William D. Waltz

from My Sweet Mobile Home

I have lived in Minnesota for over twenty years, but almost everyone who knows me knows I’m from Ohio and that I am an Ohioan at heart. My family also lived in Alaska and Florida and after that, as a young man, I resided in California and Massachusetts, but I’ve never considered them home. Often disguised as playful banter acquaintances sometimes wonder aloud about my fealty to such a decidedly off-trend and unglamorous locale as Ohio. Depending on my mood, I might offer James Wright’s suggestion that Ohio is where the east meets the west and the north meets the south, and therefore it is richly textured and complex. On the other hand, if I feel like giving my inquisitor the business, I might expound on the parochial nature of those who rarely venture forth from their on-trend environs and the inherent authenticity of those who neither reject their roots nor idealize those of others. The truth is Ohio’s the only place that ever really felt like home, even though I moved away thirty years ago and feel more like a stranger with each subsequent visit. Which begs the question: Is home a place or a feeling?