This is not a tourism piece. We know the tourism pieces. It used to be we couldn’t go a week without another national report highlighting Greenville’s amazing downtown. Now it seems like every other day. That is a great thing. A marvelous thing. To steal a phrase from the PEOTUS, it’s bigly.
However, a lot of the stories focus on trees and restaurants and trails and coffee and sidewalks and festivals and you get the idea. We often wonder what doesn’t make it into these stories. What do these writers see that doesn’t fit or gets explained in a way that it seems inconsequential to mention?
What prompted this thinking? We had some out-of-state folks in town and they asked matter of factly why Greenville had a statue of Winifred Sanderson, Bette Midler’s character in the millennial generation’s Halloween nostalgiafest Hocus Pocus.
We said, huh? We love the arts here, but not that much. So we (we being John B.) went to see what they were talking about. They had seen the statue of Virginia Uldrick in the West End and missed the big words stating VIRGINIA S. ULDRICK on it. Now, we love Virginia Uldrick. She created the Singing Christmas tree for crying out loud, and we don’t mean this as disrespect in any way, but we sort of noticed the resemblance in statue form. Her hair is swept back ala Bette, her hand gestures appear to be a casting a spell, and she is wearing a coat that looks like Middler’s cape in movie.
So we wondered, what else is there that people wonder about Greenville when they visit here? We crowdsourced the question to the Greenville Young Professional Facebook page. The answers were interesting.
One graduate of the Governor’s School (seriously, we are not picking on Virginia Uldrick, she is an icon for Greenville) said she was once asked if this was a school where people learned how to be governors. Another person gets asked if they live in North Carolina, aka Greeneville. Some of the responses we got were based on some of our local idioms such as Bi-Lo feet, which is apparently a nod to being shoeless.
Where are we going with all of this? Greenville is an amazing place. Sometimes it appears to be getting to homogenized, but thankfully we are finding some ways to keep our unique charm.