BY LAUREN CALCUTT
HIGHGATE GREENS — I live off of the stretch of Princess Anne Road between Nimmo United Methodist Church and Seaboard Road.
Before Nimmo Parkway was completed, I spent five to 10 minutes of every trip hoping for just the right break to pull out of the neighborhood.
My husband could leave work in downtown Norfolk and call from the old Kellam High School. He would be a mile from home, yet, due to traffic, be only halfway home.
My happiness at Nimmo’s completion was great. On the day the parkway opened, I drove it from end to end with no purpose or destination.
Here we are, almost at the two-year anniversary of this road, and I still feel liberated every time I am on it.
Who would have thought that a mere road could impact one’s life in a profound way?
Not only have I gained time, but the parkway has caused me to reflect on the place I have committed to call home. It seems strange that I am smitten with this road while I love the rural nature of my area of Virginia Beach.
Nimmo Parkway the only place nearby to drive at 55 miles per hour. It’s the perfect mix of nature and urbanization – wetlands on the sides, yet the lights ahead beckoning me to shop.
I can finish my morning coffee knowing that I’ll practically be able to pull a “rolling stop” out of my neighborhood.
Even as I marvel at the time I’ve saved, I can’t help but wonder about those whose lives have been changed in a negative way.
That big wall with those creative, concrete egrets that face the parkway might not be as attractive as one’s backyard fence. The speed limit I enjoy brings noise, lights, and commotion to many a family’s formerly peaceful evenings.
We moved to the southern end of Virginia Beach because we loved its remote location, yet we rejoice with each new store and road improvement.
There’s the part of me that never wants to leave this area of the city. So, sure, bring that one more store so I don’t have to go to Lynnhaven Mall, Hilltop or Kempsville.
But is it too late? Have we already lost the charm?
I don’t think so.
Every summer, when my daughter returns from college, she writes her “gotta-do” list, a bucket list.
I recently reviewed the list to make sure we had covered everything before she returned to school. It struck me how knitted we are to this area.
The things we checked were all in our little niche of Virginia Beach. We have picked strawberries, peaches, grown our own tomatoes. We ate crabs from Back Bay. We rose early at least once a week to be sure to snag sprinkle donuts from Sandbridge Market and watch the sunrise. We’ve driven down winding roads to picnic at our friend’s horse farm in Creeds and boat out of Munden Point. The charm is still there.
I’m happy that, after a long, stressful school year, living in this part of Virginia Beach can provide such a respite yet still be a place for building memories.
The gotta-do list is complete. She’s refreshed and ready.
Soon we’ll hop on Nimmo Parkway to take my daughter back to college.
Lauren Calcutt recently retired after teaching for 33 years in Virginia Beach schools. She lives in Highgate Greens with her husband and daughter, and she has a grown son and one granddaughter.
© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC