I was born in Westwood. In my elementary years, we lived in Whitehaven. My teenage years were in Parkway Village. Growing up, on the weekends I was either in Frayser, North Memphis, or South Memphis. I purchased my first apartment in East Memphis before finally settling permanently in Berclair. I’ve been all over this city, but there are parts of it I’ve still never seen. Most of us born and raised here have this deep connection to a city that was once, and still is, a place to be proud of.
I am Memphis and Memphis is me. This city runs through my veins. I have a love that’s intense for this place. Memphis is home. No matter where I go, I always come running back home.
Memphis has its fair share of troubles. We’re far from perfect. It’s easy to give up when there’s so much negativity around you. I love to see people leave here and make their mark in the world and still rep Memphis. I’m just as proud of those that stay and make it work; those that give back and work hard to make this city better. When I was younger, I thought something in me was unaccomplished because I never moved. As I got older, I realized that there’s nothing wrong with staying in a place that has birth you, nurtured you, and raised you. I’ve planted roots here.
There is truly no place like home.
Growing up here I have so many fond memories. Places like Adventure River Water Park, Liberty Land, and Krystal Palace were where I spent most of my free time. The Mall of Memphis is where I had my first date and eventually got my first job. During the summer breaks we would go to the “country” (any city or town on the outskirts of Memphis) and walk to the corner store to buy rag bologna and crackers. Then we’d sit out on the porch, doors and windows wide open, without a care in the world. My uncle would take my cousin and I fishing with him, and as much as he complained about never baiting our hooks again, he always did. We would sit beside him and enjoy the peacefulness of our surroundings.
Now that I’m a mother, some days I wish my girls could experience the Memphis I grew up in. Going outside to ride bikes with the neighborhood kids, walking to the candy lady house for a freeze cup, getting honeysuckles off a nearby bush, or catching lightning bugs.
Memphians are kind, giving, nurturing, and big hearted. We love to have a good time. We’re passionate about our BBQ and our Tigers. You can’t go too far without someone holding a conversation like you’ve known each other for years. The majority of the people you pass will say hello; at the very least it’s just a wave or that what’s up head nod. There’s something about our southern hospitality that you don’t get anywhere else.
I’ve watched Memphis change over the years. There’re things that need immediate attention. Our crime rate is ridiculous, we need more programs and job opportunities for teens, plus better school options for our inner-city children. We need more awareness for our special needs community. Our law enforcement, teachers, and community workers need better pay and more respect. Memphis has so much potential. Maybe that’s part of what I love about this city…what we’re able to become. If we can find a way to bring back our sense of community in our neighborhoods, watch out for on another, learn how to agree to disagree, and know when to walk away, we can be great. Let’s merge our old values with new growth.
There’s a new Memphis on the horizon. I can see a lot of growth and focus on family, and if my girls decide to stay here and raise a family I wouldn’t be mad or if they make the choice to pack up and leave then I’ll still be a proud mom.
I just hope they take a little piece of Memphis with them.