"Happy feet"?

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My Granddaddy used to say my Grandmas' people had "happy feet". That is, they couldn't stay put. They were the explorers always wanting to move and try new places. My mom must have had some of this in her when she was young, because she never minded when we moved. Always made it an adventure. My Dad was an official with the railroad and in some places we would only live for 6 months before moving some place else. A big job, moving, with so many kids.

Well, tomorrow, I'm taking my mom for a day trip, back to Kentucky and home. My Dad is buried there and were going up to visit the grave and take care of some odds and ends. Even though we left there a long time ago, it will always, always be home to us. My parents made sure each of us kids knew where our roots were and to never forget.

I've always wondered what it would have been like to have lived in the same place all of my life. The advantages, disadvantages? Anyone here lived in the same place their whole lives? Moved alot? If you've left, you ever want to go back home? Has the place or State you were born affected who you are today? I guess not knowing the "other side" has always made me curious as to how it may be different.

-- Annie (mistletoe6@earthlink.net), March 10, 2002


I spent most of my life in San Jose, California. I hated San Jose but loved California, and it was a real wrench to leave the state. We left because there just wasn't any work available at that time: hundreds of applications were being received for every job we applied for. I eventually got a job on an assembly line, and Ron got a job with the father of a friend. After a year or so, Ron heard of a good job in the midwest, applied for it and got it, so we left. That would have been about 22 years ago. It really is better for us out here, but I miss mountains and the ocean. Kansas is home but when I visit my family California "feels" right, somehow. I would never have had the opportunities in California that I have had here, though. It takes $20,000 down payment for a tiny house, and you cannot get a place like what I have here (one acre) unless you are very rich or have a 5 hour round trip commute (yes there are people who do!) Also, I have severe allergies and California has a 10 month growing season: in Kansas my system gets to rest every winter so I feel much stronger out here. Every visit home ends up in me trying to see as many family members as possible, and is rather rushed and exhausting, but that is life.

-- Terri (hooperterri@prodigy.net), March 10, 2002.


I've lived here on the family homestead all of my life (30 years), with the exception of the 2 years I spent in college in the Boston area. I don't think I could ever move away from this piece of land. My great-grandfather bought this land back around 1885 or so. It's been in the family ever since. I love visiting other places and would travel much more if I could afford to but this will always be home.

Sonmetimes I think that if I had the money it would be nice to have a bigger farm with more land, bigger outbuildings, or just a different set up, but it'll never happen. This piece of land is such a big part of who I am. It may sound kind of crazy, but this piece of land and I understand each other. I know where the snow starts to melt first in the spring, where the prettiest wildflowers grow, ect. It's a special feeling to know that you know a piece of land better than anyone else alive, at least it is to me.

-- Murray in ME (lkdmfarm@megalink.net), March 10, 2002.

Murray, I know exactly how you feel. When we go home, the smell of the air is even different. It's something I never forget. Must be because the hills are so close together, I don't know exactly, but it's real. My moms family goes way, way back in eastern Ky. and there are the old homesteads and memories there. I love where I live in Tennessee, but something will always be missing. Possibly the feeling of the history of folks who came before us, I don't know. You're really lucky to have what you do have and appreciate it. Just out of curiosity, are you of Irish decent? The way you speak of your land makes me think of my Grandad on my dads' side.

-- Annie (mistletoe6@earthlink.net), March 10, 2002.

"Happy Feet"--that's cute. I guess that's what my dad had! He was in the US Army for 31 years and we moved about every 2-3 years.I went to eight different schools in 12 years! We lived in Germany for three years. I promised my self that if I every married --he would have roots! I married a man who lived in the same house from the day he was born to the day we got married. We now own the 80 acres that has been in his family for 85+ years. When I stand looking out at the property I feel good. There is something WONDERFUL there that makes me want to thank God for letting us be 'stewards' of this land. I want to clean, plant, rebuild and make it as beautiful to others as it is to me! I pray that my childern will love it as much as we do...

-- Debbie T in N.C. (rdtyner@mindspring.com), March 10, 2002.


You're right, I am very lucky to have this place. I'm of English decent with the exception of one great-grandmother who was Native American. My ancestors on my Dad's side first came to this country in the 1620's. My Mom's parents came to Maine from eastern Canada in the early part of the 1900's.

-- Murray in ME (lkdmfarm@megalink.net), March 11, 2002.

Although I have moved about quite a bit here in Michigan, I have to say I am a real Michigander in that I have lived here since I was three years old. I was born in Washington D.C. while my father was in the war. My father's people were from West Virginia, but all my mother's people were from the first families to homestead in Michigan when it was opened up for homesteading. I now live about 20 miles from where my Great-great grandmother's family first homesteaded after walking behind an oxcart from Detroit. I can not imagine leaving here permanently to live someplace else. I love being able to visit the farms where my grandparents grew up, some of which are still in the family.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), March 11, 2002.

