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My Heart Split in Two

August 6, 2009

As you all may know, I live in the hot steamy south. I was/am a transplant (at what point do you go from being a transplant to “was” a transplant?). One of the first things many a Northerner may notice upon first moving to the South, is that the Mason-Dixon line still exists, and that once you cross the line you experience the change in perspective from thinking that the great wide country of ours is a whole, to learning that the South is still separate in many ways.

At first, for me, it was a culture shock. Imagine meeting people who actually have prejudices against people from north of the “line”. Imagine walking into people’s homes to find portraits of Robert E Lee, and from my point of view I laugh to myself and wonder why anyone would want a Confederate general’s portrait in their home, or hear grown men blaring excuses for why the Confederates lost.

the commonly seen portrait found in many homes, businesses, galleries.

the commonly seen portrait found in many homes, businesses, galleries.

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my parents, many years ago, explaining how amusing it was to me that the Civil War still exists in the South. That these people are still bitter over losing a war that ended over 150 years ago.

Though I’ve lived in Georgia for nearly ten years now, I still get homesick for the Heartland, and in my head I start to sing those peaceful lyrics,

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,

O’er thy prairies verdant blowing, Illinois, Illinois,

Comes an echo on the breeze.

Rustling through the leafy trees, and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,

And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.”

Oh, if any of my good old Urbana, Illinois, school mates are reading this they may remember having to learn the Illinois state song from no other than the great Mr. Lyons. (the Urbana school district music teacher).

Anyway, what is my point? oh, I was thinking about the song, “Illinois”, and its reference to Lincoln and Grant. Ha ha. Two words that can make a southerner shudder. LOL…. I think it would be amusing to find a portrait of Grant and hang it in my house.

I should find a portrait and create a little balance

I should find a portrait and create a little balance

Now, let me say this, the South has grown on me. I love it. I love the culture, and I love the many layers of culture that you may find if you stick around long enough to poke your nose around and absorb it. The histories run deep. Ten years ago, I never thought I’d grow attached to the pine barren coastal plains of Georgia. However, the sandy soil and hot marsh grass have crept into my blood and my roots have started to take hold.

*Sigh* AND, every once in a while those lyrics creep back into my head, and I start to yearn for the sweeping plains of Illinois, the farmland, the cool light smell of the soil….

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2009 9:02 am

    I enjoyed this – Born on Mason-Dixon Line (Maryland), then for 30 yrs in Vermont to become a Northeastern, now, here I am out in the Wild, Wild West in Colorado. I have enjoyed each stop along the way. I have learned about differences in values and culture and the geography of each different place. It makes life interesting, doesn’t it?

  2. August 6, 2009 9:47 am

    Being in the opposite situation, I had to laugh. I think that people in the North (especially the NE) regard Southerners as just funny/stupid–sort of like court jesters or something. In contrast, Southerners genuinely hate Yankees (especially the NE).

    The General Grant picture would be a funny addition to your GA home, but most Southerners in the know regard him as simply a lucky drunkard. If you wanted to really provoke a local, I think a General William “The Devil” Sherman, implementer of the scorched earth strategy, would certainly cause blood to boil.

    • fayezie permalink*
      August 6, 2009 9:54 am

      That’s very true… most Georgians love to rant about Sherman. yadda and “Sherman chose not to burn Savannah….”

  3. Claire permalink
    August 6, 2009 2:02 pm

    Go with Grant, not Sherman. Even in Illinois, we learned to hate Sherman in class growing up. “That bad guy that burnt down everybody’s homes.” You don’t want that guy on your wall.

  4. Your Mother permalink
    August 6, 2009 4:27 pm

    I, personally, would hang a portrait of Ronald Reagan.
    No kidding.

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