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VOL. 127 | NO. 40 | Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jeremy Park

Memphis According to Memphians

By Jeremy Park

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Last week we asked readers “What does Memphis mean to you?” This question is the driving force behind the creation of a community narrative that will help us align our efforts and come together with a shared voice so we can sing about our city in pitch-perfect unison and harmony.

To say we were overwhelmed with heartfelt responses is an understatement. We received countless emails of personal stories, special moments, favorite places and amazing snapshots that deserve to be shared.

So, over the next few weeks, my plan is to share some of the responses and to ask you to submit more, because I think you will see that each testimonial is a thread that comes together to form a beautiful tapestry illustrating the place we call home.

Paul Morris: “Memphis is the underdog that when you least expect it wins your heart. We come from behind and invent a new way of doing something, like rock ‘n’ roll or the self-serve grocery store or curing cancer in children. We don’t brag or even think that much of ourselves. We’re humble and we’re real. We have an old soul that has been through much misery and is able to persist through much more. We are the blues, enjoying our depths and keeping the beat going for a brighter future.”

Ken Steorts: “Memphis means community. A city big enough to offer everything one desires and small enough to do it with a personal touch. Like we sit on the river with a front porch to gather. Memphis is at its best when we work cooperatively. Collaboration and giving is a hallmark of this great place. Other cities might be the formal dining room of music, but Memphis is the kitchen. And everyone wants to be in the kitchen.”

Mary Nicole Blum: “To me, Memphis means opportunity. As a young adult, once set on moving out of Memphis in order to land a ‘decent’ job out of college, I now see the opportunities here – for the ‘young and naïve’ – to pave the way for other young professionals who feel the same. There are opportunities for young adults to find jobs they love in Memphis, and if we don’t stay and use our crafts to mold this city, it will never reach its potential.”

Shelley Baur: “Though not born here, Memphis means home, and I love living here. I love Memphis, with all of its faces of authenticity, soulfulness, great art forms in all shapes, colors, sizes (especially, the music!). … I love celebrating Memphis with friends near and far when pockets of excellence are highlighted in national media – like Booker T. Washington High School’s recognition by President Barack Obama. … I love [when our grandchildren] fall in love with the new playground at Shelby Farms. …”

Now, what does Memphis mean to you?

Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at jeremyp@lpinsurance.com.

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