Shallow Roots — October Memoir Challenge
This week’s theme for the October Memoir and Backstory Challenge hosted by Jane Ann McLachlan is Roots and Wings. Memories of home, leaving or finding it, and of travel or journeys. As I mentioned in my previous post, Family Vacations — October Memoir Challenge, my parents always believed they would be transferred from Louisiana, Missouri when, in fact, they ended up living there from 1968 until they died and were buried there (Dad in 2001 and Mother in 2005). Living that long in one place, of course we established roots. But there was a kind of protective barrier in case we needed to uproot ourselves.
My comfort level with that sort of shallow-rootedness was so ingrained that I accidentally created the same condition for myself in adulthood. Rick and I lived in our first house in Kirkwood, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis) for 17 years, but we always had a plan to move into the country in the next 2 to 5 years a time period that discouraged making deep ties with the community.
When we finally bought a new house, where did we buy it? Kirkwood.
After our move, I began to investigate how to become more involved in my community. Before I committed to an area of focus, Kirkwood experienced a tragedy that I wrote about earlier this year: Fifth Anniversary of Kirkwood City Hall Shooting. That propelled both the direction of my involvement and an increased intensity. After a life-time of shallow roots, I still feel emotionally capable of leaving, but there are things and people in Kirkwood that I would miss and that’s good to know. It means that a root or two has found sustenance in the place where I live.
How deeply rooted do you feel where you live now?
I love the enclosed sun porch on your house. Funny how no matter how long you lived in a place, you always felt ready to move. I’m the opposite – no matter how short a time I stay in a place – even if I know in advance it’ll be only a few years, and it is – I put down roots so deep it’s a wrench to leave. I love to travel, but I need to be tied to a place I’m coming back to.
I am coming back to this concept of rootedness that you write about.
Your deeper focus and my involvement in Kirkwood happened at the same time, caused by the same tragic event, that propelled me from feeling “not from here” to “wanting to make a difference here.”
We moved here in August 2007 and are still here. I deeply miss my home across the state and thought that is where my husband, children, and I would be forever. It still feels temporary in Kirkwood because we haven’t purchased a home here, just recently selling our home in Lee’s Summit.
It makes me wonder how long it takes to feel rooted, even though I am one of the longest residents of our little street in our townhome community. 5 years? 10 years? I wonder.
I remain intrigued by this concept in this blog post.
Deep roots, and yet. I try to imagine myself here in twenty years and wonder. Will I still want to be where I’ve been for twenty-five years?
What an interesting post. When my former husband and I first moved to Sudbury, it was a temporary move for both of us. We’d met in Toronto and were moving to his hometown just to establish ourselves financially so we could move back to the city with enough money to set ourselves up properly. I tried to make friends, but my normally deep sense of commitment wasn’t engaged yet. It was only when my husband left our marriage that I had to decide to stay in Sudbury or move away. It’s a tough choice, but I decided to deepen my roots here. There are days when it’s still a challenge, but I don’t regret my decision (yet!).
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