Possible Piedmonts: Three Stories

  • 7/01/2013

Data collected from the "If-Then" survey (October 2012) was used to develop narratives of three possible futures for the Piedmont Triad. Project contributors have been asked to submit action items and tactics to move the region away from the bleak future Mother Mary has and toward a more prosperous future, as depicted in the stories of Stormin’ Norman and Carolina, and the Tech Twins. 

Mother Mary 

Mary is making the long drive home with Elena from a visit to the doctor. Mary used to know all her neighbors, but now that she is 76 years old, most of her friends have moved away, leaving her lonely and isolated. She lives in the house built by her parents in 1950, a modest ranch on the 100 acre farm her father worked on. She sold off 90 acres to developers when her husband died and kept only ten. She wants to sell her house and the remaining ten acres because she can’t keep up the fences or mowing, plus she wants to be closer to her children. But nobody’s buying and the house has dropped in value, yet her taxes have gone up. Elected leaders explain that the tax burden has shifted to property owners because there are so few employers left in the area. 

Stormin’ Norman and Carolina 

Norman and Carolina can see a future for themselves in the Piedmont. Their own children are happily graduated from local colleges. The family just couldn’t quite afford to send them that far away, especially without adequate scholarship support. Carolina hopes that more funding becomes available for special programs, but until it does, she still takes time to volunteer in the public schools, which are on the rise again, working to teach English to Spanish-speaking children. She has even been asked to teach a bi-lingual family planning class at the local high school.

The Tech Twins 

Cindy and her twin brother, Ned, grew up in a tightly knit, walkable neighborhood, close to downtown and the schools they attended. Their Spanish born mother, Carolina, with her fiery Andalusian temperament, was fiercely determined that she and Ned would walk to school, whether in rain, snow or sunshine. And walk they did, to the library, the grocery store, and soccer fields. Their father, Norman, whom the family fondly calls “Stormin Norman” because of his military service, is a physical therapist who made sure that they spent hours outside each day learning about the natural environment enjoyed in the Triad. They also played every sport available to them. Those healthy habits became ingrained in the twins, almost like breathing.