When I meet new people I usually get around to asking them how they got here. What was the route they took with their life that brought them from wherever, California, Georgia, the upper Midwest, to here, Madison County? I get a variety of answers mostly having to do with getting out of the rat race, wanting something smaller and slower, or perhaps to be closer to children who have settled here. Legitimate reasons all.
My great-grandparents, Caterina and Vincenzo, had three children in the small Sicilian village of Lentini. Their two sons, Giuseppe and Carlo, left as teenagers for the United States and never returned to Sicily and never saw their family again. Their daughter stayed behind to care for the elders, which is the Italian way.
I think about this kind of stuff a lot, probably more often than I should readily admit. But I'm taken with our goings and comings, as individuals and as cultures. It's not something new to humans, we've always moved and migrated to lands new to us. Places we liked better. Or places with more opportunities. Or places, as Nilsson said, "where the weather suits your clothes." I understand the motivation. It's what brought me here, the desire to be in a place I perceived to be better than where I grew up, or anywhere else for that matter.
Yet I also wonder about those left behind. Caterina and Vincenzo without their sons, my parents when their children left home, and perhaps us, as our children look to new places. We are a fortunate people with our ability to choose. It isn't the case for most people.