Monday, August 26, 2013

Be Careful What You Ask For

Twenty-seven years ago, I started a journey that I completed tonight.

After living for five years in somewhat rural Northwest Arkansas in the 1980s, trying to see if we could make a go of living on rural land, we left, and moved back to New York State.  We never returned.

In the meantime, time passed, both for us and for Northwest Arkansas.

In upstate New York, we grew older, I gave birth to, and we raised, a son, and my hair turned grey. (I like to think that having my son had something to do with the grey hair- only kidding.)

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, time did not stand still, although my memories did.

Wal-Mart,headquartered in Northwest Arkansas, became hugely successful, as did other Northwest Arkansas businesses such as J.B. Hunt (trucking) and Tyson (chicken).  Populations doubled and even tripled.  An interstate was built.

And, about five years ago, I started wanting to go back to Arkansas, just to see what had happened, what had changed, what had gotten better, what had gotten worse.

Tonight, I returned.

Be careful of what you ask for. I knew intellectually what progress had done.  I had not seen it though, through my eyes and my heart, not until tonight.

Have you ever heard the song "My City Was Gone" by the Pretenders?

Years ago, I returned to Orlando, FL after 30 years and had seen a sleepy city replaced by tall buildings and superhighways.  But I had never lived there and my heart hadn't been invested in it.

Arkansas is different.  Right now, I am in shock, and even a little bit in tears. I'll explain more later this week.

I know tomorrow will be different.  I will just pretend, perhaps, that I was never here, ever before.....and I will have to accept the change.  Not like, no. But accept.  Yes, I have no choice.

More tomorrow.


  1. True you have to accept it but that doesn't mean you have to like it!

  2. Aw, that's too bad :( My hometown that I left for 16 years has gotten so rundown and it makes me sad. But the town of 500 I lived in for a time and now live in again has not changed much. I am grateful for that.

  3. Oh, Alana! I know this feeling, as I took a day trip to my old hometown of Nelson, Nebraska, last summer. But I'll be looking forward to your next post to see what changes you are realizing. Anything positive?

  4. I have never cared to return to where I lived 30 years ago but am thinking that the eye-opening experience (good or bad) it could be might be a worthwhile experience!


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