Sunday, August 05, 2018

Does No one Study Geography?

On Friday night, I attended a performance at our clubhouse by a Beatle's cover band. I have loved the Beatles since I first heard "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1964. I was supposed to sit with friends, but somehow that didn't happen. The seating was arranged, and I guess I forgot to mention who I wanted to sit with when I registered for the performance. Anyway.....

After the group started, a woman pulled her chair up next to me, and at intermission, we started talking. I asked her where she moved from, and she said NYC, via NJ, and that she had lived in many major cities; Boston, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati and DC. As she finished her list, she asked me where I am from. I answered "Charleston, WV" and her reply was "I'm not sure I know where that is."  I was so dumbstruck that I said nothing, all the while wanting to scream...."Were you never taught geography? Have you ever studied a map of the United States? Aren't you curious?

Much of the time, when I mention Charleston, West Virginia, people say "Is that near Richmond? Or "I've been to Charlottesville." It is infuriating to native West Virginians and a bit of an insult.  When I was in school, we studied geography quite a bit; I think it was 6th grade. We had to be able to name all the states from a map, studied the whole world geography (although it has changed quite a bit since I was in school.) 

There are so many people from the northern US who have no idea of (southern) geography that I wonder what they have been taught, if anything. If you happen to be one of them - do yourself a favor and get a US map to study. Learn the location of all 50 states so you won't look so uneducated the next time you are asked about one.

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