When in Rome, do as the Romans do … and in the ’burbs, too.

by Laura Wood

 

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leven weeks later and five pounds heavier, I’m slowly getting used to “big city” living. Like my cat, Bobby Murphy, who until just recently wouldn’t stay outside for more than a few seconds, we had to take it all in at our own pace. Driving is much faster here, traffic is crazy during rush hour, and what’s up with all the stores? There are four grocery stores within a mile of
where I live. Do I choose to shop at Whole Foods, nicknamed Whole Paycheck, or The Stinky Kroger? The Disco Kroger sounds better, but we are just too far away.

Bobby Murphy is trying to figure out his new surroundings.

You would think I’d be in heaven, with so many retail stores nearby. I live within walking distance of The Avenues of East Cobb, but you know what? I miss shopping in locally owned boutiques and I really miss seeing my buds at the Rome YMCA every morning. After living in Rome for 34 years, I found that when you’re out and about in Rome, you always see someone you know. Our standard greeting is, “How are you?” Followed by, “I’m fine. How are you?” You can feel the genuine warmth. It’s small town living at its best. In Marietta, I find that people aren’t as friendly. They don’t smile nearly enough and they definitely don’t say hello. I went to the drive-through window at my bank and was greeted with, “Hi. Welcome to Wells Fargo.” When I responded with, “Hey, how are you?” she brightened up and smiled back at me. I also miss going to a local barbeque restaurant where the sweet tea is just right and the waitresses call you darlin’ or honey. Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.

In my heart, I’ll always be a small town girl. Here, the women wear workout clothes with no makeup and their hair knotted up on their heads. Not this one. I dab on some lipstick and blush before I go to my workout class. My fiancé’s youngest son noticed and asked me once why I was getting fixed up to go to a matinee. That’s the way our mamas raised us, because sure as the world, you will run into someone you know. God forbid that you run into your arch nemesis when you’re having a bad hair day!

Raised an Army brat, I went to nine different schools including three different high schools. Last weekend was my 40th class reunion at Cedartown High School. I was hesitant about going because I wasn’t sure if people would remember me, but since this was the first reunion in 20 years, I decided to go. I’m really glad I did. Everyone was so friendly and happy to see one another. I got tons of hugs and went into social butterfly mode. Yup, I’ve got to give a thumbs up to my Class of ’77. You made me feel right at home.

I know how to adapt to my surroundings and I’m very resilient, so I’ll be fine here in Marietta. Do I look forward to my days when I work, making calls and seeing my clients and friends back in Rome? You bet I do! When I see you, I’m going to smile big and probably hug you. Miss you, my fellow Romans.

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