Come on, confess. If you are an expatriate Tennessean–particularly if you are an empty nester baby boomer–every now and then you think about moving back home. You come back to Tennessee, look at the price of a house or a piece of land in the county, and do those could-I-make-the-switch mental calculations in your head. You may have aging parents who need help, and you decide it would be easier for you to go there than to rip them from the place they’ve known all their lives to spend their final years with strangers.
Thomas Wolfe, famous for “You can’t go home again”
Vince Staten, a friend of mine, grew up in Kingsport, my home town, and moved back there six years ago into the house of his boyhood to take care of his aging mother. She died in 2004, and Vince decided to stay. He writes a column for the Kingsport Times-News, which most annoyingly hides his work behind a subscription-only firewall. You can see his blog here.
Vince has some good advice for people moving home, whether to Tennessee or back home in Indiana:
- The best news first: The day you move back you will have more friends here than you developed in all the years you lived away. That’s the nature of a hometown. School, church, sports leagues, playgrounds, the changing sea of faces in your homerooms, everything you experienced growing up, they all combine to create a huge base of friendships. No matter how active you were in your adopted town, you could never have as many friends as you did growing up in Kingsport.
- The surprising news: Soon you will have a deep base of friends, many of whom you never knew growing up. About half of my best friends now are people who were younger, or older, or went to different schools, or moved here after I left.
- In fact you may be surprised how little you see some of your old childhood friends. Remember you left; these people stayed and built lives in Kingsport. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to see you. It’s just that it’s up to you.
This blog is part of a much larger website, also entitled Tennessee Guy, that contains travel and cultural information about Tennessee. Visit it here.