I'm standing in line at my local bank, at least I think it's my bank; with all the buy-outs I can't be sure, when I overheard a conversation between two people in front of me. The nicely dressed lady asked the gentleman, "Now you live where?" The gentleman replied, "Oh, near Cordova." She then said, "Well I'm from Cordova also. Where in Cordova?" The man smiled but didn't answer her. The lady pressed on, "Do you live near Cordova Middle on Sanga?" "Around there I guess." The gentleman replied. With wide eyes and an inquisitive smile she said, "Well where?" At this point the man started looking at the tellers as if it would make them work faster. Trying that myself many times I could have told him it doesn't work. He then said, "I'm closer to Colonial Country Club." "Off Cordova road?" she asked. Looking at the man's face you would think he had been in a boxing match; the underdog in a boxing match. He was beaten. The man finally said, "I actually live in Memphis near Wolfchase." She responded with, "Oh."
This city needs a self-pride enema. We walk around in an almost apologetic state. I've heard people say they just moved to Memphis and residents will respond with, "Why?" With people like radio host Ben Ferguson greeting callers to his morning show with, "Glad you haven't been shot. What can I do for you?" to Forbes ranking Memphis one of the Most Miserable Cities in America, you would think the only thing left is to give the eulogy. Well nuts to that!
I've lived in Memphis my entire life, though I've traveled across this country and abroad I still proudly call Memphis my home and always will. I love this City, I truly do. This whole identity issue reminds me of my own experience when I held my first professional job. I was in my 20's and the company was located in East Memphis. My co-workers would ask where I lived and at that time I was somewhat ashamed, or maybe I just didn't want to be judged, so I would avoid letting them know I lived in South Memphis. I never felt good about that. Some of the nicest people I have ever known live in South Memphis. It was as if I was saying something was wrong with these people. In South Memphis we have beautiful parks, historic homes, a darn good institute of higher learning - THE LeMoyne-Owen College and neighbors that are the Salt of the Earth. One day when I was asked that question, out of no where came, "South Memphis." From that day to this I have never denied my roots.
We can't expect others to respect our City if we can't. Now this doesn't mean we ignore our problems. What it does mean is that we stop whining about them and do something to make things better.
So lets take an oath right now to do three things:
1st - Speak up for your city, whatever city that may be,
2nd - Don't down other people cities,
3rd - Actively work to make a difference.
So, where do I live? I live in Memphis.