birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

You Can Take the Girl out of the City

Even though I wasn’t born there, I call Atlanta, Georgia my hometown. After a somewhat nomadic existence, my family settled in Atlanta when I was six. My father worked for a large company and was transferred to cities where his company had regional offices.

My family had been in Memphis, Tennessee two years when I was born, but we moved six weeks later to Birmingham, Alabama. Then we moved first to Orlando and then to Jacksonville, Florida. We had a six-month stint in Atlanta before we moved to Houston, Texas for two years. We had a year in exile, as my mother referred to it, in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and finally settled back in Atlanta. I went to kindergarten in Houston, first grade in Wheaton, and second grade in Atlanta.

I loved Atlanta. While it was a big city back then, it was nothing like it is now. I could ride my bicycle to places I wanted to go, and I walked to school. Just about everyone I knew had moved to Atlanta from somewhere else. I didn’t know many Atlanta natives. People were and are always moving in and out of Atlanta. Where you were from was never a question.

I’ve wondered what a childhood would be like growing up in one place and in one house. Do you feel more rooted? Do you always know where you are from? If I live in a house more than six years, I start to get restless.

I’ve now lived in Auburn more than half my life (and I think in twelve different houses). I still can’t call Auburn my hometown, however. You have to be born here to do that. There are even “OFA” car stickers--Originally From Auburn. I’ve been asked more than once, “You’re not from around here, are you?”


Here is Where I Am