“y’all”; and the billboard sign that greetsrnthe traffic crossing the Potomac into thernFree State from King George Count)-,rnVirginia, proclaims “Marvland Enjoy,” arngreeting that would be more at home inrnBrooklyn. Although our state song mightrnsoon be replaced with the “Battle Hymnrnof the Republic”—a few years ago therernwas even a move in Annapolis to replacernjousting with duckpin bowling as ourrnstate sport—an objective look at Maryland’srnhistory could at least provide somernvaluable lessons in liberties gained andrnlost. But there is little interest in the historyrnof a very small state which manvrnpeople can’t even find on a map. A goodrnfriend of mine was living in Missourirnwhen she and her husband were relocatedrnto Maryland with his company. ShernLIBERAL ARTSrnANIMAL WRONGSrn”I’lie perspective piece b- JohnrnAquillino [whose son’s life wasrnsaved as a result of medical researchrnon animals] relates therntj’pical egocentric viewpoint ofrnthe vivisectionists. . . . John’srnson’s life is no more or less importantrnthan any other animal’srnlife, no matter how much hisrnemotions tell him otherwise.”rn—from “Response to a Parent’srnPlea” by ]erry Vlasak, AI.D., onrnthe Animal Rights Resourcernwebsiterntold me that, before the move, she hadrnbeen excited about living in a placernwhere old sea captains speaking inrnbroad, colorful Irish brogues (like thernmadman Quint in ]aws) stoically hauledrnin their lobster pots all the day long. Ifrnyou ask people where West Virginia is,rnthey will tell you way down South. Butrnthe bulk of West Virginia, the region ofrnVirginia that seceded from the Old Dominionrnin 1861 to join the Union, isrnroughly parallel with Maryland.rnA Southerner, however, is not definedrnby latitude, the thickness of his accent, orrnwhether he abides by the rules of behaviorrnset forth in the popular paperbackrnbooks on how to be Southern in ten easyrnlessons. Virginians are quintessentialrnSoutherners, and their accents (theyrnhave more than one) pale in comparisonrnto the Texas drawl. Being Southern isn’trnjust a matter of whether you ever hadrnpoke salad, country ham, or roast possumrnwith sweet potatoes. It is something yournfeel deep in your bones, no matter howrnanyone else defines you. You know thatrnou are a true Southerner when you arernreluctant to visit the hard, rocky battlefieldsrnof Geth’sburg, when you returnrntime after time to the house at GuinearnStation, Virginia, where Jackson died,rnand when you realize that you cannotrntolerate even one more day of the rudeness,rnbraggadocio, and clamor imposedrnupon you by the culture of the Northeast.rnPeople from Dawsonville, Georgia,rnwill be puzzled by my claim that I amrnone of them, and an acquaintance oncernsuggested that my attempts to identifyrnmyself as Southern were pointless and arnbit peculiar. But I will always rememberrnthe day my seventh-grade physical educationrnteacher, a West Virginian, calledrnmy fellow classmates and me Yankees.rnStanding there in a rumpled gym suit, Irnfelt as if I had been called a dirty word. Irnhad always possessed an affinity for thernSouth but didn’t fully realize then —inrnspite of the gym teacher’s lack of knowledgernof history and geography —that Irnwas a Southerner.rnWhen the Navy came to my county inrnthe 1940’s, the locals tended to embracernthe culture of these transients and sometimesrnmodified their accent to accommodaternthe ethnocentrism of their newrnneighbors. My mother—who is still veryrnbeautiful at 70 and who speaks in softlyrnSouthern nuances —confided to me thatrna Northern woman, unschooled in ourrnancient dialect, had once ridiculed herrnfor pronouncing the word “humble”rnwith a silent “h.” Before I lost most of myrnaccent, I had also been criticized at timesrnfor my way of speaking. When I was inrnelementary school, a cousin, who hadrnbeen educated in private academies andrnhad lived most of her young life in SouthrnAmerica, came to visit one Easter week.rnDuring the course of the visit, the subjectrnof boiled eggs arose, and my cousinrnpointed out that my pronunciation of thernword “boiled,” which to her ears soundedrnlike “bald,” was incorrect. Years later,rnwhen I was working on the Navy Base atrnPatuxent River, Maryland, a co-worker, arnwoman from New York state, also took itrnupon herself to correct my accent. Sherninformed me that the proper pronunciationrnof the word “pecan” was “pi-kahn.”rnLess secure in my identity at the time,rnI changed the way I said the word. Today,rnhowever, I say “pee-can” to myrnheart’s content, and “New Yawkers” berndamned.rnIn the 1970’s, 90 miles from the Ganadianrnborder and surrounded by endlessrnacres of winter, I figured out exactly whornI was. Wlien I first moved to Minnesota,rnI was homesick, but eventually developedrna deep affection for Minnesotans,rnwho are intelligent and hospitable people.rnBut after I had been in the Land ofrn10,000 Lakes for a while, I was able tornhear my family’s modest accent for thernfirst time, and from such a distance, Irncould more fully appreciate the peoplerndown home. Since my self-discovery inrnMinnesota, I have tried to tell Maryland’srnstory even when no one was listening.rnThose v’ho v rite essa)s on Old Virginnv’srnswan song do not first have tornmake the case that what is dying isrnSouthern crdture because Virginia’s culturernand her history have been well documented.rnThe growth of D.G.’s militaryrnand governmental complex since WorldrnWar II, aird the influx of Northerners tornMaryland because of the recession in thernearly 1990’s and more recently becausernof military base closings, have sealedrnMaryland’s fate. But as the culture of foxrnhunter, soft crabber, and moonshinerrnfades and is replaced by the manic urbiculturernof the Garden State, a fair and accuraternaccounting of Maryland’s pastrncould destro}’ a few myths about the birthrnof a nation and about the South’s desperaternbut honorable stand against the tyrannyrnof Honest Abe and his North.rnJoyce Bennett writes from Leonardtown,rnMaryland.rn50/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn