As a child, I always hated Collierville. People would say we were country, lived too far away, and were acting white. I would always beg my mother to let me go to school with my friends or cousins. It started as a very small town, as we knew everybody and were probably related to 75% of the black folks. We literally went from Headstart (preschool) to high school together. Granted they built a new elementary school when I was in 2nd grade and a new middle school when I was in the 8th grade. Nonetheless, we ALL ended up in the same high school with a class of over 500. You couldn’t do anything wrong because your parents would find out.
My neighborhood was the best though. We had a spectacular childhood, my sister and I. We played with every child in the neighborhood. Our house was the place to be, probably because my mother would give everybody snacks. We did adventurous things like climb trees to jumping off of backyard storage houses. It’s a wonder we’re still alive! The best thing to do in our neighborhood, the Harris neighborhood, was go to Harris Park. Anybody who was anybody would hang out there after school and on weekends. The main thing we would do, besides being fast and mannish, was play basketball. Growing up as tomboys, we would join in on the action. Basketball was life in our neighborhood.
Looking back on my growing up, I’m actually grateful for Collierville. Besides college and 2 years living in Cordova, it has been home for pretty much my whole 33 years of living. I’m thankful I went to one of the best schools in the state and we had teachers, family, and neighbors who cared. The great thing about it all is that I still have that in my community. It’s going to be a real experience to move from small town/city living to Los Angeles. Someone even tried to “warn” me and say it was a whole different world. God, I pray so! I think Collierville has taught me enough about etiquette, education, community life, and caring people that those traits will travel with me on this new journey. I will not lose my Southern attributes just because I move. I will show the big city people that you don’t have to lose yourself and being a girl from the South is a great thing.