Saturday, January 16, 2010

You Know You’re “Old School Montgomery County” When…

By Steve Simon.

You can remember a time when Montgomery County was represented – all at about the same time – by a Republican County Executive (James Gleason), a Republican Congressman (Newton Steers), and a Republican U.S. Senator (J. Glenn Beall, Jr.), and by an (acting) Governor from Montgomery County, in Blair Lee III. B-III was a Democrat, yes, but you have to admit those were strange times there back in the late 1970s, given the current standard.

You have a conversation with someone who just referred to I-270 as “70-S” and you know what they meant.

You recall the Redskin-Cowboy-like buildup to the annual clash between perennial, high school football powerhouses… Richard Montgomery and Wheaton.

You knew the local “newspapers of record” first as the Montgomery Sentinel (founded in 1860 and actually still around, although many may not realize it)… and later, the five-day-a-week Montgomery Journal – led by legendary local journalists such as Bob Horowitz and Susan Hedling. (And for this particular writer, you certainly recall a time when as managing editor of the now defunct Chronicle Express Newspapers, you competed fiercely each week with the Davis Kennedy-led Gazette newspaper chain… which was generally called “The Gaithersburg Gazette” by locals.)

The King Farm… was one. A big one! And for that matter, any trip up to or past Shady Grove Road was considered “going to the boonies.”

You were considered the face of diversity in the school system if you were a second-generation Lebanese kid at Twinbrook Elementary School and had a major suntan that lasted well into October each year. (Strictly a hypothetical example here, of course. Not that I know anyone who would fit that description exactly!)

You didn’t go to Costco… but you did live and die by the available bargains at the big-box “Super Giant.”

You went to the movies at places like The Silver, The Pike, The Flower and The Druid… and yes, to the Rockville Drive-In.

Steve Simon is a lifelong Montgomery County resident and a former press officer and spokesperson for Montgomery County, Montgomery College and Montgomery County Public Schools… meaning he’s “old school MoCo” through and through. He is now an independent public relations consultant and invites you to add comments to the discussion if you’re “old school” too.