The Tam News

Moving from Petaluma to Marin

A reflection on two vastly different places

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Moving from Petaluma to Marin

Ethan_Swope

Ethan_Swope

Ethan_Swope

Chelsea Catarozoli, Reporter

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As I walked into Tam on my first day attending a Marin county school, I was not only greeted with a group of a new, unfamiliar faces but a whole new, unfamiliar atmosphere. I no longer saw cowboy boots and Petaluma students revving the engines of their pickup trucks but was surrounded by Airpods, Lulu Lemons, and Mercedes. I considered this a pleasant surprise from my old familiarity of wranglers and hearing about the sheer excitement that came with deer or duck season. One would think that a 45 minute to an hour drive wouldn’t be that big of an adjustment. But when I tell you I felt lucky when I did not encounter a dead goat hung on the fence by fellow students, will you still continue to believe Mill Valley is not a special place to live?

After getting a taste of Mill Valley’s culture, I realized there probably wouldn’t be too many goat owners in the first place. The town of Petaluma is made up of mostly far right conservatives with their love for guns and Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats. So I was not too surprised when my mom and I were dropping off my sister, a sophomore at Petaluma High at this time, and were suddenly repulsed by the scene of a dead goat hanging lifeless on the fence. My mom, who grew up in Marin but moved to Petaluma when she had kids, shared this experience and disgust with her friends, all life-time residents of Petaluma; their reactions were unlike hers. When my mom talked about the goat incident and how the kids in whom hung it had no respect for animals in which are still living things, the other moms were filled with displeasure and annoyance. One mother’s response to my mom’s opinion was, “Well of course you’d say that; you grew up in Marin. You people are too sensitive. It’s no big deal, just get over it.” They stated that there was no harm done to the animal as it died of natural causes and was “dead anyways so who cares.”

But scenarios like the dead goat just kept occurring. I remember walking into my eighth grade Spanish class to find out a kid had kept a live chicken in his backpack for over an hour just to let it loose on campus. I remember walking through the halls and hearing detailed stories about someone’s first buck shooting. I remember scrolling through Instagram and seeing pictures of that same shot dead buck with the kid leaning over it with red blood covering his hands like gloves.

Events like these sometimes would get worse. Petaluma Junior High conducted a walk out which lead to an assembly to honor the 17 kids and staff in which died during the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida. We took 17 minutes in silence in memory of these lives lost. The Associated Student Body, ASB, gave speeches about the horror and sadness that comes with school shootings due to gun violence and the people dying. As I looked up I saw the dreaded cowboy boots and obnoxious voices yelling “We love Trump” and slurs about “stupidity” of gun control during our respectful rally. Petaluma Highs’s LGBTQ Club innocently held a meeting and two straight students attended and continued to make fun of members.

Mill Valley is a beautiful, expensive place to live but the students at Tam seem to avoid acknowledging how amazing it is to live here. Mill Valley is not an ordinary town; it’s a very desired place to live. Teens who have lived in Mill Valley their whole lives forget or do not realize how lucky they are. When I was told I was moving to Mill Valley before I start high school and would be attending Tam for the next four years, I went to tell my friends. Most of my friends laughed and made jokes about what’ll be like going to “a privileged, rich kid school.”

Mill Valley kids pay to go out to eat every single day for lunch. Mill Valley kids go to San Francisco when they get bored on the weekends. Mill Valley kids can drive to Mount Tam and Stinson for a short, fun trip with their friends. Mill Valley kids don’t have to worry about getting rides when they can just Uber to their next destination. Residents of Mill Valley don’t realize how desired they place they live in is.

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