Home is Where the Heart is

Life in The Little House is grand, but that doesn’t mean that sometimes I still don’t feel the overwhelming pangs of homesickness.

By “home,” I mean our native Kansas City. Dale and I grew up on the Kansas side, but when you are from anywhere in the Kansas City region, you consider both sides of the state line home.

I miss my friends, teaching at Johnson County Community College, readings at The Writer’s Place and being involved in the Kansas City Press Club.

When I finish a big project, I miss driving 10 minutes to Sakura’s, my favorite sushi bar and celebrating with my sushi buddy, a Sapporo beer and “Sex in the City,” (no, it’s a yummy cooked shrimp roll!) Part of the fun of this place is that a little train brings you sushi as you wait at the bar.

I miss my Starbucks, having access to locally raised organic, free-range meat and dairy products at Hen House, and being within 10 minutes of a mall (and having the money to spend at these places!)

Last week, when I visited the woman who cuts our hair here, she had just finished Dale’s and he left to go back to work. “I think he misses Kansas City a lot,” she said of their conversation while she was cutting on his shaggy hair.

Wyandotte County: My Hometown I know together we both miss our neighbors who lived across from our beige split level in Turner, Cascone’s (especially their homemade Italian sausage), Red Fortune Chinese in Bonner Springs and the number of places we could get good, authentic Mexican food.

Of course, we also miss Dale’s family, especially when there’s a health crisis and we can’t be there.

Since leaving Kansas City, we’ve had the opportunity to see it as we never have before – as tourists. Dale has only gotten to go back twice in the two years since we left, but I’ve been back several more times on business and for conferences.

I’ve visited the National World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial, home of the country’s official World War I museum and largest collection of artifacts from “The War to End all Wars,” outside of Great Britain. The photos on the site today were taken from atop the Liberty Memorial (the first the view of the Missouri side, the second the view of the Kansas side). The photo on the front page shows the view of Union Station, the city’s grand train depot from an era when trains ruled transportation in this country. I walked the grand halls and wondered how many times my parents walked those halls after a long trip. It surely was where my dad met my mother when he came home from World War II. Today, the station is the site of Science City, special exhibits and the KC Rail Experience, an exhibit dedicated to the history of trains in Kansas City.

I’ve rediscovered the thousands of artifacts recovered from the Steamboat Arabia, a supply steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in 1856 and was recovered in the 1980s. The food is preserved in jars so well, it looks like it could still be eaten and the dinnerware is ready to serve. It’s like looking at the artifacts of the Titanic – although these items are 56 years older than items found from that famous wreck and found on permanent exhibit right in the heart of Kansas City!

I miss concerts – I saw Fleetwood Mac – at the new Sprint Center in the hip Power and Light District on one trip back this spring.

I’ve even taken a segway tour of The Country Club Plaza and shopped some of the stores there. I was hoping for a fall trip this year so we could see the famous holiday lights once again, but although the city is offering specials to visit this fall, that’s looking unlikely for us at this point.

These are just some of the things we never did when we actually lived in Kansas City, I guess we took our hometown and all it had to offer for granted. I think that’s natural, I know we were certainly on that same course here until this summer when we woke up and realized some of the great things our new home has to offer.

Having these points of pride in the place where you live is a part of the external amenities of what makes a home.

As they say, “Home is where the heart is.”

The problem for us is that sometimes our hearts lie in two different places.

Today’s question: What is the one best thing to do around where you live and do you take your home for granted by not doing these things? Or, have you ever felt your heart lies in two or more places?

