By Richard Taylor
Soon I will be a permanent Ocracoke resident.
My wife, Martha Taylor, was hired to teach third-grade at Ocracoke School this year. So, I must also leave Elizabeth City, and venture to the Outer Banks, where she previously taught for years in Hatteras.
I had lived in Pasquotank County for only four years when her long-desired dream job came true. Now it’s time to adjust again. I must learn to embrace island living and make it my passion, too.
During my three visits this summer, I’ve certainly discovered Ocracoke offers incredible hospitality. Everyone we’ve met here has been super-friendly, warm and welcoming. We will knowingly encounter the challenging obstacles almost all new residents face: affordable permanent housing, “lack” of many mainland amenities and permanent work (for me). Enter “Ocracoke” into online job boards, and practically nothing comes up. I’ll just have to be resourceful.
Despite its small population, this paradise provides more local print, radio, web, social media, music, artistic, culinary and recreation choices than perhaps any other similar-sized N.C. community. Creative types abound here. WOVV has already signed me up as a volunteer. Sure, gas and grocery prices are high. We have to pay the transportation costs — an acceptable trade-off. One can easily stock-up along Hatteras Island or Nags Head during dashes to Dare.
It will surely take me time to learn the ins and outs of the “Ocracoke State of Mind.”
I’ve read the online warnings about what to expect (or not) after the novelty of long-term residency wears off. Somehow, I don’t think the fairy tale will falter, and my wanderlust to travel back across the water will quickly wane. Like her students, “Miss Martha” has prepared me well. She’s sure I will not only survive, but thrive here.
Meanwhile, I may “see you on the radio,” or around that imaginary pot-bellied stove of old, where island tales are born, re-told and exaggerated. After all, the stories of our lives are all that really matter.