A great place to learn about families

Published 8:31 pm Friday, September 24, 2010

One thing I’ve learned about Suffolk over the past few months is the importance of family in this town. It is not uncommon to witness individuals streaming into our office to purchase several extra copies of the paper just for a single photo that celebrates the achievements of their children or siblings or parents or even friends who are so close they might as well be family.

I’ve often overheard our front desk staff greet a customer and then ask if they are related to so-and-so or tell them that they just saw their brother at the store earlier that day. In a town packed with large families, it can be easy for a transplant to miss the town she used to call home and the family members so rarely seen.

So it was with great excitement that I, after helping design the Sept. 17 editions of the Suffolk News-Herald and our sister paper in Franklin, quietly slipped away from normal life for a week to hang out with friends and family.

Being a military brat means never living close to family, so visiting with them is a special treat. Even my nearest relatives live at least three hours away, and my dad lives 9 hours away in Florida. And many of my college friends, whom I consider as close as sisters or brothers, are now scattered across the country as they begin their own lives.

While I enjoy just being around the far-flung remnants of my family, our gathering in Virginia Beach was even more exciting for me, since my family traveled from as far away as Oregon to party with my fiancé and I at our wedding.

That’s right, Suffolkians, I’m no longer just plain Beth Beck, a page designer still attempting to learn the her way around Suffolk. I’m now Beth Beck Land and while I’m still a page designer and I’m still learning the ropes in Suffolk, I can now add “wife” to descriptions of myself.

My new grandfather-in-law also offered another description in relation to my new last name: “We’re all just plain dirt.”

Hmm. Maybe I’ll just stick to “wife” and “page designer” when I introduce myself.