If you’re reading this, I’m already gone.
No, I’m not dead. I left The Frederick News-Post last week and took a reporter position at The Press of Atlantic City, my hometown paper in New Jersey.
That was the plan all along, to go home. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my year (and one month) in Frederick. Before getting the job at FNP I had never even heard of Frederick but I found out so many cool things about the county throughout my year here.
Even though we can’t go there, it’s pretty darn cool that Camp David sits on Catoctin Mountain.
I was also excited to visit Burkittsville because even though it’s all fake and the movie got awful reviews, “The Blair Witch Project” is still my favorite scary movie. When I saw it in theaters in 1999, I slept in my sister’s room for two weeks because I was afraid to sleep alone. I also will not go into the woods at night because of that movie.
I also didn’t know, until I moved here, that the Beltway snipers were caught in Myersville. There’s so many cool and interesting facts about Frederick County, which I’m glad I learned.
But being “the girl from Jersey” in the newsroom here at FNP came with a lot of shade from my fellow reporters and editors. I don’t think one week went by without someone slandering my being from New Jersey or the state as a whole.
The nail in the coffin was when someone suggested that I “tone down the Jersey.”
I wasn’t offended, we New Jerseyians have thick skin. But it was in that moment that I knew I had to run, not walk, back to the Garden State where my feisty, sassy “Jerseyness” is fully appreciated and encouraged.
What’s their beef, you ask? Beats me, they could never give me a valid reason. I think they base their opinions off of that awful MTV show “Jersey Shore.” Let me set the record straight, Seaside Heights, New Jersey — where that show is filmed — is nothing like the rest of the state. And the people on that show are from New York.
Some of my coworkers also said they think New Jersey and New York are the same thing. I can’t even get into how that makes no sense, so I just rolled my eyes and shook my head.
So my last column will be dedicated to schooling my former coworkers on interesting facts about New Jersey and why the state doesn’t suck.
Let’s start off with the easiest — our former governor. Many of us hated him too, but he will definitely go down in history and we had a good laugh at him. Did your governor close all state parks on a holiday weekend and then plop his plump behind in a beach chair on a closed state park/beach? Nope. Did your governor, when asked why he didn’t help clean up shore flooding after a bad winter storm, respond with “Do you want me to go down there with a mop?” Don’t think so.
Despite an infamous former governor and sky high property taxes, New Jersey is the home of many firsts as well as a plethora of famous people.
The first baseball game, basketball game and intercollegiate football game were all played in New Jersey. It also had the first drive-in movie, Indian reservation and submarine ride.
The state also has the world’s longest boardwalk in Atlantic City, the country’s oldest seaside resort — Cape May — and the busiest seaport on the eastern seaboard is in Elizabeth.
The state’s also known for its diners and delicious corn and tomatoes — we are The Garden State after all.
Now let’s talk about famous people from New Jersey: Frank Sinatra, Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston (who’s also buried there), John Travolta, Danny Devito, Anne Hathaway, Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon, the list is endless.
That state offers so much, including three never-ending debates of does Central Jersey really exist (yes), is it pork roll or Taylor ham (pork roll) and is it called a sub or a hoagie (sub). And who doesn’t love a Jersey accent? “Cawfee,” anyone?
There’s 130 miles of beach along the coast, mountains in the northwestern part of the state, farmland throughout and the best views of Manhattan.
Fun fact: Did you know the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are both technically on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River? If you don’t believe me just pull up Google maps and take a look.
I don’t think the distaste for New Jersey will ever go away (we don’t mind the haters), but if you give it a chance it’ll change your mind. I recently had a friend from Montana visit my home state where I showed her everything the Jersey Shore has to offer. Before leaving she told me, “now I know why you want to come home.”
So there you have it. I hope you, dear reader, learned a thing or two and will give Jersey a chance. And for you, former coworkers at FNP, whenever you’re ready to open your heart to New Jersey, give me a call and I’ll show you around.
But know where you’re going before visiting, we’re not New York.
Follow CJ Fairfield on Twitter @FairfieldCj