Trying to Keep the Urban in Suburban



Everyone says it’s going to happen. You have kids, your priorities change. When I was pregnant (and blissfully ignorant), we bought a Craftsman house in East Nashville, built in 1920, full of character, original windows, gleaming hardwood floors, and a prime location near downtown.

HouseIt was everything I wanted. It still is. But other things matter more now. Other very tiny things.

A few months ago, my husband and I started thinking about how nice it would be to know that our son could play outside without finding shell-casings. That led to worry about schools (though we’ve still got some time for that), and we started down the suburban road.

My husband has always been happier with fast food restaurants and Targets in close proximity, but I’m more of a local girl. I like to walk places, shop in mom-and-pops, find stuff that other people can’t find. Don’t get me wrong—I love Target too. I’m just willing to drive a little further for it. Honestly, it’s probably better that it’s far, far away, because I would go broke on badly-sewn shirts and adorable rugs.

But the cul-de-sac called, and we answered. We’re about to move near Nippers Corner (which my husband cannot say without falling into a lilting Southern accent a la Our Town). We’re zoned for an amazing elementary school, and the Publix is .4 miles away (WALKABLE!).

I know I’m going to find my favorite spots, and I can figure out a workable running route. In New York, I ran in a graveyard, for goodness sake. (Anyone know of a graveyard in that area?) But it won’t be the same. 20 minutes to downtown, the traffic nightmare that is 65, a very large church across the street that actually has a satellite location a block away…things will be very, very different. I can do it, though, and I will.

And honestly, I’ve started feeling too old to live in East Nashville as well as guilty about all of the local shops I DON’T frequent. I think we’ve hit our limit on crafty homemade goods stores, and—call me crazy—but I don’t think a store dedicated to greeting cards is entirely necessary. There are festivals and movie nights, and I’m always aware of how cool I’m not when I opt for a nice, quiet night in front of the TV. I bet they think that’s cool in the suburbs.

No, I really don’t care about being cool, but I’d love to be able to keep a little of the urban in the suburban—keep loving what I love, even from my soccer-mom van. (You know that’s coming next, right?) I can try harder, walk further—literally go the extra mile—to get some green, some local, some character. And if there is none? I’ll just have to add it myself.

Shelby Park (sigh)

If anyone out there has an amazing running route or knows of a hidden gorgeous park/greenway near that area, please enlighten me. In East Nashville, I live(d) less than half a mile from two parks and 5 minutes from a free indoor running track. It was a quick drive to Shelby Park, and all of the weird local shops I could hope for. I didn’t know how spoiled I was.

And, Mayor Barry? If you’re listening, we need more green and public transportation in the 37211!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here