Thursday, January 03, 2008


My bro, the IT Ubergeek, in front of "The Batman (Bellsouth) Building," where he worked in Nashville.

A long time ago... oh... roughly 30 years ago, I got a Christmas present wrapped up in a bunch of blankets. My parents brought home my baby brother in December of 1977, and I was pretty excited about that! He was kind of like a doll, but even better -- especially once he got old enough to climb trees and play "Dukes of Hazzard" with our big, plastic Big Wheels trikes. He's a fun brother to have, with a really quirky sense of humor and endless supply of interesting-and-sometimes-unusual conversation topics.

This year, I got another cool Christmas present: my "little" brother has returned home to West Virginia. Ricc has moved back to WV after landing a pretty cool job in Nashville and even buying a house! I have to admit, my first thought was "what are you doing?!?! Are you crazy?" It seemed that all his dreams were coming true in Nashville and he was just starting to build the life he had always wanted. But he said he missed home, and when a really good job opportunity presented itself, he pounced on it. Within a couple months, he was moving back to WV, and yesterday he started his new job.

It's funny how West Virginia becomes so much of who we are. West Virginians can move away, but a lot of times, they come back. If they don't, they probably wish they could. I know a lot of ex-West Virginians who have been trying to return, and who haven't been able to find work here. Many take huge pay cuts to move back here, they want to come home so badly. Those who don't make it back still feel a connection to West Virginia and other WVians. A friend of mine who lives in NYC told me that she's joined a West Virginians' club that meets to watch WVU ball games and hang out. How cool is that?

I remember as a teenager, wanting to live in New York City or some other place with a lot of action and income potential and shiny bright lights. Now that I'm older, I can't imagine living anywhere else. There's something about West Virginia that you can't find anywhere else. There are plenty of beautiful, scenic, mountainous landscapes all over the world, and there are plenty of friendly small towns where people greet each other with genuine smiles. But there's just something about this state that takes hold of your heart and won't let it go, no matter how far away you travel. I can't put my finger on it -- it's just hard not to love West Virginia.

Ricc loves the new job, by the way, and I'm thrilled that he's back home. I can't wait to see his face at family barbecues, football games, and all those other family events he's been missing. He's such a cool uncle to the kids, and our family is very close-knit, so I know he's really missed us all. I'm glad he got his Christmas wish to come home, but I think the present goes to the entire family.


Evil Twin's Wife said...

I'm not even originally from WV, although my husband is. I really can't imagine living anywhere else. I think if you move, you're afforded better (paying) job opportunities, perhaps more opportunities than if you stayed in WV and sometimes, that can be hard to leave to "come back". Those of us who never left don't have to struggle with that internal dilemma (location or money?)

I know I always said we'd live here until my parents' passed away, well, that's come and gone and here we are. The Evil Twin works for the State, so no opportunities of out of state transfers and he's been at his job so long, it'd be silly to leave it now. Whew!!! Sorry for the ramble, but your post was so great and really brought up so many points I've had for a while.

The Dalai Mama said...

Rebecca, that is a fantastic post! I also used to dream of moving away from WV. I finally came to my senses, and now I can't imagine leaving WV for any extended amount of time. This is my home, and it's where I'm staying.

Rebecca Burch said...

ETW -- That's a neat story. See? It's hard for people to leave here. One of my coworkers came here from the NYC area and her husband came from Florida. They both fell in love with WV, but when he got offered a better paying job in the DC area, they went. A year later, they were back in Charleston. They both fell in love with this place.

DM -- I've traveled a lot and found a lot of places I dream of buying maybe a vacation home in... but I love my home. I've envied some of my friends who have moved away to teach and have landed jobs that pay double what I make (and more!!!) but I can do without some of the extras to be able to let my kids grow up here. I hope they can find work here. I know they'll probably be like dandelion seeds in the wind as they grow up and get jobs. You never know, though... I'm still here. :)

Buzzardbilly said...

They call that longing for the homeland "diaspora" and Appalachians who move away from Appalachia are chocked full of it.

I moved away several times. I don't think I'd move away again (but I don't count it out because every time I've moved away I've learned a bunch of neat stuff and come back home appreciating what we have much, much more).

Excellent post. Best of luck to your brother on his return home.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Yea, WV is kinda like the cave in Plato's Allegory of the Cave.
Then there's the story of the guy who was captured and kept in a warm cauldron of shit for years. After finally being freed, he kept wanting to return to the cauldron of shit. . . it was what was comfortable.

moneytastesbad said...

Wow! Your brother is a lot bigger than I remember him. Of course that was like 13 years ago. and I guess I am about 100 lbs bigger than I was then