A new acquaintance: “So, where are you from?”
Me: “Well, I was born in Wilmington, N.C., but I’ve never actually lived there.”
A new acquaintance: Quizzical look.
To make a long story short, my family has lived in southeastern North Carolina for centuries (literally) and my mother wanted me, her first child, to be born in the south. (History and family are very important to her.) So, I was born at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center on a Christmas Day in the late 20th century. A short two weeks later, I took my first airplane ride back to Washington, D.C., where my parents were living at the time. And from that point forward, my time in Wilmington has almost always started with an arrival at the airport. I haven’t ever lived in what I consider to be my hometown.
I was visiting my parents earlier this month and finally took the time to take a photo of the Welcome to Wilmington sign. My dad was driving and my mom was in the back seat, navigating.
Me: “Do we have time to stop at the Welcome to Wilmington sign so I can take a picture?”
My mom (with a southern accent): “You mean that ugly sculpture-like thing?”
Me: “Yeah.” Sigh. “That’s the one.”
Admittedly, it’s not an attractive sign. Wilmington has so many unique features that could welcome visitors: the beautiful azalea trees, the battleship USS North Carolina, a historic downtown reminiscent of Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., but on a smaller scale. Perhaps the designer of the sign was going for a modern feel, but to me it’s not contemporary… just sterile.
The text/font and the flowing blue line are prominent on the homepage of the City of Wilmington’s Web site – likely it is the official logo/brand of the city. It evokes the two major geographical features of the region: the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. The large vertical piece is seemingly a ship’s mast. But without a sail, there’s no sense of movement. What may have been first envisioned as dynamic seems, well, simply stuck in a blanket of pine needles covering the ground.
You can take my word for the fact that there is more to Wilmington than this sign leads you to believe. Much, much more.