Nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains in southwest Virginia lies Roanoke, a place that I have called home for most of my life. To the locals it is known as the Star City because of the massive man-made star that sits atop Mill Mountain. To the historians it is known as the Big Lick because of the natural salt deposits that attract deer.
Despite its different monikers, it is a small city that only has a population of about 125,000 people. The fact that the city is situated off I-81 and I-95 makes it a unique and practical place to live, especially with the cost of living being relatively inexpensive there. It is these factors that attracts brick and mortar companies who find it ideal to set up shop there.
One of those companies happens to be Norfolk & Southern, a railroad company that is the hub of the city because of the goods that they transport and the high wages that they pay. It is because of that particular company as to how I ended up in Roanoke in 1981.
My family and I originated from Detroit, Mi., where we lived on good ole Fifteen Mile Road for the first six years of my life. We would’ve stayed there if it hadn’t been for General Motors having to let my dad go when the boom in Motor City was pretty much over.
Having to find work to support a wife, five children, and our beloved pet, our dad turned to a railroad company in Roseville, Mi. who was more than happy to hire him. The only problem was that it wasn’t practical to commute back and forth, therefore we had no other choice but to pack up and move there.
A year later, we made the trek to the Star City. It was a move than none of us were fond of, except of course my dad who had garnered an entry level position into what would later become a career in the railroading business.
Slowly but surely, we settled into a middle class neighborhood in northeast Roanoke known as Monterey Hills. Although the house that we moved into was a four bedroom split foyer house that was much bigger and a whole lot nicer than our previous dwellings, it was still a challenging transition for us.
“Why couldn’t Ginger come with us?” That was the question that was asked by at least one of us children, especially by me and my youngest sister Stephanie. Ginger was our German Shepherd who we had not only since her birth, but she was also our protector as well as our best friend. I would venture to say that out of all us children, I probably felt the most connected to her after she a litter of puppies in my bed while I was asleep. Either way, we sorely missed her.
It was this attachment that prompted Stephanie and I to put the most pressure on our parents to the point that it looked like we had finally wore them down.
“Because as we told you, Ginger gets really car sick so she couldn’t come,” our dad explained. “Tell you what,” he said with a smile. “How ’bout we get you guys another dog. How does that sound?”
Although I didn’t fully understand what compromise was at that age, I at least knew that it sounded like the promise of getting another dog. Being the hyperactive child that I was, I could barely contain my excitement at the prospect of getting another dog to bond with.
“Really, can we have another dog just like Ginger?” I asked jubilantly.
“Weeee’ll see,” he replied.
Next in the series – Against the System: In the beginning – Part 2
Contact the author at:
David Bomber #1130793
Nottoway Correction Center
P.O. Box 488
Burkeville, Va. 23922
email me @ http://www.jpay.com by submitting my name or Virginia State ID number: 1130793.
Categories: David Bomber