My Shawnee Story.
I am not originally from Shawnee. Like so many of you, I came from somewhere else, and made a very deliberate choice to locate within our city. I chose Shawnee before I ever owned a home.
I grew up in the working class part of Wichita; my mom sacked groceries at the local grocery store, and while we struggled to make ends meet, it never occurred to me that this part of town was different than any other until the third grade, when I was bused downtown as part of the school district’s gifted program. That was the first time I’d learned about college, the first time I went out to dinner at a place with cloth napkins…and the first time my friends weren’t “allowed” to visit my neighborhood. That sticks with a kid.
So, when my husband and I finished graduate school and decided to move to Johnson County, I was a bit anxious. How would we find a place within this land of prosperity that would ever feel like home? And then we found Shawnee.
Shawnee has beautiful topography, wonderful parks and recreation opportunities, proximity to most everywhere in the metro…but mostly, it has great people. Friendly, welcoming, and real. It wasn’t the overly pretentious, beige world I’d feared, but rather a community of folks who, like me, were largely looking for a better place to raise a family and spend a life. We were home.
Our first place was an apartment, where we’d spend the weekends walking our dog, Wyatt, around the local neighborhoods and daydreaming about what our first home would look like. Then we found our perfect house, just off a park and trailhead, with a backyard that was perfect for entertaining family and friends. Shawnee is now truly “home” …and that feels like a dream come true to this south Wichita kid. It is “home” surrounded by incredible neighbors, in a wonderful school district, and a community that cares about each other – but doesn’t get too caught up in being something or someone we aren’t.
No, I can’t recite a long list of Shawnee pedigree, or give you memories of growing up here. I don’t know all of our amazing history. I’ve picked up some of it, but I’m eager to learn more – from all of you. And I’m proud of the rich lineage of truck farmers and entrepreneurs who made our city what it is today.
While it is not where I was born, I can tell you that it’s a place I deeply love, and that I choose – and have chosen – again and again. It’s our home; a place I hope to raise a family someday, and a place that I spend a great deal of my life supporting…and it is a true joy to have the opportunity to do so. Shawnee is a community with an incredible past…but an even brighter future.
So…what’s your Shawnee story?