Ahh, Tacoma. What a lucky place for a childhood, am I right? We had all the benefits of a major city — the diversity, the entertainment options, the restaurants, the shopping, some of the best scenery in the country — but without an insanely high population. Those of us from Tacoma, Washington know that it’s something special, but many people outside of our corner of the country don’t realize just how awesome the “Tac” part of the Sea-Tac airport really is.
While I’ve since moved away from the South Sound, the 10 years I spent there (from ages 8 to 18) are forever a part of me, like a birthmark, or freckles, or a giant face tattoo. After all, how many places are there that give you an insane view of Mount Rainier, trees in every direction, and multiple waterfront parks? Or countless neighborhoods with their own personality, as well as a growing and changing downtown core? Plus, if you happen to love lots of rain (and who wouldn't?), then Tacoma will never let you down.
While no city’s perfect (let’s not talk about the traffic by the Dome), it’s still a pretty awesome place to have for a hometown. Let’s reminisce together, shall we? Here’s a collection of things that we Tacoma natives all have in common…
1. You know how to pronounce things like geoduck, Chihuly, Shakhabra, Weyerhaeuser, and Puyallup.
In other words, your vocabulary game is on point.
2. You learned about the time the Narrows Bridge fell apart pretty much every year in school.
Okay, we get it. The engineers made some mistakes.
3. You know that jeans and hoodies can make for perfect beach attire.
Let's be honest, you usually need a coat, too.
4. You, or someone you know, was a Daffodil Princess.
Get it, ladies.
5. You still get super-excited every year when Tacoma Self Storage becomes Tacoma Elf Storage.
He uses our town for storage because he trusts us.
6. You felt like such a rebel for driving down Ruston Way when you knew you weren't supposed to be cruising...
7. ...but deep down, you knew walking the waterfront was almost as much fun as driving it.
8. It never occurred to you that there could possibly be anything creepy about Never Never Land.
What's weird about abandoned child-sized statues?
9. And have I mentioned how much we love the Polar Bears at the Point Defiance Zoo?
10. You remember when the Emerald Queen Casino was a glamorous river boat.
You imagined going one day, and it made you feel very fancy.
11. Speaking of fancy, your school probably had a dance at the Tacoma Propeller Club or Union Station...
12. ...and beforehand, you (or your date) got their hair done at the Tacoma Mall Gene Juarez.
13. You've taken a ferry to get to a house party.
So much for being fashionably late.
14. You are well-aware that UPS isn't just a company that makes deliveries.
(Just be careful not to confuse it with FedEx OR with PLU.)
15. You know that MSM is THE place to go for sandwiches.
Because it's lunchtime somewhere.
16. And that Frisko Freeze is a treasure.
...and you're sad for other cities without their own retro drive-in burger stand.
17. You took a field trip to Fort Nisqually at least once.
Shout-out to pioneers, and also modern homesteaders who make their own butter
18. You knowingly shake your head when you see 10 Things I Hate About You locations pretending to be Seattle.
You can also be whelmed in Tacoma.
19. Umbrellas? Please.
You have more important things to carry, like Neko Case and Vicci Martinez albums, and produce from the farmers' market.
20. You know the reason why we pressed our faces against the car windows around I-5 exit 142.
The end-all be-all mecca of your childhood.
21. You sometimes forget that not every city has a Toyota truck named after it.
Shout-out to the Buick Rainier, our 253 soul sister of a vehicle.
22. RIP i-91fm.
23. You know that, at 11:55pm, all bets are off.
If you, or anyone you knew lived on the other side of the water, just forget ever making it home in time for curfew.
24. You know that, under no circumstances, do you drive above the speed limit in University Place.
No seriously, you really don't.
25(3). Most of all, to you, diversity is about more than just skin color…
…And you wouldn't want it any other way. It's just the tip of the 253-iceberg.