Friday, December 16, 2011

Two more random thoughts

On-line papers help us reach back to our home towns How many of you live away from your hometown but keep in touch via the newspaper’s on-line version? If so, what is your first stop on the site? The headlines to see what’s the latest in town politics? The sports section to see how the high school basketball team is doing? The obits to see which former neighbors have passed on? Or is it the Police Report to see either who you know in the list or to see what passes for crime in your former town? I know someone who used to live here that likes to read the Police Report to see the less-than-serious cases we get. One of her favorites was ‘woman reports burglar put old milk in her refrigerator.’ We have B&Es, assaults and unfortunately even a murder every few years. But most of what’s in the Police Report is not particularly life-changing events for those involved. One of the joys of small town life. Family spreads out geographically Most of the relatives of my generation are still in the middle of the country, but we now have representatives in the next generations on both costs. One has just been born in Los Angeles, another in Brooklyn. Since people tend to pick up their accents in the place they lived in their pre- and early school years, maybe we’ll have a family member who says ‘New Yahk.’ Regardless of where they’re born or where they choose to live, a sense of place doesn’t mean that one has to live in the family’s original home range. It may be that the current interest in sense of place has to do with the fact that many of us who moved for economic opportunities want to establish ourselves in our new places. Essayists of place have bemoaned the fact that we’re a mobile, un-rooted society that has no sense of place. But who has more of a sense of place? People who have chosen to establish themselves in a place they consider desirable or people who feel stuck in the place they happened to be born in? But that’s the wrong question. It’s not where you live, it’s how you live there that matters.

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