Missing Memphis: Realizing it’s Home

Posted on September 1, 2014


By Katie Butler

It is no secret that I have been away a lot this summer, not only in my hometown of Houston, but working in Burnet, Texas, studying abroad in Oxford, England, and being fortunate enough to go on family vacations in other countries. I am a very, very lucky woman. But somehow, being away from Memphis has made me appreciate it that much more, causing me to reflect on why part of me feels “missing” when I am not there.

Could it be the wonderful restaurants? My regular presence at Café Eclectic and my personal favorite, Beauty Shop, has got to have something to do with it, right? No, maybe it is the freeing feeling of being able to walk around Overton Park under the new arches, and breathe in the green air around me. But wait, is has got to have something to do with the view from the top of the Madison Hotel, the sounds from the Levitt Shell, or the feeling of crossing over the bridge from Arkansas into Memphis, right?

While all of these factors mean a great deal to me, I still found myself questioning why I missed Memphis so much. I dearly loved the places and culture of Memphis itself; I could say that for certain. Memphis has a way of making you feel like you can invent, create, or be anything that your heart desires. As my previous posts have mentioned, there is food to be tasted, history to be created, things to be explored, and potential to be harnessed. And yet, there was something I hadn’t realized. But I think I finally figured it out; it is the people.

I was having a conversation with a close friend the other day about what we wanted to do with our lives. As weird as it is for twenty year olds, we have conversations all the time about what it will be like when we graduate from Rhodes and where our lives will take us on our next adventure. Neither of us are from Memphis, we met less than a year ago, and neither of us has set plans about what we want to do in the future, especially when it comes to jobs, families, and retirement. However, there was one common theme that came up in our conversations; we both envisioned making a life in Memphis.

So I think I have figured out the thing that I had never realized before; Memphis is not Memphis because of the places it has to go, the food that it has to eat, or the potential that it has as a city. No, Memphis is the place that it is because of Memphians. And by Memphians, I mean its people.

We may all come from different places; some of my best friends are from Nashville, St. Louis, Atlanta, Charlotte, and I am from Houston. However, we all willingly chose to start our college years in Memphis for some unexplainable reason, and I would bet that none of us would hesitate to say that we are Memphians ourselves, and that Memphis is our home. Why? Because that is where we are able to grow, learn, and interact with one another.

Memphis is home because of the people who came before me; the ones who built the structures, created the history, and started trends. Memphis is home because of the people where are there right now; those of us who are exploring, rebuilding, and revamping. And Memphis is home because of the people who will come after me; those who will expand and carry on the legacy.

Memphis is home because of the Memphians. Because of the people. Because of my friends. Because of those who believe in me and push me to experience all that Memphis has to offer. So that is why, this summer, I have missed Memphis so dearly. And that is why I am beyond thrilled to be there in a week, ready to pick up right where I left off.

So reflecting on my summer of “missing Memphis,” I have to say thank you all who have read my summer mini-series. For those of you who are not in Memphis, I hope that you now are either excited to go back or make a visit. And to those of you in Memphis right now, make the most of it, for this city is something to be celebrated. Why? It’s home.

Posted in: Lifestyle