Fort Wayne doesn't have a full-fledged blogosphere yet, but one is developing. An interesting conversation has been taking place on a couple of local blogs, for example, about this area's "brain drain." Gloria Diaz, a guest blogger at Fort Wayne Media Notes, kicked it off with a post discussing the departure of college graduates because, among other reasons, of a lack of good jobs. That prompted a response from FWMN host Nathan Gotsch to the effect that "sending our kids out into the world isn't such a bad thing." Then came Tracy Warner, Journal Gazette editorial page editor, who said that, though brain drain is a serious issue, he agrees with Nathan, and "we should encourage our kids to explore, expand their horizons . . ." Along the way, there were a couple of interesting comments on Nathan's post from blog visitors, one from a Fort Wayne newcomer and the other from someone who left and then came back, showing that there are different perspectives both on Fort Wayne's assets and deficits.
My two cents worth: There really isn't much disagreement here. There's no conflict in telling our loved ones to go wherever their dreams take them and at the same time trying to make Fort Wayne the kind of place they might want to choose. We'll keep some, lose some and lure some back.
I speak from the perspective of someone who has left Fort Wayne and come back, twice. And I have a brother and sister who have moved on. My brother has built himself a house in Hill Country, Texas, and seems to have found where he's supposed to be. My sister, on the other hand, lives in Indianapolis and talks frequently about how much she misses Fort Wayne.
I was gone the last time for 10 years because that's where my work took me, and I came back the last time for the same reason; Gloria certainly has that part right. But I've talked to other people who've left and come back, and there are always other reasons besides employment. There's a connectedness you feel in the place where you grew up (we moved here when I was 12) that you don't feel anywhere else -- to people, places, shared history. It's important to tell that to the kids, too; again, we'll keep some and lose some.
For what it's worth, whenever I've felt out of place, including here a couple of times, it's either because I didn't know anybody or wasn't on the same wavelength as the people I did know. When people say, "There's nothing to do here," what I usually think they mean is that there's nobody here they want to do it with.