I said I wouldn’t blog on Christmas.

But here I am. I think there was something about driving down Park and slowing when I approached Holy Rosary because the extra Christmas Eve traffic and their street parking required it. The gleaming golden doors caught my eye the way they always do when I’m in Memphis. A family made their way through the doors to celebrate the Eucharist this late afternoon on the eve of Christmas.

The mother of the family was dressed in a black wool knee-length frock, its quietness underlying the festive air I had just experienced at Whole Foods, where Shiner was on special. It’s all so East Memphis, in a way that I cannot pinpoint and describe without getting nostalgic about my hometown. At some point, I gave up my proclivity to scorn this place. And the thing is, so did B, which is more miraculous than you could know. We both grew up here and bonded in college over the disdain we felt for the nicety-cloaked Jim Crow mentality and our desire to just get away.

But here we are. We walked up and down Tall Trees this afternoon with C. B recollected his stories of the inhabitants of the homes we passed and we mused over how much the houses cost. And we weren’t joking.

At some point I wanted to move back here. This place is somehow mine, as much as I trash talk it. Enough time has elapsed since I lived here that I see it with fresh eyes – the eyes of a parent who just wants one place. One place.

Today has been draped with sentimentality. It’s overcast and cool and I’m tired from sleeping in beds that aren’t my own. The baby has met people who I adore and I finally feel like I’m able to check off things on her life to-do list. So maybe that’s why I’m wanting this place. Maybe it’s because it’s Christmas and my desire to wrap myself in that East Memphis religion is hitting me right in my heart.

I don’t know. But I do know that it all stems back to the Waiting. I don’t know what I’m waiting for, but that’s OK. I’ll let you know when I find it.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May you all find what you’re looking for this holiday.


  1. Merry Christmas!

  2. Wave to Sun Studios for me! I’ve always wanted to go there.

    1. It is so cool! I went on the tour a couple years ago when I was playing hometown tourist, and I was amazed at how tiny and rich with history it was. Plus there’s a soda fountain where you can get milkshakes.

      1. I’ve always wanted to go there. :)

  3. Merry Christmas. Hope you find what you’re looking for. It sounds like you’re having a lovely time

  4. yes, tonight I have found what I have been looking for; that damn corkscrew was missing for days! We’re all about to watch “it’s a Wonderful life” and indeed it is. Happy Christmas.

    1. Very, very true words. Thanks, Bill.

  5. Merry Christmas, and a happy new year to the entire Waiting clan, wherever it takes you!

    1. From the Waiting clan to Los Guapos, hope you guys are enjoying the holidays!

  6. Have a nice Christmas :-)

    1. You too! And BTW I haven’t forgotten about you. I will have a special package in the mail for you soon ;)

      1. Woop woop. Actually, its better after Christmas cause there’s something to catch me as all excitement dies down. Did you get anything exciting? My best present was a hairdryer. Wow, I’m boring.

  7. Life is wonderful! It even snows here….. at times.

  8. Oh Emily, this is so sweet! The feeling of “home” is just indescribable, but you come pretty close! Love to you all!

    1. Home is amazing. Stressful, beautiful, nostalgic, and perfect.

  9. Merry Christmas, Mrs. Em, to you and B & Miss C…may you find that home is where the heart is, and always was.

    1. Thank you, SSM! Hope you and your clan are enjoying the season!

  10. Merry Christmas, Em! Just soak it all in. Don’t worry too much about what it may mean. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks, lady! I appreciate it and I hope your family is enjoying the holiday!

  11. Emily, I am in East Memphis! I know exactly what you are feeling. I too am from this place but what I’ve found is a goodness and a kindness since I’ve been here. I left when I was 18 but I come back here…and people don’t understand…about Memphis…there is a flavor and an acceptance here of any and everyone that has a dream. A rich culture.. a mix of races and cultures. It’s a good thing that those who haven’t grown up here or don’t know the funky coolness that is Memphis. I’ve got wonderful memories here…Merry Christmas, Emily and trust me, I get what you’re saying. Much love, my friend. xxoo

    1. It is the funniest place, isn’t it? I’m so glad you know what I’m talking about. Every time I come home to Memphis, this place reveals itself to me in new ways. I grew up in such a tiny little enclave in Germantown that I had a vision of what I thought the area was in a larger sense, but I was so wrong! I love going to Midtown and the area around Rhodes and experiencing all that I missed when I lived here. Even though I went to CBU and lived in that area, I never really got out and traipsed around. My MIL, who I adore in so many ways, has introduced me to a Memphis I never knew when I lived here. She and this place are so integral to who I am now.

  12. Merry Christmas to you as well! Hope you have a fantastic holiday!

    1. You too, Jill! Thanks!

  13. Home and Christmas go together like eggnog and nutmeg.
    I enjoyed your post very much for just that reason.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    1. Thank, 1PP! I hope you’re enjoying the holidays with all the people and things you love.

