When I was stationed in Germany, one thing that we ALL had in common is that we weren’t from there. When soldiers are stationed overseas, one common question is “Where are you from? Such a simple question. For years after I got out of the Army I still found myself asking people where are they from. It almost sounds silly now but as with anything else it’s a little deeper with me.
Originally I’m from Oakland, California. Over the years, and during my military service, I used Oakland as a “status symbol”. When you tell people you’re from Oakland…it soon becomes – Heeeeeyyy, Oaktown in the house!!!! It’s almost like your hometown defines you, and if you’re not from one of the “Status locations” you’re nobody. You know those places, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Compton, South Philly, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Oakland, etc. These places are exciting, status symbol places and if you are from them you are SOMEBODY, right?
Over the years, when I’ve noticed myself responding to that question. Whenever I wanted to feel like somebody I would say, “I’m from Oakland”. I can honestly say that most people would always say, “okay, alright then”. It’s funny….it’s like they’re your best buddy now.
But the truth of the matter is that I’ve only spent 8 years of my life in Oakland. I left Oakland when I was 5 yrs old. I later went back for the 6th, 7th and half of the 8th grade….and that’s it. I didn’t even go back when I received word that my dad died of a stroke. The funny thing about that is that I was really broken up. Wow…a man I never really knew and I cried like he had been there all the time.
Anyway, I also have roots in Monroe, Louisiana. When I speak about Louisiana, that is where I’m talking about. So, sometimes I tell people I’m from Louisiana. I really get a kick of saying that now because of that new reality TV show, Duck Dynasty. They say they are located in West Monroe, Louisiana but also show some scenes in Monroe….go figure!!!!