The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Friday, January 13, 2006

I just can't quite bring myself to title this post "Jersey Girl"

When I was about 7 or 8, my great aunt and uncle took me and my brother to the Bronx Zoo and Coney Island during on of our semi-regular visits to their New York home. I vividly remember standing and looking out over the water at some point during that trip. "What's that over there," I asked, pointing to the land in the distance. "That's New Jersey," my great aunt replied, wrinkling her nose. "There's nothing good in New Jersey."

Twenty five years later, through an odd twist of fate, I now call New Jersey home (and so, ironically, does that great aunt). It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I live in a state I'd spent so many years making fun of. I begged Paul to let me put "Somewhere In The Tri-State Area" instead of "New Jersey" on our wedding invitations and I was only half kidding. I obsessed over buying our house not because of a fear of mortgages or commitments but because it meant my name would be legally attached to a little piece of New Jersey. I half considered going out of state to birth my children to spare them the embarrassment of New Jersey on their birth certificates. I make it a point to slip the fact that I grew up in Massachusetts -- and am not, therefore, a New Jersey native -- into any conversation (see how I did that there?). Don't get me wrong... I live in a lovely home in a lovely town in a lovely area of New Jersey, and I love it here. It's just, well, New Jersey.

Driving home yesterday, I heard on NPR that the state of New Jersey has adopted a new slogan. "New Jersey: Come See For Yourself," it proudly proclaims. The short news item ended with a couple of suggested slogans that didn't make the cut, among them "New Jersey: You Got A Problem With That?"

As I sat in my car laughing out loud, I found myself thinking that I could be proud to live in a state with that kind of slogan. Maybe, just maybe, I belong here after all.


At 4:52 PM, Blogger Rosemary said...

Ya know, my daughter pointed out to me that my match moniker, the root of which is "Jersy Girl", was, in fact, considered by many to be a, shall we say, pejorative, i.e. a slut - dim-witted slut at that. hmmmm... me oh my. I only had thoughts of The Boss... sigh.

I also laughed out loud at the suggested slogan "New Jersey: You Got A Problem With That?". Still, there was a part of me that felt that it was so... New York?


At 9:56 PM, Blogger M said...

I struggle from the same conflicting feelings. After all, I was born in the hospital we now use for the frequent ER trips with the kids. 30 years and several states up and down the Eastern seaboard later, I'm back where it all started and I can't seem to leave (and we've tried).

Also, I blame your husband for bringing me back to Jersey in the first place and the Trolley for keeping me here... ;-)

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Liesl said...

Ah, heck, you got me with this post. I'm originally from northern Michigan, and am still experiencing culture shock even after fifteen years in NJ. I still feel funny when I fetch the mail and see my address ends in "NJ".

I went to my high school reunion two years ago, and was quite pregnant at the time. I found myself half hoping I'd go into labor in Traverse City just so Liam wouldn't have to suffer the cruel fate of being a NJ native.

No dice. He was born several weeks later in NJ, and to make matters worse, the hospital is in *Trenton*. Poor kid. Maybe we should start a therapy fund along with the college fund.

At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Mom said...

Sorry, kiddo, but YOU were born in Parma, Ohio--MUCH worse than NJ. (Don't you remember that we used to joke that you were born wearing white socks?)

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Kristy said...

Ahh! The secret's out. An Ohio-an? Dear gosh. I think I'd rather be from Joi-see.

For what it's worth, I personally know some wonderful Joi-see girls (and boys). And, really, there *are* some pretty parts of the state (even this Southerner knows that!).

But I, too, think "somewhere in the Tri-state area" would have been a delightful choice ;-)

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I'm a Jersey girl, too -- born there and live there. But I'm from the part of the state that's a suburb of Philly, not New York; the northern wilds of my state are a completely foreign territory to me.

We do have a massive inferiority complex. And that slogan? As fitting for a state with some, umm, graft and corruption issues, there's a ton of controversy surrounding the winner. It it's still available, check out this link from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Since I seem to be having technical difficulties with showing a stupid link, I'll e-mail it to you, Rebecca!


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