For the first time in my life, I’m living outside of Missouri and I am surprised to find these 10 things I miss about my home state. I’m not talking about things like my friends or family, because that’s obvious, but things I completely didn’t expect. These are not in any particular order:
1. The sound of the fan running. I grew up with this, and now, living in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve only had to have a fan on a few times, during “the hot week.”
2. The sound of cicadas. Some summers they were so loud that they drowned out all other sounds, but they’re not up here. ‘Cause of the weather? The trees? I’m not sure.
3. Having Cardinals baseball on every television I walked past. I’m not even a baseball fan (as described in Accidentally In A Cardinal Nation) but I still miss it.
4. Hometown pride. Roots. Most of the people here are transplants, which is awesome for me, since it’s easier to put together a social support network. But the so-called Seattle Freeze has nothing on it on the St. Louis gridiron. In St. Louis, it’s all “Where’d you go to high school?” in a game I called the Six Degrees of St. Louis. It’s really hard to break into it. But, when you’re local, you can play the game and you have a network.
5. I miss the French influence on the city. Laclede. Soulard. The fleur-de-lis decor all over the place and how that ties into #8.
6. The zoo!! As a kid, my mother took me all the time, and now that I have a baby I would love to take her there! it’s beautiful, big, well-maintained, and free! Completely free! 18,000 animals from 700 species on 90 acres, and all free. I haven’t taken my Wee One to the zoo here yet because it costs $12 and I just know it’s not going to measure up to St. Louis.
7. Access to the Litchfield drive-in theater. The last working drive-in on old Route 66, it’s about half an hour north of St. Louis into Illinois. They always play two movies (like, recent movies), and it costs, like $2 a person. You bring your lawn chair and cooler, or spread blankets and pillows in the back of a truck bed, and lay under the summer night sky. I even miss the sound of the trains that occasionally went past on nearby tracks.
Just the sound of this takes me back to the cool breezy darkness after a sweltering day.
8. History. Knowing the history of the place and how it relates to national history. Did you know that, during the Civil war, St. Louis was a Union city in a Confederate state? The Dred Scott case was decided in St. Louis. Lewis and Clark took off west from St. Louis, and there are little statues and memorials all over.
9. Being able to use the word “hoosier” and be understood. It doesn’t mean what it does in Indiana. It’s a little hard to describe, but essentially someone who doesn’t carry themselves with self-respect.
10. The bike paths. I know-the PNW has a lot of options for outdoor enjoyment, including biking, but I liked the biking around St. Louis! It wasn’t nearly as lose-your-breath hilly as it is here, and a recently postpartum cyclist needs flatter terrain.
What do you think you would miss about your hometown?