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Transplant my roots into Hall County
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When you ask someone where he or she is from, you’re likely to get an interesting answer.

Research has shown a growing number of people has lived in two, three or more states in his or her lifetime.

I think we are the epitome of Southern towns, but you hear a good number of accents here. It is an indication several residents’ hometowns are elsewhere. We have a good sprinkling of Midwesterners, Northerners and even a few folks from across the pond.

What is somewhat surprising is 37 percent of those surveyed still live in their original hometown.

I struggle with a good answer for the hometown question.

I was born in Atlanta and lived there for eight years. We moved to Social Circle and I spent the 10 years there.

For the past 28 years, I have lived in Gainesville.

My parents came from families where neither of their parents owned a home. There is no ancestral home I can drive by and say, “That’s where it all started.”

The first house where we lived in Atlanta has been torn down.

It’s an interesting predicament, but in the great scheme of things, I have an answer -- Georgia is home. I have had six generations of family here before me.

I just get a little befuddled when I can’t take a state map and draw a circle around a town and say, “There it is.”

My wife has deep roots here. She has relatives on both sides of her family buried in cemeteries around Hall County.

The land where our home is built has been in her family for more than 100 years. The house is built on the site of the home she grew up in.

The old house may be gone, but she can walk outside and remember riding her bike down the street as a child. She can remember twirling rifles and flags with the high school band at City Park. She went to her first Sunday school class at the same church we attend.

My daughter was born here and while she has moved around the county, this is the place she can call home.

But now, I have reached a point that I have spent the largest portion of my life in the Gainesville area. I love the rich history of this area and know many of the stories about those who made this place great and interesting. I know some stories so well people think I am from here. I accept that with a smile.

My parents and my brother are buried in Monroe, which was my mother’s hometown. I went to high school there, but I left to find my way across this state. I have friends and family scattered all around Georgia, but like a transplanted tree, my taproot is pretty deep in Hall County.

I know that when my time comes, I will be laid to rest here.

Vince Evans, the retired superintendent of Alta Vista cemetery, has taken me on a few tours of the place. Former governors, a circus performer, two ladies of the lake and an astronaut are buried there. I think I’ll fit right in.

When that time comes, I’ll be home.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.

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