Have you heard it? It makes me weep. I have it on now: Kanye West and Chris Martin crooning “Homecoming.” You can Youtube it if you want to emote with me.
I could tell you that it reminds me of my teenage years, growing up in Cabrini Green, wishing I could afford to do more than window shop while the Oprah-ites walked around L.S.D. in Manolos. Actually, I grew up in a rather affluent part of an affluent suburb that boasts a mall the size of Delaware and an Ikea. Not exactly good for my gangsta image. In fact, I’d never heard Chicago referred to as “Cha-city” until Hal, also very pale but not from Chicago, emailed the song. I did spend time downtown, but like a vampire I left as soon as it began getting light. And always in a car. Well, almost always. Once, I got out of a friend’s car at an intersection and began walking home because he kept using a no-no word. At least, I think I was headed home. Don’t worry. He apologized by the next intersection, which saved me a minimum of 29 miles.
True Confessions time: I did not live in the Chicagoland area for long. 2 ½ years. But they were formative years. I fell in love for the first time, graduated from High School, learned to drive. I also joined PETA and wrote letters to free Nelson Mandela, for which I am STILL waiting for a thank you card.
I sometimes think I’m from Spain. I spent some time there and fell in love again, this time with a whole culture. You gotta respect women who can walk on cobblestone streets for miles wearing handmade Italian heels. I wore tennis shoes, because I’m American and I can, but there’s something appealing about dressing from Vogue to walk around the block.
Other times, I feel like a Bostonian. I’m comfortable without people in my business. I enjoy the anonymity, the vaguely irritable nature of the people who, underneath that exterior, have enough spit and vinegar to stick it out in a climate that scares most beach babes. I’m happy in sweaters, especially when those sweaters come from organic farms, handknit by a local artisan. ‘Course, at those prices, you can only have one.
I never felt like I belonged in Houston. How does one belong there? I had a friend I love dearly, a home I wish I could have brought with me, and an HOA that regularly sent me nasty letters—all the things that make a suburban housewife’s life exciting. But, after one evacuation and the births of my 2 youngest, I still didn’t feel bad about leaving for good.
And here? I love here. I can do all the things I love, with people I love, and I see myself sending down roots that, I hope, will hold us here.
So, what about you? Where are you from?