Dear St. Louis,
I want to apologize for all the mean and awful things I have said about you over the years. It is true that I didn’t want to move to you in 1999 after having lived in gorgeous northern California. Your Midwestern ways and weather scared me.
Frankly I came with an open heart but after being wooed by some of your residents I opened up a bit and wanted to love you. However if seems that, many of those folks who courted us with flattery and false kindness lost my new number soon after we moved in. And I never could quite get over that.
I’m not really sure what makes us feel at home in some places versus others. For whatever reasons, I always felt like a fish out of water while living in St. Louis. Maybe it was your strong Midwestern ways—both the positive and negative aspects of what that means. Or maybe I held myself back from fully embracing you as I assumed we weren’t there forever.
Whatever it was that just didn’t feel right for me while living there, I must admit that it definitely affected my affections, or lack thereof, for you. That and the weather of course: 110% humidity, with 100’+ temperatures in the summer with biting cold, freezing weather in the winter is not endearing. I’m still not over the whole weather thing frankly. But I want to make amends.
So please accept my apology. You were not the place I would have chosen to move to, nor the place that I wanted my kids to say that they are from, but nine years in a childhood is defining. It means that both of my kids identify as being from St. Louis and I finally see that is not a bad thing.
Yes your weather is too hot and humid in the summer and yes it to too cold and freezing in the winter (I’m still not ready to let go of this issue) but my kids picked up some good values while living in St. Louis. And I have to admit they would not have gotten this from the San Francisco Bay area where we are all about the latest and new shiny bright object.
When my husband approached me about taking this job in St. Louis I was dead set against it. We had just bought a home in Palo Alto that I was redoing. I was ready to set down roots, raise our kids and figure out what was next for me after being a stay-at-home mother/wife for 10 years. Moving to St. Louis was not on my radar.
What finally convinced me to move was a newspaper article that my husband strategically showed me in a moment of weakness about Palo Alto high school students who were day-trading and buying themselves BMWs. That got to me. I did not want my kids to grow up in that environment. So off we moved to you for what I thought was three or four years at the most. Of course I gave away the punchline already and we all now know that those three or four years turned into nine years.
Nine years is a lot of years to be lonely. I know for I spent most of that time longing to feel a part of the community. I tried various things, but the bottom line is that I never felt at home while living there. And this made me disparage you in ways that I am now sorry about.
There were some nice aspects about living in St. Louis. I liked that I always ran into people I knew when out shopping or at a movie or just grabbing coffee. Always. And I love that my kids received a wonderful public school education, something that was lacking in the California schools both before we moved away and was even more true once we moved back.
So while I am relieved to no longer live there, I want to say I am sorry for all the mean, nasty, snide comments I said. It wasn’t your fault that it didn’t work out for the two of us. I can now comfortably say that living there was not all bad. Who knows, maybe in another few years I will be ready sing your praises. And if/when that happens I will start with Ted Drewes frozen custard!
Have you ever lived in a place that just never felt right? Where you never felt at home?
As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!