As of today, I have lived in Cobb County for thirty years.
It takes a minute for me to realize just how long that is. I've lived here for 33% longer than I lived everywhere else combined. I've lived here almost two and a half times longer than I lived in Rome. I've lived here four times longer than I lived in Cedartown (both times combined... I lived there for a while when I was four, then again when Susan and I got married in 1971, just before I turned eighteen).
I have always thought of Rome as my home town, since that's the place where most of my formative experiences occurred, but something has to be said for the place where one has lived the vast majority of his life.
In early March of 1977, Susan got a job offer from Management Science America, whose offices were located near Lenox Square. We chose to split the difference and look for an apartment in Marietta, since I'd still be driving back to Rome every day (I continued to teach there for two and a quarter more years, in fact, before taking a job at North Cobb High School). After a little bit of looking, we chose Savannah Oaks Apartments on Franklin Road as our residence. Susan stayed with our friend, Larry Mason, for her first week of work while I went back to Cedartown and spent several days packing our belongings for the movers to haul them to Marietta (vital lesson learned in this experience: don't pack your books in a refrigerator-sized box if you expect any normal human beings to ever be able to pick up the box afterwards). On March 18th, the movers showed up... and on March 19th, we experienced our first full day as Marietta residents.
If you know Cobb County nowadays, you know that Franklin Road is now one of the most blighted, crime-ridden areas in Cobb. However, in 1977 Franklin Road was the up-and-coming area of Cobb County--close to Cumberland Mall, lined with upscale apartments, not too far away from a host of restaurants, theaters, and shopping centers... We felt like we had really gone up-scale, since prior to moving to Cobb County we had never had central heat and air conditioning!
I adapted to life in Cobb County pretty quickly--although we never did adapt to apartment life very well. We had to move from our first apartment after a matter of months because of a horrible noise problem (upstairs neighbors with a huge, lumbering dog and an apartment that had absolutely no soundproofing between floors); the townhome apartment we moved into was much better, and was actually relatively enjoyable for the two years that we lived there.
In May of 1979, we bought our first house in Kennesaw, located about ten miles further north in Cobb County. That translated to "closer for me, farther for Susan." A year later, I was hired at North Cobb High School, only three miles from our new home... for the first time, I was working within minutes of the place where I lived!
We stayed there until October of 1986, when we bought a house on Milstead Circle in Marietta, about seven miles southeast of our Kennesaw home. We moved up from 1450 square feet to 2500 square feet, and we felt like we were living in a veritable mansion.
And that's where we remained until April of 1996, when we bought this house. It's hard to believe that we've been here for eleven years now; this is the longest I've lived in any house in my life, in fact. Due to the vagaries of personal relativity, though, it seems like this is still our "new home," and in fact there are still a few boxes in the basement that we haven't unpacked from the last move. (I suspect that, if you haven't needed to unpack 'em in eleven years, you probably don't need 'em at all...)
In 1992 we bought a weekend home in Rome, but as much as I enjoyed our seven years there, I never really thought of us as "living there." Marietta was still our home; Rome was our getaway.
Now it's 2007, and I have doubts that I'll move again. We've thought about it, but I really like being close enough to everything that I can walk to the bank, the drugstore, the grocery, the theater, Target... Heck, if this chunk of Earth was thrown into space in the aftermath of a planetary explosion, we could survive quite well so long as someone constructed a dome over it like Argo City!...
Thirty years... I never imagined, on that fateful 82 degree day in March of 1977, that I would be setting down roots that would last for the rest of my life. Funny how things happen, isn't it?