Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where you’re from


In the South, where you’re from can be a big deal. A neighboring town, Cary, has been dubbed “Containment Area for Retired Yankees.” So you can begin to get the feeling that there’s at least some underlying resentment to nonnatives.

And we’ve got Southern writers: those men and women who are distinguished AND from the South. But, even if I was distinguished (I'm  not), I couldn’t comfortably say I am from the South.

When people ask me where I’m from, I often don’t know how to respond. I could say where I was born, but my family moved from that state before I could even form a memory of it. I could say I’ve been in North Carolina for the past couple decades, but that’s not really where I’m from.

My family moved along across the country as my father was transferred during his employment with a federal agency – no, his work wasn’t military or even remotely espionage related. He worked in agriculture. My first memory is of Illinois, then New Mexico (a place I truly love), then Virginia, and finally the state I call home: North Carolina. I can proudly note that, once I came here, I never abandoned North Carolina, save for the occasional vacation.

Often, when a Southerner asks me where I’m from, I’ll say where I was born but quickly and proudly tack on that at least I married a native North Carolinian. But the answer doesn’t truly resolve the question. 

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