Essay in What Weekly: "Charming City"

I wrote this essay in What Weekly about losing a parent but gaining a home:

I have never felt at home anywhere, which is why I have always wanted to leave. When I graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in the mid-1990s, I came back to East Baltimore to live with my grandparents for a few months and apply to graduate schools. I had always viewed myself as a transient, an outsider. I wanted to go to graduate school in New Mexico. I saw myself in DC or New York or San Francisco after that. Not here, with the duckpin bowling, the hons, The Record and Tape Traders in Dundalk that had way too many used Ace of Base CDs, the now-defunct Baltimore Sign Company on Haven Street, where I and two St. Mary’s alum proofed grocery signs and deleted, much to our pain, the serial commas.

And then I fell in love. First with a girl, then with the city of Baltimore. Neither one was love at first site. Both grew on me, in a familiar and easy way that I, in my early twenties, viewed with disdain and suspicion. Although I eventually broke up with the girl after 11 years, it’s been 20 years and I’m still in Charm City—first in Canton, now in Butcher’s Hill.

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