Below is a section from Carol Stack’s Call To Home (a narrative-style ethnography/novel about urban African-Americans returning to their southern hometowns)…the passage struck me this afternoon–I can’t imagine why (he said sarcastically).
I come from a small town in Western Tennessee. When I lived there I was considered an intellectual and not quite normal. When I moved to Memphis for college I was considered a rural rube (which I quickly began to identify with and wear as a badge of honor) and, thus, not quite normal…After that, I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas and Austin Texas…all the time staying in intellectual circles and being the token rural, southern, white boy from a working-class background.
Now I’ve moved to Magnolia….a town very much like the county seat of my home county in Tennessee…I find myself confronting long abandoned feelings and roles….
Not to mention that I’m living 5 hours away from my wife for the foreseeable future.
“Hank spent two more years in Brooklyn. He got over being mad and drove down to visit Billie almost every weekend, but, of course, people still talked, and Billie herself wasn’t always certain where the marriage was heading. A man can get used to city life. Up there he could get his hands on this and that–he could hustle. Down home it was a different story.
Maybe a man could make up his mind, decide to turn his back on what he had acquired a taste for. But the question was, could he get used to the country again, to the South? Could he wait patiently enough for people in Chowan Springs to get used to him again, to be able to trust him? Billie prayed Hank would change…”