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My Southern Mother and Life in The South

by Lolette van Zyl

My Mother is Southern. My sister and I are not. Though, we had lived in the South as toddlers, neither of us had any idea as pre-teens what “The South” was all about.

We were growing up in a large apartment in Kansas City. Trees and grass were reserved for the weekends and wonderful trips to Swope Park.

One day, my mom announced that we were moving to Nashville. It did take a while to get over the drama of leaving friends behind. But we were blessed with our Mother’s sense of adventure, so we soon got excited and began packing.

The night before our big move family members, that my sister and I didn’t know, suddenly showed up on our doorstep. Uncles, aunts, cousins, even friends of the family. They had driven up from Nashville to help us pack the truck and drive it south.

Amidst mountains of takeout pizza, powdered donuts, and unlimited supplies of Coca-Cola, we sat enthralled as everyone reminisced. Funny and interesting stories of a life we’d never known.

It was as if our mother had led a secret life. They shared stories about growing up near creeks, sibling rivalries between brothers and sisters. Saturday trips to matinees and dime stores, of a stern grandmother who lived without plumbing, and endless family barbecues.

To this day, I’ve never had more fun moving. The trip itself was a blur, as we piled into cars and pickup trucks, stopping every once in a while for snacks and passenger swapping.

Surrounded by the love and affection of our relatives, my sister and I completely forgot what we were leaving behind. We were just eager to embrace life in the South.

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