Song of the South

Have you ever experienced going someplace new that suddenly and completely felt like home to you? I came from a military family. My dad left his hometown when he was in his teens and never looked back. My mom is also from a military family. The idea of returning “home” is a bit foreign to me – the closest I’ve come is the farm where my grandmother lives in Maine, but that’s not a farm that will be passed down in my family so eventually that, too, will be gone.

The first place I experienced a really home-like feeling was when I went to college. I stepped out of the car and set one foot onto the red bricks at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (which is now gone, too, by the way – turned coed a few years ago to try to offset plunging applications and huge loss of revenue) in Lynchburg, Virginia. Virginia came to feel like home to me pretty quickly, and it was where I had my first apartment and my first real job and a lot of firsts in my life. After my first bad roommate experience that left me too broke to do anything but move in with my mother back north, I vowed to return to the South one day.

That was 11 years ago. Not long after I moved in with my mom and her then-boyfriend, I met a guy who was also trying to put his life together, and we (true story) had too much to drink one night and decided to move to Boston. I’d been here before and I have family in the area, and was excited to be in a city I loved. And although the guy is long gone, my love for Boston remains. I love how small the city is, and how everyone knows everyone else, and I’m daily amazed by the network of people I belong to. The smartest, funniest, bravest people I’ve ever known, all of whom are always ready to help with an ear or a hug or an idea whenever I call on them and even sometimes when I don’t.

But try as I might, it’s never been home.

I don’t know quite what the ¬†future holds. Well, immediately it holds Taste of the South End and Lisa’s wedding and the 140 Conference, and I’m looking forward to all of those things. Hopefully the near future holds some exciting new opportunities, and maybe a new water heater so I can take long hot showers in my apartment. Other than that, it’s sort of a blur, save for that one clear true vision of home. I’ll get there one day. And I’ll save a seat on the porch for you.

By Jennifer Spencer

I'm a storyteller, food lover, book collector, and a Southerner at heart. I love connecting people.