My Scruffy Little City

I’ve lived in or near Knoxville, Tennessee, most of my life. My family moved to the city from Anderson County when I was five. My parents bought a brand new house in a brand new subdivision in the west edge of Knoxville. We moved to California when I was around twelve, then came back in the summer before my freshman year in high school (some of my California adventures are recounted here and here).

Once called a “scruffy little city” by a national magazine, Knoxville now is reasonably civilized. When I was young the city was consumed by arguments over fluoridation of the water supply, racial integration, and whether Earl Warren should be impeached.  I’ve since seen the arrival of  fluoride, relative racial equality and, alas, a conservative Supreme Court. I’ve applauded the coming of live theater, a decent symphony orchestra, and legal liquor, both package stores and by the drink, and the subsequent rise in sophisticated and varied dining. I even survived the very mixed blessing that was the “world’s fair” in 1982.

Most of my post high school education was in Knoxville, concluding with law school. During the late sixties I was a minor player in the anti-war (that’s the Vietnam War) movement at the university. I  freely admit the severe character flaw which causes my baffling addiction to all university sports teams and my illogical love for a certain shade of orange, particularly on autumnal Saturday afternoons.

Being the insufferable liberal elitist that I am, I’ve always yearned to live in a much larger, more cosmopolitan city. New York would be the best. Chicago would be good. Atlanta would do in a pinch. But Knoxville is like family to me: I may have decideally mixed feelings about the city but I can’t seem to get very far away from the place.

Here, culled from the Great Flickr Sea, is a tiny tribute to my scruffy little river city:


Flickr Group: Knoxville, Tennessee

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