Suddenly Southern by Maureen Duffin-Ward

Chapter 1

When your husband says, “Honey, ever been South?” be afraid -– be very afraid. According to my grief counselor, I’m sorry, I mean, relocation coach, the average person takes one year to adjust to a move. I guess that makes me below average. On my one-year anniversary in Raleigh, North Carolina, I:

- could only sleep facing North
- still got told twice a week, “You sound like the Nanny!”
- still flew to Philly for my haircuts
- got my local news by typing www.phillynews.com into the computer
- had called the police on my mailman. How was I to know the mailman drove a burnt orange Chevrolet? All I knew was that there was a suspicious car parked outside the house, and a man was rifling through the mailbox. That’s a Federal Crime, right?

What brought me to Raleigh in the first place? Got a minute? We had been married about a year when Mr. Promotion shared the great news.

“They want me to run the NBC station in Raleigh, North Carolina”

“You tawkin’ to me?”

For a born and bred Philly girl, that’s like hearing, “We’re moving to Guam.” Philly natives don’t do moves. Our idea of relocation is making our way to the suburbs. And if all of your dreams come true, you get to buy a beach house “down the shore.” Sure, the bold and the beautiful try to make it in New York. But the rest of us stay put. We don’t know nothin’ about no North Carolina.

My life was flashing before me. How could I leave my nephews? My nieces? My mother? My father? My sister? My brothers? My girlfriends! My career? My house? My routine? My life? My God!

But I knew if I said no, we’d be on the couch in six years, and my husband would be telling the good doctor how I ruined his life. I knew what I had to do.

“Sorry, no way.”

And so the peace talks began. Michael pined for Pinehurst and golfing his way to the top. And I kind of liked the idea of getting out of all the baby and bridal showers I’d been attending. But missing my mom’s Thanksgivings? Talk about misgivings. So this was going to be the catch that came with my catch: fall in love, get married, and trade the home and life I knew and loved.

Next thing you know we were going. And we are not alone. According to the Census, about 40 million people move every year. And 40% of the people who move to a different region move to the South. The Yankee migration of the last 20 years won’t just continue; experts say it will grow.

This book is for the hundreds of thousands of Yankee transplants who have moved South and haven’t hit their stride yet. It will serve as a “been there, done that” for the Reformed Yankees and “Honorary Southerners,” once removed. And it should provide plenty of mileage for the natives who think the damn Yankees should just take I-95 North.