It’s not called ‘Charm City’ for nothin…

I’ve been trying for years and years (ten, to be exact) to explain to my family why I live where I do.  My sisters both live within 30 miles of the house we grew up in, where my mom and stepdad still live.  While many of my classmates from high school moved on to different places, I would guess about the same number stayed close to home.  I was one of the black sheep who went off to college and never came back. 

When I start off on this line of argument, usually with my mom (and by argument, I mean in the healthy, discussion kind of way), I point first to my neighborhood, Hampden.  It’s a gem, people.  A lot of neighborhoods in Baltimore are, and this is the one where I’ve planted my flag.  It is, in truth, a neighborhood.  I can’t tell you how many times I see someone I know on the street and stop to chat about their new job, or the puppy they’ve adopted, or how that back porch rehab is coming along.  I volunteer with Meals on Wheels, which puts me in touch with some old-school Hampdenites with lots of stories.  Just this morning, I got to chatting with the last client on my route, and found out she was born just half a block from where I now live.  She told me it just makes her head spin to see the changes that have come to the neighborhood since she’s lived here. 

From this point, I usually launch into a defense of my community of friends.  I recently had to move, quite suddenly.  I put out a call to nearly everyone I knew, asking for babysitting help, food help, packing help, HELP.  On moving day, we had to ask some people to come back the next day, as 14 people were just too many to have in the house at once.  It was an incredible outpouring of love.  We are cared for, I tell my mom.  We are loved here. 

Here’s the thing, though.  I never have been able to get my point across the way I feel I should.  There’s just something about here that feels good, that feels right for me.  And so, I’m thankful to my friend Seth for summing up this feeling in an OpEd piece he wrote in the Sunpaper today.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did, and if you’re on of those wondering souls… I hope you’ll have a little more of an answer as to why I love living in Baltimore. 

Go read it.  Thanks again, Seth.  You rule.

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