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8 Responses

  1. Kim says:

    I live in Harrison, Arkansas, and though it’s a small town (near you, I believe, Kerri), I can’t believe how much there is to experience within an hour’s drive. We can be to Eureka Springs, Lost Valley (or a dozen other spots along the Buffalo River), Whittaker Point, Table Rock Lake, the century-old Ozark Cafe in Jasper, seeing the elk near Ponca, enjoying the view from the Cliff House Inn, strolling around the gorgeous Big Cedar property, enjoying the bizarre museums at the College of the Ozarks and the Boone County Historical Museum, or out in total solitude in a hundred gorgoeus, remote places with just a short drive. We last lived in Orlando– and oh, how we miss sushi and a wet county!– but Jasmine Thai and the renovated 1929 Hotel Seville have taken some of the longing away by opening here in town. All in all, we’re tremendously glad to be back in the Ozarks, and I doubt we’ll leave for a city anytime soon. (Hope I provided you with some googling material there!) Kansas City is gorgeous during the holidays– I can see how you’d miss that, and all the cultural amenities of city life! You’ve made quite a radical change in lifestyle.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Kim, I knew of some of the places you mentioned, but not all – you have given me some great ideas! If you ever get over to Mountain Home, Bamboo Garden has a new sushi bar that isn’t bad. When I get an extra $10 or so, I’ll go in and have a roll. I do love the Buffalo River National Park here. We went canoeing on it this past summer.
      We’ll have to get together sometime! 🙂

  2. MarthaandMe says:

    We live in the Buffalo, NY area and Niagara Falls is one of the top attractions here. Last spring, we had friends from India visiting and took them to see it. One of them asked us if we go often and we realized we don’t. I explained to our Indian friend that you generally go when you’re a kid and then you only go back to take visitors! Which is a shame. We did take the kids a few summers ago and did all the attractions, which was so much fun. We also spent a night once on the Canadian side to celebrate an anniversary.

    A couple summers ago I bought a tourist guide for our area and made a long list of lots of fun places to take the kids to over the summer, reasoning that we go to so many fun places when we travel, but there are lots of things right here we’ve never done. We did make one visit to a kazoo factory and then they vetoed every other attraction I suggested. Then this summer, while we were traveling, my daughter turned to me and asked, “Why don’t we do things like this at home?” I screamed mentally then pointed out I tried to and they didn’t want to go. “Oh yeah,” she said. Sigh.

    • Kerri says:

      Ah, kids, you gotta love ’em! 🙂
      It’s the same way with the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City. Before I went to the top this year and took the photos I posted on this blog, I hadn’t been up there since an elementary school field trip. Sad.
      Making a list of things to do is a great idea, I’m stealing that one!

  3. No advice here. We pondered moving away from our native CO 8 years ago, but settled in the mountains just west of where we both grew up. The interesting thing, though, is that many of the things I feared about moving away have come to pass because people act like the drive up our canyon is SUCH an ordeal. You’d think we moved far, far away.

    Still, we pop down the canyon, hit the nearest highways, and can be on our old stomping grounds in like 30 minutes, so it is not the same … as for you.

    So, no advice. Just sympathy for the everything you miss.

  4. kerri says:

    I actually had a boss from New York ask me to show her the “cattle crossings” one time while I was showing her the city! Kansas City is really a beautiful, “major league” city and I love now going back.
    You’re on for sushi, Kathy. I hope we can come “home” soon!

  5. Kathy Winn says:

    This is a timely blog because my daughter and her boyfriend are coming to K.C. for a visit in November. Andy has lived on both coasts and for a few years in England, but never has been to the Midwest. Like most people who’ve lived in New York and Los Angeles, he thinks of Kansas as little more than a detail from the Wizard of Oz and the place where hamburger comes from. My daughter is determined to show him some of Kansas City’s more sophisticated side.

    Some of the places you mentioned are on our list of things to do- Union Station and the Liberty Memorial. We also want to visit the Nelson Art Gallery. I’ve never even seen the newly re-designed entrance and addition, proving the thesis of your blog- we sometimes neglect to take advantage of the interesting sites in our own backyard.

    I also relate to having your heart in two places. As you know, David and I plan to build a home on our land in the country and move there within the next year or so. Although we’ll still only be about an hour outside of Kansas City, I know that the adjustment might be a little rough. I too am used to Starbucks being five minutes away- along with the grocery store, pharmacy, bank and post office. We are spoiled Johnson Countians and I do sometimes worry about the change in lifestyle that the move will require. However, we love the peace and privacy and closeness to nature that our land provides, and for the most part, I can’t wait to live there.

    I hope that you make it back for a visit soon Kerri. I’d love to join you at Sakura’s for sushi. Kansas City misses you too!