The commentary and opinion is special to the Mirror by Emma Jackson. Ms. is a writer from the Shore, currently working on a series of books about and based in Northampton.
The Eastern Shore of Virgina. “Come-heres” come because they love the life and the culture they find; a culture based all the way back to Thomas Savage n 1621. It is a culture that is friendly (did you ever notice how the “from-heres” wave when they drive past, even if they don’t know you)? It is a culture that is generous (often you find, when you get home from church, that someone has left a paper sack of produce on your porch). It is a culture that is gracious (children are still taught to say “sir” and “ma’am,” and gentlemen still doff their hats as they open a lady’s door). It is a throwback to a more genteel time.
On the Shore, there’s less traffic on the highways. There are no skyscrapers cluttering the deep blue sky. With just a little practice as you drive up the highway, you can identify the crops growing in the fields – corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and the ubiquitous soybeans. Even though you were born and raised in Trenton it makes you feel as though you are “of the land.”
The “come-heres” find this culture so refreshing that they decide they must return to their roots and move here.
After being here a while they realize the old farmhouse they bought is rather drafty in the winter and the closets are awfully small. That well water tastes strange, too.
Then there’s the people. They are nice enough but don’t expect to have a meaningful discussion of the existential aspects of Nietzsche with them.
And the winter! Why there’s nothing to do but sit around and listen to the wind blow. That and keep bundled up from the drafts.
Sure there’s some up-class stuff to do in Norfolk, but that’s an hour drive away. Not to mention the toll on the CBBT!
It’s at this point that the “come-heres” decide it’s their responsibility to change things. Not a lot, mind you. Just enough to let the “from-heres” see what they’ve been missing all this time. And too often the changes are aided and abetted by local officials who are afraid the “come-heres” will accuse them of being provincial and insular.
The upshot of all this? If we are not careful it will lead to homogenization. Meaning what? Meaning The Eastern Shore will lose its distinctive and it will no longer be “come-heres” and “from-heres,” it will just be a generic sign saying, YOU ARE HERE.