no. 16: Native + Newcomer

When I moved out to Colorado years ago, my sister and I were really surprised at all the bumper stickers that claimed “native”. I had never seen anything like that—people being proud where they were from? Growing up, I always felt like an outsider. I ran from my hometown, drew a circle around it and promised myself I would never move back. Much to my parents’ dismay, I never have.

The transplant/ native debate has intrigued me since I moved here-- even more so when I married a native. The truth is though that before I dated a Coloradan native, I didn’t know many. Once I found one, I found them all. I found a group of friends that welcomed people who seemed to enjoy Colorado as much as they did. This is how I discovered Wheat Ridge, not through the eyes of a newcomer, but the stories of friends.

This is the power of stories. We need to start listening to each other’s stories. Wheaties Academy focuses a lot on the power of storytelling, but what I have really enjoyed is listening. I realized that I love Wheat Ridge because of the stories. They may not be all mine, but they all represent a legacy and a passion for the community that I yearn for. I bet if we started truly listening, and genuinely telling our stories, that we could all rediscover Wheat Ridge in a new and exciting way.

Author: Kim Tenure Ibbison, 2018 Wheatie

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