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?