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How Time Affects Feelings Of Home

You can’t go home again, at least according to author Thomas Wolfe.

But recently, on a visit to Memphis where I grew up, I felt a strong affiliation and think that city is very much a part of who I am today, especially my passion for music.

The history, the strife and wonder, the menu and soundtrack of the place where we come of age become integral to our identities. Over time, we may have multiple homes that relate to different parts of our sense of self.

Until I had lived in another country and other areas of this country, I didn’t fully appreciate the richness of the culture that surrounded me in Memphis. The foundation of so much of what we associate with American music has its roots in and around this city perched on a bluff of the Mississippi River. African and African-American cultures form the heartbeat of this music.

Back in the Sixties, there was an aura of change and prospect of harmony for us young idealists, and music was one of the vehicles. Recording studios brought black and white musicians together, like the Stax session band, Booker T and the MGs.

At that time, it felt like we were seeing the beginnings of what a more united society could look like – until Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. And now so many decades later, Memphis, Chicago, and many other cities remain racially divided, and prejudice is still costing lives.

The idea of home as a refuge is hard to embrace when we, or our neighbors near or far, are not safe in our respective hometowns.

I’m Paula Garrett, and that’s my perspective.

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