Week two in the Rocket City Bloggers year long blogging challenge: Why Huntsville?
The question to transplants is when did you come to Huntsville and why. For a native, like myself, why did you choose to stay.
Well, my story is that I left and came back.
The touchy-feely answer to why I came back is that Huntsville is home. The practical answer though is that when I made plans to leave, I was 18 and in love and thought I’d follow him anywhere. I’d never lived anywhere else or really even been out of the south for any significant amount of time. We were about to be newlyweds. Moving away was appealing.
When I moved back, four years later, moving back was appealing. I was pregnant with my first son when the decision was made to move back home. That wasn’t the primary motivating factor behind the move, but a huge part of the choice to move to Huntsville specifically was to be closer to family and to raise children close to their grandparents.
As one of my favorite Sheryl Crow songs says, “Sometimes you gotta get away to wanna go back home again.”
I’ve wondered recently how long I will stay here. At some point, will the things that keep me here no longer be valid. My sons, for example, talk about going to college in cities and states that aren’t Huntsville. The oldest, born out of state, has the notion that he wants to college in the state and city where he was born. My youngest wants to follow his brother or go to Auburn. Neither seem interested in staying here for college. Youth is the prime time to explore, so I say go for it. Also, they’re in elementary school. A lot can change on how far from home you’re actually willing to go once it’s actually time to go.
But let’s say for the sake of discussion that they go off to school. Finn goes to IU and Caden goes to Auburn. What would keep me here if my sons are somewhere else?
Huntsville has been home my entire life because it’s where my family is, so there’s some temptation to say that as long as I have family here — whether it be my parents, my sister, my kids, etc. — Huntsville will be home. It’s possible too that even if or when the boys are gone, that a spouse (if I’m married) or my career may be enough to keep me here. But I think there’s something even beyond that.
Even if all those reasons are gone, it’s home because it’s where I come from.
It’s not home because I live here currently but because I was born and grew up here. Even when I live somewhere else, I’m still from Huntsville.
When I lived out of state those four years I’d leave my home to come home, and then leave home to go back home. Home was both where I lived and where I was from.
I am proud to be from here, to know the city’s stories and past, and to experience it morph and mature.
I may move away again, someday. But Huntsville will always be home, it will always be where I’m from.