This is no different than a few towns that I grew up close too. Russia and Houston. Both of those were pronounced differently (Roo-she and House-ton respectively) and you got an earful if you pronounced them like the rest of the world does. Another less known one was Lima... (Lie-muh, not like the one in Peru) and they don't get AS offended, but, they WILL correct you.
This morning as I was driving Monkey to school, I almost turned towards Richlands instead of turning towards the school and I said "Oops! Almost went to Richlands!" I caught myself saying Rich-Lands again. It's happening more often than not these days. How long do you have to live in a place to be considered a "local?" That's a really hard question for a lot of military families. Are you a local when you buy a house? When you retire? When you change your drivers license to the state? What does it take?
I have no doubt that if I were to move home back to my little small town, that I would still be considered a "local" even though I haven't lived there in almost 17 years. They would still all know me as "Rons Stepdaughter", even though my mom hasn't been married to him for just as long. I grew up there though. I'm sure LOTS of people have moved out, moved in, died, got marred, got divorced.... but when we went back there the beginning of September, it was honestly like we'd never left. We went to the local bar and had a couple drinks, and we knew the people there. Same people, just older I guess. It was honestly like stepping back in time. They were setting up for the "country fair." It's a tradition that I they have done for as long as I can remember. They close down downtown (all 2 streets LOL) and set up rides, booths, and food vendors and the whole town comes and enjoys some festivities. I grew up in a village. Yes, a village! There weren't even enough people that inhabited my hometown to even be considered a TOWN! The village (yes another village.. LOL) that was closest to us also used to do something similar, but they called it the Firemans Festival. As far as I know, they no longer have the Firemans Festival, which was a lot like our Country Fair.
There are a few things that I miss about my hometown, and some that I don't. I miss feeling like part of a community, where it seemed like the entire town was at the football field on Friday nights to root on the HS team, and if you needed some sugar, your neighbor would be more than happy to lend you a cup or two. I miss going to the grocery store and running into people I know, and chatting about seemingly an important nothing. I miss knowing more people that I don't. I DON'T miss everybody knowing your business, even if you didn't want anyone to know. I DON'T miss that there honestly was not anything to do but get in trouble or do drugs as a kid. I complain about there not being anything to do here unless I want to drive an hour to do something, but there ARE things to do, I'm just
Someday maybe we will be considered "locals" here and it won't matter. Even though I will ALWAYS miss that small town feel from when I was growing up.