I didn’t plan to live here, but I’m one of those people.
One of those who got caught up in Columbia’s boomerang effect. I came to attend Mizzou’s journalism school, then returned after graduation to make a home base.
In full disclosure, I thought NYU or somewhere in Boston or Chicago would be a better match for a journalist-to-be. I laughed when my dad told me that University of Missouri had a top journalism school. Admittedly, I was snotty at 17. I agreed to look at the school anyway.
When we arrived for that college visit, I walked up Broadway and Ninth Street, and thought “This place isn’t bad. It kind of reminds me of Ann Arbor. People seem cool.” The university tour and J-school sales pitch made me a convert. My dad and I settled in to a booth at this pizza place called Shakespeare’s that the admissions lady had recommended and I told him my mind was made up.
Since then, I’ve eaten enough Shakespeare’s Pizza to pay for the owner to buy a nice boat, and I walk up Broadway or Ninth Street almost every day. This formerly new place, the furthest west I’d ever been, has become one of my homes. I’ve been here for 10 of the past 14 years.
As I type this, the leaves have changed colors and our warmer blankets have found their way to our bed. And this could be the last year I experience this in Columbia. My husband will finish grad school in summer 2011, and we’ll probably have to move for both of us to find jobs in our fields. Next year, I could be watching the leaves change in Michigan, Minnesota, Maine or Oregon. Or, we could go some place totally crazy like Arizona and not see the leaves change at all.
So, I think of this as our last call in Columbia. This could be the last year that we watch the town drape itself in black and gold for nearly every fall weekend, and the last year that we experience the hush that falls over downtown and campus after graduation every summer. If we’re still here by then.
This blog will cover Columbia from someone who’s been a student and a townie. A teenager and a 30-something. I’m going to write about the places, people and events that make Columbia more than just another dot on the map that a snotty 17-year-old has to look up. Stay tuned!