Don’t tell anyone you’re from LA or that you’re a Dodgers fan. People here hate people like you.” Even though I haven’t lived in SoCal in years.
Now, I’ve been told this with every town I’ve moved to in the past few years. EVERY TIME! Yet, I found that statement to be completely false. In fact, people were and still are very kind to me here in the Wenatchee Valley. Heck, when I got the grocery store or restaurant or an event, I’m often seen wearing my Dodgers baseball cap. And I can’t tell you how many people have stopped me or shout out, “Go, Dodgers!” I’ve even had San Francisco Giants fans come up to be and we have had great friendly conversations. Half the staff I work with are Dodgers fans. But then I’m told that I’m simply not a local if I don’t root for the Seattle Mariners. Actually, now that I’m here, yes, I do root for the Mariners…when they don’t play against the Dodgers. ;)
But it got me thinking, what makes one a local? Some have called me ‘loco’, but that’s a different story. I asked around. What’s your definition on who’s a local and who is not. Some were pretty serious. And there were answers that were pretty funny.
There are people who will simply tell you, you live here, you’re local. You vote locally. Many say, when you feel comfortable living here, like a putting on a pair of your favorite bluejeans. Some say it’s when you finally get a driver’s license or new checks with your new local address. You listen to local radio and not SiriusXM.
When you show up to an AppleSox or Wild game wearing the team jersey and with all your heart, root for them to win, and you’re heart broken when they lose. You show up with chair in hand to the Apple Blossom parade route, even if it’s freezing or raining. Or once a week, you shop at the farmer’s market.
Some times it’s more like an initiation to a fraternity house or a cult. You have to hike up Saddle Rock or completely walk The Loop 10 times. Or when you finally get the neighbors invite to the block party BBQ.
Then I got answers like, you have to be a third generation resident. You start complaining about all the roundabouts on First Street. You don’t want the hassle of crossing the Sellar Bridge to get to the other side. When rumors start spreading on line that there might be a Chick-fil-A moving to town, you post comments like, “No more chain restaurants! Support the mom and pop burger places!”
The definition is all these things. And more. In the English dictionary it reads, “Local means existing in or belonging to the area where you live, or to the area that you are talking about.”
For me, as someone who was not born or raised here, I will tell you that this may not be my hometown. But it’s my home now.