I remember a conversation I had with my mom, when I was old enough to ask innocent questions, but still young enough to listen and take every word for it.
I grew up in a part of West Virginia that is greener in summer and whiter in winter than I have seen since, a part where anyone that is not a farmer has to travel 30 minutes to town to work or 45 minutes in the opposite direction to the city/ state's capital to work. And I never questioned it, or thought it was possible that we could live somewhere else. We had a huge garden with corn, tomatoes, lettuce, beans, squash etc.. and another garden just as big only for potatoes. I played in trees and caught crawdads in the summertime in the creek that ran in front of our house. I remember in the 5th grade while doing a project in class with a classmate having an argument with my partner over whether or not you could buy potato salad pre-made in the grocery store. I was very firmly standing on NO. We always made ours, and hardly ever bought anything pre-made. I was shocked when he showed me an ad in the grocery paper for potato salad.
I remember asking a question such a long time ago, that shaped the way that I felt about my home. I asked my mom if it meant that we were poor because we lived in the country. I have no idea how I even came up with the question, I was probably at the age where I was starting to see that there were people that didn't live surrounded by, depending on the season, green, shades of red, or white mountains.
And I 'll never forget what she responded with because it made complete sense to me and I didn't have a problem taking it for an answer at all. She said "No, Julie, we are rich because we can live in all of this space and have green grass to play in and woods to play hide and seek in."
-Now, I ad-libbed a little of what my mom said because although it did make an impact one me, and made me until this day proud to call my home my home, I can't remember the exact details of what she said. That is an issue I also still live with to this day. But you get the idea. I grew up really proud of my home.
After I started to realize that other people had opinions about WV other than that of mine inside my bubble, is when all the confusion came. Confused because for me in a place where I could see so many good things, so many other people could see so many bad.
Then it just started to get annoying. And now I find myself getting a little peeved when I hear someone explaining about the United States and not having one good thing to say about West Virginia.
All of this to say, I appreciate the magazine West Virginia Executive. They are able to high light the state in many ways that may be common knowledge to someone that grew up there, but can go ignored by someone that's only been fed stereotypes. They have a new website up and running, you should go check it out! http://www.wvexecutive.com