I grew up in Washington, DC. I went to college in Los Angeles, CA. I’ve spent my last 16 years in and around Minneapolis, MN. I like to refer to myself as “tri-coastal.” I’ve experienced Eastern, Pacific, and Central Standard Time, and I gotta say, I like Central the best. I’ve really grown accustomed to prime time starting at 7pm, my nightly news coming on at 10 pm, and having TV and radio stations that start with either K or W.
All that being said, you want to know what my favorite state is? Minnesota? Nope. California? Close, but nope. It’s Maryland. The seventh of the original thirteen colonies. The Old Line State. The Chesapeake Bay state. Virginia might be for lovers, but Maryland is for crabs. Okay, maybe that last statement isn’t as poetic, but I still love Maryland.
For the first eighteen years of my life, I called Washington DC my home. We moved around a lot, but never left the metropolitan area; a few times I was even lucky enough to live in Landover and Oxon Hill for short periods of time. Too short. Maryland public schools were so much nicer than anything I’d experienced in DC. Thankfully, DC schools took us on many field trips to places like Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry, Antietam, and other historical places.
When I was a kid, DC was “the city,” and Maryland was “the country.” (We had relatives in Richmond, VA; that was considered “deep country.”) Maryland was just so… so exotic to me. Maryland had grass, trees, creeks and streams, mountains, a big-ass bay, and–best of all–the Atlantic Ocean. DC had a couple of public swimming pools, and playground that were mostly asphalt.
Besides the field trips, and the occasional family trips to Ocean City, I got most of my knowledge of Maryland by watching Maryland Public Television. Channel 22 was constantly on in my bedroom. Besides airing Sesame Street, The Electric Company, ZOOM, and my favorite, Read All About It, WMPT also aired many programs showcasing everything the lovely state of Maryland had to offer. I was mostly fascinated by the stories about Assateague Island, and the wild Chincoteague ponies that lived there. (I always thought “Horseateague” sounded better than Assateague, but whatever.) Alas, I only ever got to see the little horses on television, but you better bet that spending a day or two on Assateague is on my bucket list.
Minnesota’s cool, too; the source of the Mississippi River, and the north shore of Lake Superior is natural beauty at its best. But Maryland is just so much cooler. If I ever strike it rich, Maryland, I’m coming back to you.
For three out of the four seasons, at least.