Many of us, those among us working in the South, likely encounter people often who are, as they say, ‘ain’t from here.” Lewis usually had plenty to say about relocated Yankees.
All Shook Up by Culture Shock
There is a group of Atlantans, formerly new Yorkers, who have formed their own support group called “The New York Network.” They get together to whine about all the things they miss about their hometown.
There was a story about the group in the Atlanta papers last week. It said these people missed such things as egg creams.
Quite frankly, I have no idea what an egg cream is, but as an Atlantan who was once held prisoner of war in Chicago, I know what it is like to be ravaged by homesickness.
I lived in Chicago for nearly three years. It was very cold there and the people talked funny.
One day, I met a guy in a bar who also was from the South. I knew that right away when I heard him ask a young lady seated next to him, “Do you think wrestlin’s fake?”
Southerners are known for their ability to engage in clever repartee in such social situations as trying to pick up a date in a bar.
After the young lady moved several seats away fro the man, I began talking with him. It turned out he was from Birmingham, Alabama, and he, too, was homesick.
He told me about a support group to which he belonged, “Grits Anonymous,” for misplaced Southerners.
He invited me to attend the group’s next meeting. It was wonderful. We filled up the host’s Jacuzzi with grits and wallowed around in them until we all felt we could handle Chicago and our homesickness until at least the next meeting.
After some research I found there are other groups of Atlantans who are transplanted Northerners and meet occasionally to deal with problems they have encountered since moving south. There is, for instance, the “Federation of Former New Jersey Americans,” who miss such things as seeing bodies floating in rivers. They meet at Barney’s Waterslide every other Wednesday.
“It’s not what we’re used to, of course,” said the group’s founder, Nick Valentino, from Newark, “but it does help some of our members to cope.”
There’s “We’re from Cleveland,” people who never get to see rivers burn any more. What they do is rent a raft and float down Atlanta’s scenic Chattahoochee River. At lunch time they pour gasoline on the water and roast wienies.
I even discovered a group of transplanted Chicagoans, “The Fruit Loops.” Every time the temperature falls below 60 degrees they take off their clothes and run around outside in hopes of enjoying the invigorating feeling of frostbite once more.
What’s obviously happening in our country is more and more people are leaving their roots to find their fortunes, and this obviously can lead to various forms of culture shock.
I eventually left Chicago for home because I could no longer handle a foreign way of life, and I am certain the people from New York and New Jersey and Cleveland and Chicago will be leaving the South and returning home soon, too.