Caledon: Oct. 2006 vs. Oct. 2007

There have been several occurrences lately that have me reflecting on how Caledon has changed and grown over the last year.

First of all, we have had the "Duchapaloosa" as Lord Bardhaven calls it; the arrival of 8 new Duchy/Void Sims. Secondly, we had a *very* interesting scenario in the Independent State of Caledon Group Chat yesterday, in which someone who "has been with Caledon since it was two Sims" announced in chat that she felt that Caledon Tamrannoch, and all of Caledon for that matter, looked like mainland garbage. Finally, I discovered an object in my Inventory named "4Q2006" and I dragged it out and rezzed it because I could not remember what the object was. Here it is:

Planning Map of Caledon - Dated Sept. 25, 2006

As you can on this map, one year ago Caledon consisted of seven Sims, with six in the planning stages. At this point in time, we were: Caledon, Caledon II, Port Caledon, Caledon Highlands, Tamrannoch, Caledon-on-Sea and Moors. Soon to arrive were: Cay, VictoriaCity, and the Void Sims of Lionsgate, Carntaigh, Primverness and Loch Avie.

It is probably difficult to see on this map, but my manor Coughton Court, sat just on the west side of the railroad tracks in Caledon Moors, in about the spot where Lady Amber's Pavillion is today. My friend Dame (then Miss) Eleanor Brentano built it for me, and I purchased space in Moors for it, but when we dropped the build on the land, it was simply too big for the Sim - it towered unnaturally over Moors, which should have been windswept and desolate.

In October 2006 Caledon, I think the only "defined nobility" in town was Lady Amber Palowakski. There were no Dukes, no Duchesses, no Earls, no Barons....and no drama about how we addressed each other. We called all gentlemen "Mr." and all ladies "Miss". That was our respectful form of address. Ladies that I knew well called me "Miss Gabrielle" instead of "Miss Riel", and I addressed them in the same manner. I don't know if the residents of Caledon today understand that the whole "nobility thing" grew very organically, with very little forethought and planning.

A year ago, I owned an entire Void Sim in Dreamland, Anshe Chung's continent. I used it for a sandbox of sorts, building, playing with terraforming and landscaping and decorating. For those of you that are not familiar with the term, a Void Sim is a Sim with a drastically reduced prim count. Sims, I think have around 16,000 prims, whereas a Void only has 2000 or so. I remember that at some point during the summer Des and I were chatting about Void Sims, and he told me that he was going to add some to Caledon.

I thought that was a great idea, and I told him that I actually owned a Void Sim in Dreamland already, and that I enjoyed having the space to "play". He asked me if I would be interested in one of the Void Sims in Caledon, and I said "Sure", just envisioning having my sandbox closer to my home. The one thing I did hope to do, was to drop Coughton Court in the Void Sim. I knew that its size would probably be ok in an entire Sim.

There was really only one place where we had dances a year ago in Caledon, and that was at Dame Leosanni Somme's beautiful dance hall that was just off the telehub in Caledon II. It probably seems strange in a Caledon where we have dances all the time, but a year ago we were lucky to get one dance in a month, at the very most. I remember that Dame Leosanni would decorate her hall so beautifully - she would create the most lovely themed "look". I remember going to a masquerade ball there in the summer of 2006, and she had turned the interior into an enchanted forest.

It was wonderful having Caledon Moors appear right before Halloween last year. A group of us met in the Moors graveyard to plan the Halloween events for the month. Miss Serra Anansi headed up the planning committee. Dame Leosanni was scheduled to hold the Halloween Ball in her new dance pavillion in Caledon. It was during discussion of the Ball that I offered to provide music as a live DJ for the event. Dame Leosanni kindly gave me the opportunity, and on Saturday, October 28, 2006, I DJd my first ever event in Caledon. I was *so* nervous! I remember how scared I was, and how much I wanted everyone to enjoy it.

It was in October of 2006 that Des offered me a Void Sim, as I was on the "list" of interested parties. Here's a piece of fun trivia for you: I initially asked for Primverness, but I truly did not have a preference. I just liked the location. Her Grace (then Miss) CoyoteAngel Dimsum did have a preference for Primverness, so Des asked if I would mind taking Carntaigh instead. It made no difference to me, a sandbox was a sandbox.....or so I thought! :-)

Lionsgate was, I think, always intended for Her Grace Kamilah Hauptmann and Lady Shenlei Flasheart took Loch Avie. I remember the day that Des set up my meter in Carntaigh, I believe he said to me "Congratulations, you are a Duchess now." And I said, "Huh?" I had no clue that a "title" came with my new sandbox! The one thing I do remember: feeling a sense of being slightly overwhelmed...and a very strange feeling of responsibility. I felt that if Des was going to give me a title, I'd better damn well live up to it and contribute in any way I could to Caledon as a community.

