Charlotte is where I grew up.
Charlotte and I, we have a special attachment that many people and the cities they grew up in might not have.
Charlotte has been many different things and held many memories.
She began as a neighborhood. As an 8-year-old Charlotte was a playground. It was the place that I could play street hockey with the boys and play dolls with the girls. She held all of the limitless possibilities that my imagination constantly dreamed up. The single tree in my front yard wasn’t just a tree; it was the mast on pirate ship and the safe refuge from wild animals that were chasing me below.
As I grew up, that neighborhood became a past memory as my family and I upgraded to a house on the opposite side of town (with more than one tree). Charlotte became a membership at a neighborhood pool. Imagination turned to reality. The snobby girls on that side of town didn’t want to play pirates; these girls were a bit more futuristic. They simply wanted to be the best: the best swimmer, best dancer, best actress, etc. I too wanted to become the best at something. I wanted to see what Charlotte could offer me. Softball, swim team, acting and singing became the things I decided I wanted to succeed at. That meant Charlotte brought me victory and disappointment, but more importantly it brought me new experiences and friends.
Charlotte always brought the fellas my way…but not quite what I was looking for. I even questioned if she would be the one to bring me what I wanted. Finally, in high school, she brought me love.
This string of musically talented boyfriends brought me to see the immense musical artistry that Charlotte holds. I count it a high honor to have witnessed the start (and plateau) of Charlotte musicians such as Jeremy Current, Bailey Cooke, Paper Tongues, Sara Scott, Sarah DeShields, Andy Cherry and many others. Charlotte became a place of instant gratification (partially because I got my license and I no longer had to wait on daddy to give me a ride). If I wanted to be entertained, I simply headed down to the Evening Muse to hear something new or to Stonecrest to hear an old jazz standard.
Charlotte soon became my past as I packed up for school in Tennessee. She had become my shame and guilt. I had experienced all that I wanted from her. Charlotte was now someone I wanted to simply forget. But the more time I spent away from her, I missed her. All I needed was a bit of distance from her to heal.
Charlotte is once again the captivator of my heart. I remembered why I loved her. Now I not only see my past in her, but I also see my future.
And while I may come and go, Charlotte will always be home.