Becky Says...

October 2003

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October 19

Saturday was Homecoming at Carolina. Based on traffic and common sense about crowded space, I chose to stay at home for the day.

I have never been to Homecoming at Carolina, not even the years my class has had reunions. It's a little difficult to get into homecoming festivities if you don't like football, since so much of everything else is geared to stop and start based on game time. Maybe one of these years something else going on will capture enough of my attention that I'll make the effort. But don't count on it.

Also, it's a little hard to go home to somewhere you've never left. I came to Chapel Hill in 1971. I've not moved completely away since. Even the semester I dropped out of school I came back to visit. And during the time I was back home with Mother, I still kept my apartment and this was my legal address. The longest I've been away was during that time with Mother, and was probably five or six months.

That I don't participate in rah-rah festivities does not mean I am not passionate about Carolina and this part of the state. I am. I love the atmosphere in Chapel Hill, that allows me to be who I am without much question. I could, if I so chose, put a Carolina blue streak in my brown hair, and about the only thing people on the street would say would be along the lines of, "You must be a real fan!"

I love that the place stays the same no matter what changes. I love that after all these years, Franklin Street is still the heart of the place. Sure it's annoying that you rarely can find a place to park. Sure things there (largely thanks to rent or mortgage payments) are several times more expensive than they should be. I'm not saying it's without flaws. But I love that town and gown meet there, flirt with each other, and dance the lively dance of accommodation.

I particularly love that in the main business district many of the stores that I first went to over thirty years ago are still in existence, and a lot of them are still run by the same families that ran them. I love that no matter I don't work downtown these days, I can still go in those businesses and be greeted by name.

And I love the campus. I'm truly grateful that I am finished with the for-grades part of my education; I wasn't by any means a stellar student. But I am deeply fond of those buildings, and pleased to see the new ones since my days as a student. I love walking through the campus, on those brick sidewalks across the various quads. I love seeing that people still observe the time-honored traditions of finding a campus tree's base a good place to read or visit. I love it when I happen to be close enough to hear the Bell Tower sound the time.

I love that some of my tax money goes to help make this place accessible to a wide-ranging faculty and student body. I love that the ideas floating around the place are free and plentiful. I love that advances made here are helping people all over the world.

There's a lot to love about this place. I am proud to be a Tar Heel. And I'm glad if I ever feel the urge to go to my academic home, I can do so in about fifteen minutes.

Text copyright 2000-2003 Becky