I’ve not been home in almost ten years. I’m not sure if I could go back at this point either. My town, a small river town in Best Carolina (sorry South Cucklina folks), has changed in many ways. When I was seventeen we moved. Didn’t really have a choice in the matter at the time. Things have apparently changed for the worse.
Somethings went bad. NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, destroyed my town and many of the others around it. The textile mills all shuttered and the town’s lost what little they had going for them. The imported slave labor was becoming a problem as well. We would drive by some of the fields and you would see hundreds of tiny shacks. Shanties that these Mexicans would live in for months while tending crops. Kids weren’t allowed to work those jobs anymore, it was inhumane or beneath them to work in the summer as a field hand.
The Estuary, known only as such in the area, was a near completely unique ecosystem. Marine biologists praised it and sometimes, where the sailboats would have their annual regatta on the river, you would see the big naval and University of North Carolina research vessels anchored. It’s been ten years. There are 55+ condominiums put up over it now. The ecosystem destroyed to house and keep comfortable foreigners and Yankees with no respect for this land.
The population increased from a thousand up to almost ten thousand. Checking the demographics, it’s largely folks moving there. But there is no industry left. No jobs that pay higher than $10 without 10 years experience.
My story is not unique really. The South has been gutted again, this time of her people. I didn’t fully realize the implications of all the moves we made in my youth. My father didn’t either, he just wanted a better life for us, so he chased money in his trade. We didn’t even move all that much, about three times before and during third grade and then, only once more just before my senior year of high school.
The only state I’ve lived in that wasn’t one of our eleven states was West Virginia. We only lived there eight months. But, other than my native Eastern North Carolina, I’ve never felt a strong connection to those places we relocated to. My goal is to still move back one day, but what will I even be moving back to at this point? Things have changed dramatically and, largely, for the worse.
This hasn’t been a “woe is me tale.” This is cautionary. Even within your own state (we moved from coastal Carolina to deep in the Piedmont and back) the regions are going to be different, we all know this. The cultures change as well. We all may be Southerners, but becoming a diaspora in your own land is no way to live.
It’s similar to what you hear from someone in the Imperial Army. They are connected only to the landmass – no culture, no direct roots, no place to consistently lay their heads and call home. Hiraeth is a terrible feeling and many in our generation feel it.
In closing, protect your family and ancestral homelands. Keep your family together, don’t be spread across the states.
I’ll close out with a Bible verse. Jeremiah 3:14-24 (Douay-Rheims Version)
14 Return, O ye revolting children, saith the Lord: for I am your I husband: and I will take you,
one of a city, and two of a kindred, and will bring you into Sion.
15 And I will give you pastors according to my own heart, and they shall feed you with
knowledge and doctrine.
16 And when you shall be multiplied, and increase in the land in those days, saith the Lord, they
shall say no more: The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come upon the heart,
neither shall they remember it, neither shall it be visited, neither shall that be done any more.
17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord: and all the nations shall be
gathered together to it, in the name of the Lord to Jerusalem, and they shall not walk after the
perversity of their most wicked heart.
18 In those days the house of Juda shall go to the house of Israel, and they shall come together
out of the land of the north to the land which I gave to your fathers.
19 But I said: How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a lovely land, the goodly
inheritance of the armies of the Gentiles? And I said: Thou shalt call me father and shalt not
cease to walk after me.
20 But as a woman that despiseth her lover, so hath the house of Israel despised me, saith the
21 A voice was heard in the highways, weeping and howling of the children of Israel: because
they have made their way wicked, they have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 Return, you rebellious children, and I will heal your rebellions. Behold we come to thee: for
thou art the Lord our God.
23 In very deed the hills were liars, and the multitude of the mountains: truly in the Lord our God
is the salvation of Israel.
24 Confusion hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their
herds, their sons and their daughters.
Oh, I'm a good old Rebel, now that's just what I am; For this "Fair Land of Freedom" I do not give a damn! I'm glad I fit against it, I only wish we'd won, And I don't want no pardon for anything I done.