Monday, July 25, 2011

Fair thee well, West Chester!

Hi y'all, (I can do that now without feeling silly) have you figured it out yet?  Had I sufficiently managed to put the writing on the wall?  Yes, I can confirm it's true, I've left West Chester for greener pastures, or in my specific case, whiter, sandier beaches.  It was a tough decision, but in the end, it's going to be for the best.  I'd give almost anything to have been able to stay, but it just wasn't in the cards.  I've moved to the sprawling suburbs of Jacksonville, Florida to take a job that's shaping up to be a much better fit for me and my career.

Am I going to miss West Chester?  Really? Do you have to ask?  Of course I will.  Now of course what I will miss the most about West Chester, is not the geographic boundries that make up the borough of West Chester, with all it's charming homes and buildings, but the people that live within those boundries. (and immediate area)  I resigned from the Borough Planning commission and that was hard, especially with the wishes of good luck from the people I worked with there, they really made me feel appreciated for the time that I put in to that labor of love.  Then there were the friends I made there, people like Dr. Jim Jones, professor at West Chester University and member of the Borough Council.  His interest in preserving and documenting the unique history of West Chester is invaluable as well as is his stewardship on Borough Council.  He was the one that encouraged me to serve on the Borough Planning Commission and I'll be forever greatful to him.  Mary Bigham, of West Chester Dish, bringing awareness to all things foody going on in West Chester is a gem.  Jim Breslin, local writer and founder of the West Chester Story Slam, simply put, you couldn't meet a nicer guy. He really has made West Chester a special place by bringing together some of it's denizans to tell our stories.  Finally no discussion about the character of West Chester personified could be complete without mentioning, the irrepressible John Young of Guerilla Drive In, Brandywine Rollergirls, and many many other side projects.  I would hate to embarrass him, but John really has been an inspiration for me, and I hope West Chester realizes what they have in him as a community cheerleader.  Good wishes to them all.

I suppose before I leave the subject of people of West Chester, some might find it incomplete without at least a passing reference to Mr. Bam Margera.  Now it's true that West Chester has generated some important and famous people, like Samuel Barber, the writer of Addigo for Strings, and Bayard Rustin, early civil rights pioneer, but the truth is the reason some people in the United States and the world might be aware of the borough of West Chester exists at all is due in no small amount to him.  People fall into either a love him or hate him catagories, and although I've only exchanged a few nods of acknowledgement from him when I would see him around town, I find myself not being a hater because he did bring "The Note" music venue into the borough, where I've enjoyed on more than one occasion an excellent show.  Having only been in Jacksonville a few weeks and learning about the passsing of his friend Ryan Dunn in that horrible accident, my thoughts turned to West Chester and how uncomfortable it felt to be away from a town that I love that had suffered a loss of one of it's own.

Oh one more mention of West Chester People, I have to admit what made me proud about living in West Chester was the weekly anti-war protestors/pro-troop supporters on the corner of the courthouse.  I'm glad I lived in a place where people felt strongly about anything enough to hold a sign and stand around for an hour once a week.  Suburbia doesn't have a lot of that, I assure you, unless you count the people holding signs for going out of business sales at furniture stores.

So to be truthful, there will be some physical places in West Chester I'll miss, one of the many places is this home on West Nields Street.  I've never met the people who live in it, but I've admired this home since the moment I moved to West Chester.  That Craftsman style with the Frank Lloyd Wright touches, the natural colors, if I were going to build my dream home, this is pretty much it in a nutshell, I wouldn't change a thing.

So this is it West Chester, my last blog about living in West Chester.  It might not be my last entry into this blog, as I have a feeling that West Chester and I will cross paths again and again, there's just to much things to draw one back at least to visit.  Meanwhile, blogging will continue, so would you consider following my new Blog, "Blogging the First Coast". It will be my attempt to make the greater Jacksonville area seem as interesting as West Chester is already.  Wish me luck.

Andrew Rodriguez

PS, did you ever wonder where arod138 came from? arod from Andrew Rodriguez, and 138 from the 138th Aviation Company (EW), the unit I served with in the US Army.  Now you know!


Mikey said...

West Chester Story Slam needs it's own website.

Andrew Rodriguez said...

Mike, it does have it's own website, did the link in the blog not work? If not, it's
check it some time!

Jim Jones said...

Hey Andy,

Although I didn't get to say goodbye face-to-face, I've been following your departure via your blog and various Planning Commission emails. Thank you for everything you did to make WC a better community. Jacksonville is a bit bigger 8-) but I'm sure you can help them out too!

Best of luck in everything you do.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Andy! I'm reaching out to my followers to let you all know that my blog (My Little Kitchen) has moved. My new blog is called Cook In Skates and I hope you'll continue to follow me there! It's a fun mix of my two loves: food and roller derby!

Happy New Year :)


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Rachel said...

Seems like you had a great in west Chester. Cool!

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