Tidewater, Virginia. Our Home.
Gird your loins, Tidewater.
It appears that unimaginative twits, like the ones who slapped “Hampton Roads” on everything that didn’t move about 30 years ago, are rumored to be getting ready for a “rebrand” of the region.
I saw it on Twitter yesterday. Been fuming ever since.
You know what this means, of course: Out-of-touch marketing monkeys will be hired to tell us where it is we live.
News flash: We know where we are.
Not Hampton Roads. Not Coastal Virginia. Not the Greater Norfolk Area.
That’s what this corner of southeastern Virginia was called for as long as anyone could remember until a bunch of meddlers - including The Virginian-Pilot editorial board - got it into their heads that the name was too...well, idyllic
Apparently we needed something ugly. And we got it.
Hello, Hampton Roads.
Let’s be honest. We were strong-armed into using that appalling appellation. Shoot, at the newspaper we were forbidden to write the “T” word.
Decades later, the name still hasn’t stuck. No one ever tells outsiders that they live in Hampton Roads, Virginia. No one knows where that is.
I’ve written this many times before, but it’s time to say it again:
When I moved here in the early 1980s, the region was still known as "Tidewater." A romantic sobriquet that suggested saltwater, gentle breezes and sandy beaches.
You could close your eyes, whisper the "T" word and immediately feel the sun upon your face and smell the salt in the air.
Yet even then, "visionaries" were working to change the region's appellation to "Hampton Roads."
When asked why, they offered tedious historical explanations about it being more accurate than lyrical Tidewater.
Eventually they succeeded, bullying a reluctant region into the adoption of a clunky nickname no one wanted.
One thing's certain. These technicians had no poetry in their souls.
The Pilot's editorial board pushed for a "Hampton Roads" postmark, to ensure that those on our Christmas card lists would have no idea where we lived.
No need for more polls or marketing managers. The fact that we’re still having a debate about what to call our corner of Virginia is a sign that the Hampton Roads label was an abject failure.
Let Hampton Roads go. Bring us back home. To Tidewater.