Hi gang, got back from my day trip. Mom, my brother and I had a great time. I think it did her alot of good to go back home, if only for a day. We went to my grandfathers old house. A coal company owns it now and it's abandoned and falling down. My brother Tommy found a little start of an old rose in a corner by a fence, so we dug it up and I brought it home. (Took my maddock with me for the trip, just in case)! I planted it as soon as I got home. Keeping my fingers crossed it'll live. Terri and Debbie, I know what you mean. After moving so much in my life, it's nice to finally have a place to land. Besides, I think I've finally gotten "stay put feet". :) Gettin too old to wander. I reckon our forefathers who pioneered this Country, were happy to find a place to settle and raise their family, once they found their "home".

-- Annie (mistletoe6@earthlink.net), March 12, 2002.

Well, my happy feet keep leading me back home every time I try to stray! My folks brought me home to this farm 43+ years ago when I was born. I lived in town for a year while going to college - though I spent every weekend out here, plus came home a couple of days during the week as well. Then I moved to the big city (pop. 4,000) for 4 years; but made the 12 mile trek home 2 or 3 times a week then, too. I guess that while I've lived other places, this farm has always been home.

My Pop was the son of a sharecropper/farmhand and his family moved frequently when he was growing up - guess that's why he felt it was so important to have a permanent home when they found out that Mama was pregnant with me. I expect to be here until they carry me out feet first!

-- Polly (tigger@moultrie.com), March 12, 2002.

Hi Annie, when I was growing up I heard "Happy Feet" all the time. I guess you could say I had those feet. Sometimes they still get itchy to move somewhere else. I do tend to stay put for longer and longer stretches of time. I think it may have to do with age.

I was raised in Maine, until I was 17 anyway and then half my family moved to Florida. I felt like such an outsider when we first got to Florida, I was raised in the sticks. I was called a redneck more times than I care to remember. Heck, I still don't know what a redneck is. I finally (after years of coaching from city people) got the city talk and walk down after being in Miami for several years.

When I first arrived in Miami people used to tell me, "You can't just walk through a gang, you have to cross the street. I would say, "Watch me!" I would walk right through the gang members and they would make a clear path for me. After years of living in Miami I became a wimp, I started crossing the street when I saw someone who looked like trouble. You do get so you can tell and you better do what your feel is right or you will end up dead.

I was a cocky kid from Maine and I had to learn to change for my own good.

I had guns pulled on me twice, a knife once, mugged by the same gang four times, run off the road, car torn apart, pelted by rocks by a gang, two dogs stolen, a brand new bike (bought for me by my boss for my birthday)stolen. I snuck through the ghetto of liberty city in Miami at night and slashed the tires on the bike thiefs caddy (my friends freaked)I lived through the liberty city riots, I didn't think I would but thank God the National Guard was standing right outside my door. I was chased out of a store by a gang of blacks (they were going to kill me). I finally decided my several lives were getting to close to running out so I packed my things and moved to Daytona Beach, which was worse than Miami.

I am no longer the cocky kid who moved to Florida at 17. I am so thankful I was able to get out and see more of this country than Maine, I would not be anywhere near who I am today if I hadn't.

Growing up in northern Maine I thought I would spend the rest of my life picking potatoes. Because of moving to Miami I met people I never would have met if I had stayed in Maine ( movie stars, musicians, polititions, and some great friends). I have traveled the world and have been lucky enough to have some very good jobs along the way.

I now live in New Hampshire. My life has slowed down a bit, but I still get the urge to just take off for the big city. I wouldn't do it today though. When I moved to Miami I went all alone with very little money. I had no job, no place to live and did not know anyone at all in Miami. I was sooooooo lucky things went the way they did for me. I think my luckieness in Miami was due to my politeness to people which I was always taught while growing up. People in Miami told me I was to nice, and I can see(now) that I was. If I hadn't made some good friends and had some great employers I know I would have done some stupid things. Thank God I had those people to watch over that little naive boy from Maine.

-- george nh (rcoopwalpole@aol.com), March 12, 2002.

Polly, your "feet first" reminded me of yesterday while driving around home. I swear, practically every house in the countryside has a family graveyard. Rural Ky. must have more per capita than any other state. I had never paid it any mind when I was growing up, but noticed it big time yesterday. Most all of the gravesites are on hills. Straight up and down. I told mom I wanted to be buried like that so I'll always be standing up and ready to go!!!! :)

-- Annie (mistletoe6@earthlink.net), March 12, 2002.

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