This post continues a discussion on the Peter Kilborn article on being Rootless in Alpharetta.
There is a place in rural North Carolina where a street bears my surname. There are also a few small family cemeteries with my last name on them. I guess you could say this is where my ancestral roots are located. It really is just a place where my family landed in the middle of the 18th century. My line move away more than 100 years ago. But when I hear someone talk about the word “roots”, I think of this swampy place in eastern North Carolina. If I were to pick up my family and settle there, I would be more rootless than I am here in Alpharetta. Sure, the locals would be better able to pronounce my last name, but I wouldn’t know anyone. And I’m pretty sure they don’t have a Starbucks on every corner there. I’ll stick to Alpharetta for now.
Is this the kind of roots that Peter Kilborn is talking about in his article? Maybe. There are streets in Alpharetta named after the original settlers of Milton County. Maybe your last name is Haynes, McGinnis, Mayfield, Mansell or Kimball. I’m not exactly bumping into people with those last names amongst my fellow cubicle dwellers.
I got to thinking about all this when I read this recent article on the Manning family of Alpharetta. It is one of those feel good articles about a very deeply rooted family in Alpharetta. The article has a lot of stories about the old days, when none of this was here, etc. And sure enough, they have a street and even a school named after them (Manning Oaks Elementary). It is a cool article.
But even this Manning family didn’t completely stay put. The article talks about some living in Duluth and Winder. So where am I going with all this? At some point Alpharetta went from being a sleepy little town to a place with one hundred thousand cubicles. These cubicles need to be filled with skilled technical people with advanced degrees. It is very unrealistic to expect the Manning families of the world to be able to supply all those workers. And plus, I’m sure many of them found reasons to move out of Alpharetta too.
So yeah, there are going to be rootless people that come to Alpharetta and a lot of them. Human beings will always be somewhat nomadic in nature. I don’t think this is a bad thing. I’ve said it before on this blog… this is where I want to be. I’d rather be here than the swamps of eastern North Carolina. That means I’m not gonna get a newspaper article written about five generations of my family staying put. Then again, maybe in seventy years they will interview me talking about how I remember when Windward Parkway was only four lanes and we didn’t have flying cars.