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Meet the Guy Behind Facebook's 'You Know You're from Enumclaw if You...'

Chris Smith graduated from Enumclaw High School in 1991 and has since moved to Bothell, but he looks back fondly on his 16 years in Enumclaw so much so that he took his reminiscing to Facebook to share memories and laughs with others.

Being able to say that you are a native of a given city or town is a point of pride for many people. That's probably why in the last year, many Facebook pages have surfaced that invite contributions under the premise: "You know you're from [insert city] if..."

That was exactly why Chris Smith, now of Bothell, decided to help start the "You know you're from Enumclaw if you..." Facebook page about a year ago. In the last few weeks, activity has picked up especially as Smith began creating graphical memes about living in Enumclaw. The page currently has just over 1,500 'likes' and we've even shared several such memes on our Enumclaw Patch Facebook page.

Smith graciously answered some questions for us by email about growing up in Enumclaw, starting up the Facebook page and how he defines a true 'native.'

What is your history in Enumclaw?

My family moved to Enumclaw in 1977 a few months before I turned five. My parents had moved to the Northwest so my Dad could complete his Doctorate at the UW and really liked it so they stayed. They initially settled in the Twin Lakes neighborhood of Federal Way but my Dad had grown up on a farm in Utah and wanted to have a similar setting for my brother and me to grow up in. I attended Westwood Elementary, Enumclaw Jr High and Enumclaw High School. I missed attending the old Junior High by two years. I was an editor on the Enumclaw Hornet and I was a member of the Swimming and Diving Teams. I was also the drum major for the EHS marching band for the 1990-91 school year which was when I graduated. During high school, I worked at the old Enumclaw public library for a couple of years. This was not a good job for a guy who likes to read and has friends who show up all the time to visit. My boss decided that it was easier to get rid of me than to try and convince my friends not to keep coming to the public library. After high school, I spent a couple of years in Denver, CO serving as a missionary for my church. ... I have lived in Snohomish for the past 14 years. It’s very similar to Enumclaw but with more antique stores and better proximity to Canada. Also, there’s a lot less manure smell. ... My total time in Enumclaw was about 16 years but they were the “formative” years.

Why did you guys start the 'You know you're from Enumclaw if you...' Facebook page?

There were several similar community pages going on Facebook about a year ago. Our mutual friend Angie Keaty started it on her own Facebook page. After a few days of clogging up her wall, Belinda decided to start the current page. We didn’t know each other but Angie knew that I was involved with social media as a contractor for Microsoft so she introduced us. Enumclaw was such a great place to grow up and we all had a lot of happy memories. I don’t get out there very often but it’s a lot different now than it was 35+ year ago when I first arrived there. I attended my 20 year high school reunion last year and realized what a great bunch of people I had grown up with in an idyllic place. Once we started sharing memories, there was a pretty steady flow for over a month. It recently picked up so I started creating the pictures to put on there. Had I approached this knowing that it would turn into what it has, I would have applied a lot more social media best practices to it initially but in the beginning, it was just some friends sharing happy memories.

What is your favorite 'You know you're from Enumclaw....' post so far?

My favorite stuff is usually based around Jayhawks. That place had everything! I took the picture that we use for our cover photo while working on a merit badge focusing on community for the Boy Scouts in the mid 80s.

Do you have a favorite that was submitted to you? If so, what was it?

I don’t have a specific favorite but I love all of the really old pictures and anything of Mount Rainier. The home I grew up in had a large window in the family room that had a clear view of it on sunny days and I miss that. I planned to stay out there to raise my own family but it’s a long commute to Seattle, the north end and Bellevue from there.

How old do you think people need to be to be able to 'get' your references? Are you targeting a specific age group?

I’m pretty out of it concerning anything that’s happened there in the past ten years. Anyone who was there during the 70s, 80s and 90s will get the stuff that I post. I do like to put very specific stuff for people who attended EHS in there but just once in a while because I assume a lot of younger people or newer residents won’t get it. It’s like a secret handshake for the people within my age group, give or take 10 years on either side.

How long does a person need to live here before they're considered a 'native' of Enumclaw?

I’d say it’s less about how long you live there and more about your fondness and appreciation of it. I heard a lot of people joke about it when I was growing up but I can’t stress enough how great it was. Childhood should be magical on at least some levels and Enumclaw absolutely provided that for me. I am lucky to live in a different place that has provided similar experiences for my own children.

How long does a person need to live here before they can crack jokes about Enumclaw and not offend fellow citizens?

That completely depends on if the jokes are made with love and affection or mean spirited. The mean spirited ones are not welcome period.

What's your favorite thing about grown up/living in Enumclaw?

Too many things to list. The great people out there were definitely a big part of it. I love the natural beauty and feeling like a part of my community. I definitely still feel that even after having been gone for so long.

For those without Facebook or the Internet, is there a way they can reminisce along with you?

I actually wrote a book a couple of years ago about a life experience but it didn’t focus much on Enumclaw. I haven’t even really tried to publish it. I loved the books of Patrick F. McManus when I was a kid and if the mood ever struck me, I’d write something in that style about my time out there. I have no plans though. I am adopted and the book I did write was about my birth family finding me in my late 30s and what that was like. I mostly wrote it for my kids to have a record of it and to process my feelings about the experience. My brother said that it read like a Lifetime movie crossed with one of those McManus books. I currently work as a contractor for Samsung Mobile and run social media networks for them. To keep my SM cred intact, I stay active in nearly every social media network and am happy to connect with people who have similar interests. I also do a lot of cooking, event throwing and eating so I enjoy talking about food too.

What else can we tell our readers about you guys and how you came to collaborate on running this page?

I’ve been married for nearly 18 years and have three daughters ages 9, 11 and 13. We love to travel, try new restaurants and spend time with friends and family. My dad worked his way through college as a professional musician in the 40s and 50s. He passed on his love of music to me and I’ve passed it along to my kids. I play golf occasionally but mostly just to make sure that my humility stays intact.

Feel like taking a trip down memory lane? Visit You know you're from Enumclaw if you... on Facebook.

Karol Perkins Kinne September 25, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Thank you so much For this site. I was so surprised When I saw it. I grew up in Enumclaw, but have been gone for many years, I miss waking up to the majestic site of what I call my mountain (Mt.Rainier) of course. Thank you formaking it possible to remeniss with others who loved or love enumclaw.I lived there until 1972.Thank again Karol Perkins Kinne

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