My town is Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Situated near the Missouri/Arkansas border and approximately one hundred fifty miles south of St. Louis, it provides both a rural and urban environment. It can be classified as a town or small city.
Poplar Bluff is not a place one will hear about on national news unless, of course, the news involves some type of disaster. Like a compromised levee on Black River that flooded parts of the southeast side of the city. CNN couldn’t get enough of that story. My brother, who lived in South Carolina at the time, called to ensure that the city still existed. He feared from the news footage that the whole of Poplar Bluff had drowned.
So, what can I say about my town? Well, let’s see. I have lived here all my life, beginning with my birth at Doctor’s Hospital. The building is still here, but Doctor’s and another hospital consolidated years ago. Now, there is only one state-of-the art hospital. It seems extremely nice. Hopefully, I don’t have to find out exactly how nice any time soon!
Poplar Bluff is divided into four distinct sides: north, south, east, and west. South side is not necessarily the roughest, but two sides away from the best. I lived on the south side of town as a child and young adult. When Sean and I married, we rented an apartment in the center of the business district, not really a “side” at all. Then, we bought our house, and I uprooted the north-side boy to the “other side of the tracks.” Yes, our house is on the south side of Poplar Bluff.
Have I ever wanted to move away from Poplar Bluff? Most definitely. As a teenager, I dreamed of living anywhere but here. And now, Sean and I may never move. Why? Our families are here. Our jobs are here. Our roots are here.
And that’s what it’s all about. Roots. Family. Love. They’re what make a town a place to call home. That’s what this small, overlooked city at the edge of a breadbasket state is: my home.