Friday, June 08, 2007

What I am is what I am.

I wouldn't consider myself a disloyal person, but I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a loyal one either. It's true that when it comes to my family and friends (the ones I love with all my heart, the ones I am in love with), I am fiercely loyal. But when it comes to things, ideas, places, etc., I probably hold no loyalty whatsoever. One way this is manifested is by my lack of hoarding for nostalgia's sake. For example, one day I threw away all of my trophies that I incurred as a younger person because they ceased to mean anything to me. What am I going to do with the pieces of plastic that said I won the Black History Something Something Award or that I was on this soccer team, that basketball team, various softball teams? They were just taking up space. (I have, however, kept all of my swimming medals because they're cooler and take up way less space because they're flat and stackable.) Another example is throwing away most of the ceramic things my grandmother painted and gave me because, again, what am I going to do with that? The only exception I can think of is the tiger she gave me. I fiercely loyal to tigers. In fact, I throw away a lot of things if they're useless and just taking up space and I'm never going to do anything with them ever again...except for my He-Man action figures. I was so in love with him. I can't let go. However, despite being in love with 2/5 of the New Kids on the Block, I threw away my large collection of buttons and collectable cards and such a few years ago before ebay was invented. I guess I choose He-Man over Jonathan Knight, but he kinda turned out to be a wimp and Donny turned out to not be Marky Mark. HELLO!

Where was I going with this? I wasn't writing this to say I don't have a heart. What was my purpose?

Oh yeah!

So, the other day, I had an epiphany. Have you ever heard someone talk about how they've lived in, say, New Orleans, Louisiana, for 20 years, however they are still not accepted as a Louisianian and neither are their kids because they are not originally from Louisiana? I'd never really gotten that; it never made any sense to me. Surely, twenty years is enough to earn the title, "Louisianian", right? Well, Wednesday, I got it! It clicked. I was sitting around with friends, and we were talking about a certain business that's been in Monroe (this city I live in) for decades...generations. The business USED to be something that it is no longer, and for the sake of anonymity I'll say it used to be a candy shop and now it's a clothing store. It used to be called Gary Alton's Candy Emporium, and now it's called Gary Alton Clothier and Sweets. Got it?

So my friend Maddy LaFleur (names have been changed) was saying that several years ago, she'd gone into Gary Alton's Clothier and Sweets looking for um...fizzy cola bottles. Since Gary isn't into selling candy so much anymore, the fizzy cola bottles he had were old and hard, however, he was selling them at premium prices. So Maddy told one of Gary's employees to forget it because she could buy a case of fresh ones at amazon.com for $12.50. She told me that Gary's employee looked at her incredulously, like, "How dare you say that in GARY'S store. GARY!" And then Maddy said, "Well, who is GARY, anyway?" And my other friend, Kentucky Woodwind, Maddy's niece, joined in, "Yeah, who IS Gary?" Befuddled, I looked at them in disbelief and told them, "Gary is Weezer's dad. Gary's dad opened Gary Alton's Candy Emporium over fifty years ago. It's kind of a big name here." And it hit me: Maddy and Kentucky's families have been in Monroe for over 20 years now, but they aren't REALLY from here. How can one be from here and not know who Gary Alton is? Sure, Monroe has gotten bigger and crawled out into the further reaches of the Parish. However, not only do Maddy and Kentucky's families live BLOCKS away (3 and 12, respectively, to be precise, and I mean they live ON THE SAME ROAD) from Gary Alton Clothier and Sweets, but he has ads on every local channel in town. It's a name that is tied to Monroe in tradition and loyalty.

As I was saying earlier, I'm not an especially loyal person. I don't like living in Monroe because I need more than it has to offer, but no matter where I go, I know where I come from. I know the dark history (which I absolutely love. Dear Country Clubbers, the black people serving you are listening to ever secret you're telling each other, and they are telling me! Keep telling those secrets because they ARE JUICY!), I know the people who built this city, I know the traditions and the celebrations, and I know why real Monroyans and real West Monroyans hate each other and it has nothing to do with football, and I love it. No matter where I go, and no matter how long I am there, I am a Monroyan.

Labels: , ,

9 Comments:

At 17:35, Blogger Emily said...

This post piqued my curiousity about one Monroe, LA. I did some minor research and now I feel a little better prepared to face the world, equipped with new information.

 
At 08:33, Blogger ~j. said...

I feel like this sometimes -- like I don't have a home since leaving NY, even though I've been in Provo for almost eleven years, I still need azu'car & cjane to explain to me the differences between Oak Hills & The Riverbottoms (the differences are not just in the addresses, and it means something else completely that I'm on the west side).

Hm.

 
At 10:13, Blogger Rachel C. said...

holy eff, woman! Have you seen the new Santa/Tori video singing Cruel?????!!!!!!!

AAHHHHHHH!

 
At 13:01, Blogger c jane said...

LOVED this post and it made me wish I was from Monroe. And you are also the first person that I have ever met that was fiercely loyal to tigers. I love KIKI!

 
At 21:12, Blogger kiki said...

Yes. Tigers are the best!

Thanks for the various what-whats.

I'm in Atlanta with FFF right now. It's a blast.

 
At 22:33, Anonymous Emily said...

Love it. I'm such a vagabond, I don't know that I'll ever be able to claim any one place like you claim Monroe. But I wish I could. I think the notion has a lot of old fashioned charm...and i like that.

 
At 16:47, Blogger AzĂșcar said...

I know exactly what you mean. Creamery on 9th? That's CARSON'S Market...

 
At 14:20, Blogger "said" Woman said...

I love this post!!!!!

I know of a few Monroyans through my travels...a girl I met in Michigan named Vanessa, and a New York transplant named Ellen...ring any bells? (I hate when people do that) I remember this because both times I asked them if that was where the band "Better Than Ezra" was from....

I lived in Leesville/Ft.Polk when my dad was in the military...I'm not from LA by any means, but I liked it...humidity and all.

 
At 14:39, Blogger kiki said...

I'm not sure if I know any people by those names who are now in New York. I think it's cool that you've met others from Monroe before. I think only one of the members of Better Than Ezra is from Monroe and the rest are from the New Orleans area.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home