By TIERNEY PLUMB
As freshmen pilgrims, we immigrate into Fredericksburg from all over world (such as Northern Virginia, New Jersey, and New York). But “Freddies” are the natives who settled here first until we took over part of their land in 1908. The century-long question continues: can we co-exist?
As a freshman, rarely does one escape the confines of UMW’s brick landscape. Besides the occasional walk to Giant or sitting next to a Freddie on the Fred, the two species remain isolated.
But with cars comes curiosity of what lies beyond the bubble of our southern hospitable campus.
My first boyfriend in college did not even go to UMW. He was, in fact, a Freddie, and I met him at the Loft on a Wednesday night.
Before Joe, I had a short fling with Brian, a local firefighter. I knew it wouldn’t work out after we ate a 5 a.m. late-night breakfast at Waffle House (his friends’ favorite hangout since they were 16) and Brian’s high school friend started hitting on him. She was our pregnant waitress.
But my boyfriend Joe proved to me all Freddies aren’t the same. He took me on long driving excursions to scenic and historic parts of his hometown in Stafford. I would never have gotten the same tour from a Mary Wash boy, without getting lost on the way back to campus.
Then there was Kelly from T.G.I. Friday’s on Super Bowl Sunday. She was a 35-year-old, interested in dance parties, younger men and looking to relive her college days vicariously through us. Needless to say, we declined to give her our guy friends’ numbers.
This Sunday, you might venture out to such local bars such as Buffalo Wing Factory (BW3’s) and Fatty J’s. I met my first Freddie at BW3’s freshman year and he gave me his number on a matchbook. He proceeded to hurry home, since he said he had, “three kids waitin’ for me.” I kept the 540 number as a memento of a dad attempting to pick me up.
Point is, Fredericksburg is home to a melting pot of different people and cultures on any night of the week.
Marines flock from nearby Quantico to crowd Brock’s Riverside Bar & Grill every Thursday and Friday for 50 cent drafts and young college women. Or there are the pink lipstick-wearing femmes in the bathroom always up for a round of gossip. Upon exiting one stall I was handed a Bud Light T-shirt from a woman promoting the beer. Is this a normal rapport to have with our Freddies?
In order to devise a comparable relationship of college students to their surrounding community, I looked nearby.
At Radford University, my friends go to Mi Puerto every Friday night to visit “Shorty,” their 30-year-old Mexican waiter who is full of compliments and dishes out margaritas and (consistently rejected) invites to go out with him after close. But 25,000 18-to-21-year-old Tech students call Blacksburg their home, and they rule the town. The bar I went to, Tots, was wall-to-wall orange and maroon.
Radford’s bar, BT’s, reminded me of Brock’s on a Friday night: Raddies and Radford students experiencing limited interaction both on the dance floor and in the bathroom.
Maybe it’s territorial, or maybe it’s an unspoken rule of college life. As a NOVA native, I’ve been shunned from the established college community. At home over breaks, GMU students give my friends and I menacing stares as we parade into “their” bar.
But four years is a long time to ignore your surroundings. After all, you could someday be a Freddie. Or you could marry one.