It’s ironic. I never did learn the term. Redmond-ite? Redmond-er? Redmon-tonian? Redmon-gander?
What in Microsoft do you call a native of Redmond?
A person who grew up here. Learned to ride a bike here. Went to school here. And eventually worked here.
The terminology may elude me, but it is certainly a concept I can grasp.
Redmond has been what I’ve called home for nearly 28 years. Even when I went to Western Washington University for four years — technically five, but don’t tell anyone — or when I had an apartment in Seattle for a short period, Redmond was my answer to where I called home.
Horace Mann was the first school I ever attended in 1986. Redmond High the school I finally graduated from in 1999. And for the past two years, the Redmond Reporter is where I have worked as the sports and city council reporter. But this week, that will change, as I have accepted a different position in Washington, D.C.
I have no illusions that most readers — save for my mom and maybe the lovely women in her monthly book club group — don’t know, or even care, whose byline is on the stories in the local newspaper. Readers pick up a copy of the Redmond Reporter to hear about Marcus Flynn’s great basketball game or the four-to-three lane conversion on Education Hill the City Council voted on, not because they see “Christopher A. Smith” on the top.
But I would like to think that my history has given me a unique perspective to the stories I have had the pleasure to write. That may not be ideal for big-city newspapers, but I do argue it is community journalism at its finest.
I have written for virtually every paper under the Reporter Newspaper umbrella. The Kent Reporter, Auburn Reporter, Renton Reporter, Bellevue Reporter, Bothell Reporter and so-on-and so-forth.
But — and hopefully the editor and chief isn’t reading this — I don’t think I enjoyed any of them, or took as much pride in writing for those newpspapers, as much as writing for Redmond.
Redmond is the only place I sat in construction traffic in my parents Dodge Caravan when Avondale was being transformed from congested two-lane road to the four-lane arterial it is now. I am exasperated at the price of gas at the Texaco — now a Shell — off 116th Avenue Northeast. It went above $1 a gallon for the first time on the same week I obtained a drivers license.
My unique perspective comes from graduating from Redmond High, and then seeing it destroyed for the beautiful new campus now.
It’s why a smile crept across my face the first time I walked back into Redmond High’s football stadium on a Friday night for my first Mustang football game in seven years.
It’s a feeling only someone gets who has grown up here, lived here and come back here.
I will take always look back fondly at my time here at Redmond as I had the privilege of reporting on several memorable events. Record-setting volleyball and wrestling teams at Redmond. A historical run for The Bear Creek School basketball teams, and the return of glory for the Overlake soccer teams. Plus I had the honor of seeing the final council meeting for longtime mayor Rosemarie Ives.
I doubt you ever noticed my name before, and it is equally as unlikely that you will notice the names of the subsequent reporters from here on out. But that also means that — aside from an unexplained, yet marketable improvement in the sports and city council coverage — the quality that the Redmond Reporter strives for will remain the same no matter who is in the position.
The Redmond Reporter may not be the USA Today, but every single employee of the paper has the goal of bringing you the story behind the issues you come across every single day. And that won’t change no matter whose name is on the byline.
Meanwhile, 2,714.8 miles away, the pimple-faced second-chair tuba player from Redmond High’s 1998 band ensemble will also be continuing his life, just in a new chapter.
Washington D.C. may be my new answer for where I call home, but I will always be a Redmond-ite-gander-ion-ognian at heart.
Christopher A. Smith has left the Redmond Reporter and will work in Washington D.C. The Redmond Reporter wishes him the best in his new chapter in life.