American Midwestern City Girl

My mother described me as an American Midwestern city girl in her blog post Drifting Away from your Roots.  If the boot fits!  In her blog post she laments the passing of my Baba (stemming from obasan, Japanese for Grandmother), and expresses concern for retaining our family’s Japanese heritage. She’s not wrong to ponder how her daughters will keep our ancestors’ culture alive.  My sister and I dabble in cultural appreciation (delicious food, fun characters, and we did visit Japan in 2015), but this topic deserves its own post and further elaboration.  The real point I’m trying to make is to introduce this blog and myself.  The blog’s namesake coined by my mother.

My mother’s blog is what inspired me to have a go at this.  I’m not sure I really ever read her’s before, which is through her publishing website.  There are SO many entries, and I don’t know how far they date back!  I recently read a number of them, going back to 2014.  I felt grateful to experience her thoughts and interests, and to have her writing easily accessible to me.  She is particularly interested in capturing history through memoirs, and I feel as if she’s simultaneously writing pieces of her own through the blog.  Mostly it features other literature and authors, but it has a personal touch (like mentioning her daughters) that features reflections of her own experiences and feelings.  My mother is an admirable woman, who dabbles in a lot of activities and does a lot of good in this world.  As we are separated by many states and hours, it’s special to have a connection with her by any means.

My mother and father raised me (mostly) outside St. Louis, in my beloved suburban Missouri.  I really do love the suburbs.  And small cities (like St. Louis).  I grew up playing tag barefoot in the street and through neighbors’ yards, knocking on doors to see if Colleen or Kelly could play, and walking to every grade school I attended (okay, okay, I caught rides at every chance).  I love my childhood, those memories, and the schools and people that carried me through them.  I still have a very tight group of friends from middle/high school.  I treasure their impact on my life, and their friendship.  Many people grow up in an environment, and seek change when they gain independence.  I thought my biggest change was going to college in the cornfields of a different Midwestern state.  I thought my future held a return to my favorite city, my favorite neighborhoods.  I never doubted my desire to ultimately return to Missouri, and perpetuate the same way of life.  I still appreciate my hometown, and love visiting.  I cheer for the Cardinals and Blues like you wouldn’t believe – across several stadiums and arenas.  I guess my desire to return has been outweighed by life’s other goals and priorities.

My husband and I had no trouble agreeing that we wanted a sizable plot of land for our first house.  We had a dog, and wanted to give him and ourselves room.  Chris wanted the responsibility of yard maintenance.  He wanted to look out our windows or porch and to see empty space instead of buildings.  I wanted that, too!  We visited the house we bought three times before putting in an offer.  I drive upwards of an hour (in traffic) to get from our little house to my work.  It’s not a dream house, it didn’t check off every box – but by golly if I’m not a sucker for red brick, wood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, and a 0.9 acre plot of land!  If you’ve read the About section, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out I am averse to change.  I grew up in a brick house with a white picket fence.  So I’ll perpetuate my suburban paradise with a little rural flair.  I find comfort in medium-sized towns, and big backyards.

I think farming and county living is often associated with Midwestern.  I gotta say, those things do not relate to my life.  That’s why my mom threw that city girl in there, I think.  I have family in rural Tennessee that I have always loved visiting.  I have picked from small crops, I have sat on a tractor.  But that was a vacation, not my way of life.  I also never got into country music until I took up with a man who did.  I can thank my husband for easing me into the genre – a man who grew up mucking horse stalls and helping harvest alfalfa.  That being said – I wouldn’t quite describe his childhood home as completely rural, either.  So here we are in Pennsylvania, an hour from Philly, building our lives exactly how we want.  Straddling the rural/urban lifestyles – and I think taking some of the best qualities from both!

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