Why We Love Memphis, Volume I

For the Valentine’s Day, Love Issue of StoryBoard last February – an era ago, 2019 that is – we asked Memphians to share what they love about Memphis.

During this pandemic shutdown, and faced with so many unknowns about what Memphis exactly we will have left on the other side, we thought it a perfect time to revisit what some Memphians said then, and how it echoes, loudly, today.

BEST READS: Bringing back popular articles to introduce to new readers, sponsored by Captain & Co. Real Estate, LLC for their “Memphis Mondays” series. Look for Captain & Co.’s Memphis every Monday.

What do I love? Too much to name! Memphis Central (THE) High School, Elmwood Cemetery, Big River Crossing, Bellevue Middle School, Church Health, Memphis Botanic Garden, Novel Memphis, Burke’s Book Store, Memphis Central Warriors Bands, Central High School Theatre, Idlewild Optional School PTO, Brother Junipers, MLK50

~Lara A Firrone, Memphian

Memphians never seem to meet strangers, only new acquaintances. They trace the geography of other people’s lives— where they live, went to high school, go to church—and find connections. I love living in a city with much fewer than six degrees of separation.

~Caroline Carrico, Pink Palace

Memphis, more than any other place I have lived or even visited, is egalitarian at its core.

Now to be sure, we haven’t achieved some utopian level of social and economic justice by any means, but we are a city where a man or woman with enough gumption, time and resources can actually make a difference. Sometimes this is through investing in the city’s neighborhoods; sometimes it’s through working with our youth, many of whom so desperately want a better life and live that life in Memphis. And we not only encourage this pioneering spirit, we celebrate it. Why? Because we’ve been to hell and back. We haven’t always treated each other with dignity and respect, but we’re working on it. You get that sense every time you go to a Grizzlies or Tigers game and we beat an out-of-town team or even when walking down the street and the approaching stranger doesn’t look down. He doesn’t scowl. Nine times out of ten, he’ll nod or give you a greeting with a smile because you both know in your hearts the city is slowly but surely healing.

The haters have lost. That’s why I love Memphis.

~Josh Whitehead, Memphis Office of Planning & Development

Memphis is an ebb and flow. It’s hard times and high tides. It’ll give you the shirt off its back or the cold shoulder, which one is up to you. It’s so much more than BBQ and Elvis, but it’ll let you learn that on your own time. It’s a balmy, gritty, sleeper of a city that slowly slides under your skin.

Even when you hate it, you can’t help but love it.

~Cole Bradley, High Ground News

Memphis has helped shape me into the woman I am today- full of grit and grind! The soul of this city is a direct reflection of the genuine people who walk in rhythm and speak in blues. Our story is still being written with innovative growth each year. We show strength during disaster and rejoice together in good times. The people are just as diverse as our weather with unexpected highs and lows. We acknowledge our areas of weakness and intentionally drive towards the dream of Dr. King. We lock arms in battle and serve with a heart full of rock and roll. No matter what I do in life or where I may travel, Memphis will always be home in my heart.

~Sheleah Harris, Living Grace Memphis

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