Today I write my final reader column for The News Tribune. This journey has been enlightening, reflective and rewarding. I am humbled that people found my musings entertaining and relatable, and I am so grateful for the chance to express myself in such a public way.
I wrote about Tacoma from the perspective of a new transplant, a young millennial and a newlywed military spouse. I hope that through my eyes, you were able to learn about a different Tacoma, maybe one that you weren’t familiar with.
Many of you reached out to teach me about your Tacoma. You took me under your wings via emails, providing insight and information. I even have a designated TNT reader folder on my email account.
One reader offered me a parking space in his driveway during the Tacoma Freedom Fair. Others suggested local medical resources and reading materials, and a few readers even offered me furniture from their homes. (See my first column about the green couch).
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You have traveled with me through the stress of wedding planning, the hardship of disease and the curiosity of exploring a new city that so many of you have known for a lifetime. I thank you all for providing me with support and understanding while I found my way in a new place.
When I submitted articles to become a columnist, I had only lived in the Tacoma area for one month. I knew very little about this place, and frankly, my initial desire to move here was due to its proximity to Seattle, my dream city.
But writing for The News Tribune required me to focus on content related to Tacoma and Pierce County, and it took no time for me to find the beauty in this place.
Tacoma is a city of classic pride, industrial strength and relatable charm. Historic buildings are still in use as major public spaces; new residential construction soars over the Thea Foss Waterway, and festivals and events highlight the city’s worship of its past and its people.
This is a city that exudes hard work and growth. Further, Tacoma’s proud history and prouder people extend to the neighborhoods of Pierce County and the larger South Sound. It encompasses the wildly popular Washington State Fair, the combined military bases of Joint-Base Lewis McChord and the prominent Mount Rainier. We live in a region exploding with growth, and bursting at the seams with arts, adventure, and culture.
I know my husband and I will move frequently throughout his military career, but I also know Tacoma will always have a piece of my heart and be my home. My adoration of this region does not stop with this reader column; it actually birthed the idea of starting a videography company to capture the stories of the local area and its people.
I will be spreading my literary wings into videography and capturing Tacoma through the lens of a professional video camera. I have readers to thank for that.
My advice to the next set of TNT reader columnists is not to write about something you “think” people want you to write about. Write about you and your place in the world. Write about your Tacoma, and your South Sound.
Everyone has their own vision of it, so use this chance to expose thousands of readers to a place that is fresh, unique and ready to be explored.
Katie Madison of Spanaway is one of six reader columnists writing for this page in 2017. Reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog kmadsblog.wordpress.com