My sister Claudia has often said that she is intrigued by the reasons people live where they do. I thought about that too, while spending a glorious weekend in North Carolina with her daughter, Teri. Teri was raised in California, went off to attend Clark Atlanta University, and after graduating has chosen to stay in the south. She merrily chauffeured me around miles of country roads during my visit. I wondered at her ability to negotiate all those beautiful quiet country roads and not get lost. They began to look all the same to me. She told me she loves the pace of life in North Carolina.
Historically, black people migrated north to find work and better opportunities. Many years ago my ancestors left Virginia and went to Rhode Island to find work. They bravely left all that was familiar to seek a better life. While doing our family history research my sister and I discovered that many of their Virginia family members and friends did the same. They found work and made new futures in a new place.
Three sets of friends we’ve visited while on this trip are what I lovingly call “California escapees” and they all say they’re happy with their decision to leave California. Cynthia and Jimmy are not sorry they left California for Dallas. Nate has just bought a home and he’s reestablishing his roots in Dallas. Gerri and Ted are delighted with their new home and new life in North Carolina.
Why do you live here? Althought the answer will be different every time the question is posed, I think the reasons will still basically be the same. We all seek to make our best life. The opportunity to choose where you live is a precious gift.
FOOTNOTE: No, we’re not planning to become “California escapees.” Our visit with our “framily” (my word for good friends who are as close as blood relatives), Gerri and Ted, in Huntersville, North Carolina has been a time to savor. The area is charming and we’ve made many happy memories with them while here. We visited a friend in Oak Island, North Carolina earlier this week and I thoroughly enjoyed the island atmosphere. Oak Island would be my choice if, and only if, I were to consider “escaping.” Bob, on the other hand, would be happy to live just about anywhere in the south. We're going back to Cali.