None of the "new Duchesses" really knew each other at the time - we were strangers to each other. What I find interesting is that we all felt a level of responsibility to the community, and we all pursued that service in our own unique ways. I don't know if people know how much Kamilah and CoyoteAngel did for Caledon, and continue to do for Caledon. It might be easy to overlook their contributions as they don't throw big public bashes like Eva and I do...but believe me, they are the bedrock of Caledon, as they both contribute time, effort, expertise and Lindens to Caledon in ways that most of you do not realize.

Miss Gabrielle Riel in Caledon Moors - October 2006

So, is Caledon different? Yes. It is so much bigger. There is a "story" here about "nobility" that did not exist, and that grew of its own accord. There is more of everything, more people, more events, more drama...but that just comes with the territory of any community. One thing that has remained the same about Caledon? Change. These Sims change all the time in terms of builds and residents. It broke my heart to see everyone get so upset in chat yesterday when they were subjected to the attack on Tamrannoch, and ultimately Caledon itself. I have heard this whiny "Caledon has gone to the dogs" refrain more times than I can count. There was *quite* a lot of it a year ago, when we went from 7 to 13 Sims.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that someone that feels "Caledon has gone to the dogs" does not have a valid opinion. The thing I found most interesting about the drama in chat yesterday was that when Miss Cyn Vandeverre and I directly asked this person "Why do you feel this way? Can you explain or give examples?" All she said was more of the same.."Caledon sucks now". Well guess what? That is not an effective way to express an opinion. You have an opinion - great! WHY do you feel that way? If all you are going to do is attack and complain, then no one will take you seriously.

Especially in Caledon. Caledon is a "can do" place! The people here are intelligent and positive. Caledon is not a place where it is acceptable to get on main State chat and proclaim "you all suck", without providing any explanation of why you have that opinion. Caledon is not a place where you can publicly insult other citizens and then just expect residents to just "forget it ever happened". Caledon is not a place where people put up with egocentric temper tantrums. Caledon is not a place where overt marketing schemes dressed up as community service fly under the radar. I've seen all of these things happen, multiple times, and that behavior is not acknowledged or encouraged here. Caledonians are simply too smart and too positive to support any of these scenarios.

I said it yesterday in the State chat during the whole "Caledon has gone to the dogs" rant, and I will say it again...

I love all of you that love Caledon so much. Much has changed in the last year, and more of the same is in Caledon's future.

Thank you.

The Nightingale


Mako Magellan said…
Thank you; that is the most interesting and enjoyable Caledon post I have ever read. Even virtual history is fascinating.
Darkling Elytis said…
Thank you, Your Grace. Not only is the history interesting and well worth preserving, here in your words are shown the best example of why you have earned the honorific.
May your gracefulness continue to be an inspiration and example to us all.
May there always be a Caledon!
Ă«arendil said…
Nice story Gabrielle :) and that's so true that Caledon grows up so fastly ... We see so many sims coming into life, very fun to see all the evolution ...

Hum just a problem in your story, I didn't read any lines about these wonderful and courageous wandering cats that walked across Caledon and gave all their "savoir" and "sagesse"... ok ok I shut up :)
Well said! I really enjoyed reading this and found it fascinating. Griping about what it "used to be like" serves no one. Communities change and develop and as citizens, it is up to us to shape them to what we wish them to be.

And you're right about the Duchesses of Lionsgate and Primverness. I know I can count upon the Vicereine to appear almost right away if needed, and I'll never forget Her Grace Primverness racing through the sims of my SL Relay for Life lap by my side. Caledon will continue to grow bigger...may we be big enough to grow with it.
Lynne said…
Very poignant, sweet, and touching. If, 5 years ago, you'd told me I could feel sentiment about a place that existed only on servers and in the minds of its members, I'd have said you were nuts. I'd have been wrong, and glad I am of that.

Thank you, Miss Gabi.

-CoyoteAngel Dimsum
Thank you, Your Grace. Although the nobility in my land tend to forget this responsibility, one of the unspoken duties of a title is to preserve history and teach its lessons to subsequent generations. This was most illuminating and I appreciate you sharing it.
Graet post, Your Grace! Well-done and timely indeed!
Neb said…
Thanks for the interesting history! Caledon is most certainly NOT anything like the mainland! If it were, I wouldn't have any reason to visit SL, as I spend most of my time in Caledon (and Steelhead and Babbage etc.) because of the gorgeous landscapes, charming architecture, and genteel citizenry...something in short supply elsewhere.