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City dwellers and rural citizens share something in common.

The other day atrios linked to this

Some suburbanites might not easily understand what has made John and Flossie Gallagher stay in their Harper Street rowhouse for more than 40 years. Or why 30-year resident Pat Hill spends a good part of her time tending the corner garden oasis she and other volunteers rescued from "dump" status.

They might understand why the Gallaghers and Hill have stuck it out, but it would be harder to comprehend why Suzi Nash or Kendra Gaeta or Matt Wanamaker or Evelyn Sheared - all of whom are young enough to be my children - would choose to live in a rowhouse neighborhood where nonresidents think it's OK to relieve themselves wherever they choose.

...

City living isn't easy. It never has been.

and atrios commented:

I think it's pretty easy. Obviously some neighborhoods are more problematic than others, but still.

With West Virginia in the national spotlight, a lot of the media and many commenters here have focused on the most negative stereotypes about the state. They manage to find people that fit their preconceived notions and they use that to label the entire state.

Same as the Inquirer real estate columnist did about living in Philadelphia.

The truth is people who rely on stereotypes about city living or Appalachia are just as remarkably ignorant and smallminded as those who exhibit other forms of bigotry.

Now I've lived in cities and rural and while you can find some negatives about both, there are remarkable benefits to both as well.

Here's a few.

All of the West Virginia photos credited to West Virginia tourism. For tourism info call 1-800-CALL WVA.

This is my daily train ride to work.

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This is where I've often gone on a nearby vacation.

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These are West Virginians. They are great people, even the ones I don't agree with politically like Chuck Yeager.

Booker T. Washington - Black educational leader and the first president of Tuskegee Institute, raised in Malden, Kanawha County.

Brigadier General Charles Yeager, U.S.A.F Retired - first person to fly faster than the speed of sound, was born in Myra, Lincoln County.

Carter G. Woodson - educator, author and the father of Black History Month, was raised in Huntington, Cabell County.

Cyrus R. Vance - Secretary of State from 1977 to 1980 during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, was born in Clarksburg.

Hal Greer - member of the basketball hall of fame, was raised in Huntington, Cabell County.

Homer H. Hickam, Jr. - Author of Rocket Boys: A Memoir, the story of his life in the little town of Coalwood, WV that Inspired the #1 Bestseller and Award-Winning Movie October Sky.

Jerry West - former professional basketball star of the Los Angeles Lakers, was born in Cabin Creek, Kanawha County.

John C. Norman, MD - distinguished surgeon and pioneer in organ transplant techniques, was born in Charleston, Kanawha County.

Mary Lou Retton - 1984 Olympic Gold Medal winner in gymnastics is from Fairmont, Marion County.

Pearl S. Buck - Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winning author was born in Hillsboro, Pocahontas County.

Samuel W. Starks - Local and national leader of Knights of Pythias fraternal order was raised in Charleston, Kanawha County.

Walter P. Reuther - former president of the United Auto Workers (AFL-CIO), was born in Wheeling, Ohio County.

This is Philadelphia, where, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, city living "isn't easy."

Photos credited to the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation

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Philadelphia rowhouses

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Famous Philadelphians include:

Noam Chomsky - linguist
Gordon Clark - Christian theologian, professor
Leda Cosmides - evolutionary psychologist
Margaret Mead - anthropologist
...
Benjamin Franklin - statesman, Patriot during the American Revolution, inventor,[1] first U.S. Postmaster General, founder of University of Pennsylvania
Charlotte Forten Grimké (1837–1914) - abolitionist, poet, educator
Benjamin Guggenheim (1865–1912) - businessman, died aboard the RMS Titanic
Alexander Hamilton (c. 1755–1804) - first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury; founder, Federalist Party; first so-called "Philadelphia lawyer"
...
Grace Kelly - princess.

My point is not every West Virginia hollow is filled with redneck racists and not every denizen of Philadelphia is a battery-chucking sports fan who urinates on your front stoop. It would seem that wouldn't have to be stated, but surprisingly many people hold the most negative views of these places and are incapable of holding any other. Those people miss out on a lot that is good in the world, be it in the city or in the hills.

Originally posted to Carnacki on Sun May 11, 2008 at 09:37 AM PDT.

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