  14. I feel this way about London a lot. I’ve spent most of my rather short life there, and it’s a loud and in-your-face kind-of place which is completely different to my personality. But I had some of my best memories there, even if I’ve moved around a lot since and met more people, been exposed to new things. It still feels like home. I’ve been thinking to myself that if I find a family and settle down and all, I’ll probably move back there again. I don’t know. It is confusing and wrapped up in sentimentality but I suppose it’s just how I feel. I hope we all find what we’re looking for.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas! (Though our timezones are probably completely different so it might well be Boxing Day when you get this.) Oh, and I nominated you for a ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’ (I’ve always wondered: who comes up with these awards anyway?). Here you go: http://dlaiden.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/well-that-was-disappointing-but-happy-holidays-anyway/

    1. Thanks, Sweetie! I’ve called a lot of places home – Chicago, Seoul, and now North Carolina – but when I talk about Home-Home, I’m always referring to Memphis. It’s one of those things you just can’t shake, no matter how much you move around and set up shop. You never know; maybe we’ll both settle in our Home-Homes eventually!

      I hope you had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by the people and things you love. Thank you for becoming my blogging friend this year. Getting to know you through your words has been one of the best things that came out of blogging for me this year, and I admire you so much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’re wise beyond your years and you have an amazing future awaiting you!

  15. Merry Christmas! Glad your experience on Christmas Eve was special enough to make you blog on Christmas even when you said you wouldn’t.

    1. Thanks, Elaine! I hope you and Sophia and your entire family had a wonderful Christmas!

  16. Emily, this is almost poetic. I love what you wrote here and I know that feeling. Seeing something from your past with fresh eyes and desiring ONE PLACE. Yes. I so get this. Your fresh eyes are in part due to Miss C. Connecting with your past makes you feel good and grounded. It’s amazing how this takes shape.
    I’m looking for my place, too. Since my trip to Nashville I find my mind wandering back there. Certain simple things speak to my heart. I’m not looking to be dazzled, just looking for a feeling of home and comfort, a soft place to land.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Even since I wrote this, things have become so much clearer about where our place may be. I’m trying to b patient and just open to where the world may bring us. I know that you’re going to find your place too, Lisa. 2013 is going to be a year of new beginnings and awakening. To the future, my friend!

  17. Greetings to you and your little baby this Christmas, Memphis a place I have not yet visited, I’m all the way over the other side of the pond in London England. I am finding this time of year to be the start of a new beginning fresh an prosperous full of new starts, breaking of old habits, I am very much looking forward to the year 2013.
    I wish you a happy NY for 2013.

    1. Thank you, GeorgieLove! The best to you and your family as well.

  18. Hope you had a great Christmas. I too trash-talk my hometown, yet every so often it just sounds good to curl up in for a while.

    1. I love being able to drive around and not have to think at all about the best and fastest way to get somewhere. Hometowns unlock something in our brains like that. Happy New Year, Angie!

  19. Merry Christmas!!

    1. You too, my friend! 2013 is going to be a pretty fantastic year, wouldn’t you say? ;)

      1. I would say that!

  20. Something about going back makes a place seem fresher. I’ve visited Memphis since my clueless college days and am always shocked at all that I missed when I lived there day in and day out.

    1. I know! A lot has changed about the city in the past few years, and I’m always amazed to see how much it doesn’t suck. I’m such an optimist. Hope you and your family are enjoying the holidays, Tori!

  21. This post seemed really sad. Maybe I should say something cliche like “It’s not about where you are but who you’re with” which for this situation seems right.

    A Merry Belated Christmas to you! I hope you and your family get what you’ve been waiting for sooner rather than later.

  22. Another eloquently written post, Emily. I’ve never been to Memphis, but one day I would like to visit there because I’d like to see Graceland, the Stax Museum and like Mike, Sun Studios. I’ve just returned from my semi-annual visit to the San Francisco Bay Area. I used to make a point of visiting the city since I was born and raised there, but it’s changed over the course of the 30 years since I moved to New York, many of the places I knew in my youth are long gone, and so much of it is now unfamiliar to me. New York is the place that is the home of my adult years. The people that are my closest relatives and best friend from college all live out West. Whenever I’m with any of them, that feels most like home. I hope that you, B and C had a lovely Christmas.

  23. Oh man I get *exactly* this same way when I go back home to Houston. Couldn’t wait to get out, hated it, finally got out, but a couple of times a year when I visit I love (parts of it) again. I think I’m in California for good though.

  24. […] I’ll be working for a nonprofit in Memphis (which you may remember is my hometown and a place I have yearned after for awhile now) that has an amazing mission of providing affordable, quality healthcare for the working […]

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