For this week’s question, we look to the past. For those of you who are transplants, when did you come to Huntsville and why? For those of you that grew up here, why did you choose to stay?
This week’s challenge has me struggling for anything interesting to say, unfortunately. I was born in Huntsville Hospital and raised on the outskirts of town. I stayed in the same school district my entire life, and even my college attendance in another city lasted a single semester before I moved back home. My life, it is so very exciting.
That first semester back home was the final nail in the Huntsville coffin. On the morning of Good Friday in 2006, I found myself quite unexpectedly pregnant at the ripe old age of 18. My boyfriend (now my husband) and I decided to keep the baby, but it made moving anywhere less desirable after many years of wanderlust. Alabama is so lame, I would constantly whine, fully knowledgeable in all things as a teenager, and quite convinced there was no worse place to live, except maybe Mississippi. (In fact, my friends and I always joked that the Alabama motto was, “At least we’re not Mississippi!” Apologies to any Mississippians out there, but you probably understand the feeling of being adjacent to a state as poorly perceived as your own.)
With a baby to raise and her brother coming a couple of years later, thoughts of other homes far away went just there. Dreamland. Especially after purchasing a house and snagging a cushy job in the shitty economy, it seemed rather foolish to want to go anywhere else. My family is truly amazing, without whom I would have never made it as a mother. Or a person, honestly. Having the majority of them within ten minutes was a great comfort. Even with the suffocating feeling of over-protectiveness, I never wanted to have to feel the stress of being alone in a city. My mood disorder makes a supportive net necessary for the health and well-being of not only me but my children.
As I have gotten a little older, the appeal of Rocket City has grown. Not just the web of supportive family, who would be there for me no matter where we lived, but the sense of community as a whole. Our fantastic public library (borrowing new books every couple of weeks never gets less exciting for me). Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment, the coolest mix of talented local artisans and performers. Comic book shops like Haven Comics and The Deep. An amazing brewpub with the best food in town. A hands-on museum or two. And, of course, the budding blogging community within Rocket City Bloggers. That is just a little sampling of what Huntsville has to offer.
There truly are some amazing people in this town, regardless of our state’s stereotype. You can find ignorance anywhere, just like you can be bored anywhere, especially if you are always the hermit. Building solid relationships in your own community and supporting the local flavors are what make a city feel like your own. Cornily enough, I am proud to call my city home. Come on, guys. We’ve got rockets.