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Blest be the strong, but vague, ties that bind in remarkable Knoxville neighborhood

Blest be the strong, but vague, ties that bind in remarkable Knoxville neighborhood

What is the boomerang art about? We will get to that in a moment.

One of the nice things about being back in the Hills of East Tennessee is that I am living in a part of the world in which newspapers devote quite a bit of ink to the lives of ordinary people, often when they are doing rather ordinary things that still have great meaning.

Yes, part of me misses the daily snark of The Washington Post Style section. I am also struggling to get used to living in a zip code in which SEC football is pretty much all that matters in sports. There is a rumor that an NFL franchise exists in Tennessee, but you have to dig into the back pages to find that out. Oh, but the Lady Vols are a big deal in the hoops world, which is good.

I have lived in East Tennessee before -- teaching for six years at Milligan College up near the Virginia line -- and I get the rhythms of all of this. I have also read The Knoxville News Sentinel for a long, long time, since that is the newspaper that first asked the old Scripps Howard New Service to start a weekly religion news column. So 26 years later, it's nice that the News Sentinel is the newspaper that lands in my driveway each morning.

So the other day, the editors in the Life section there ran a very interesting and touching story about something that used to be normal, but is very unusual today -- members of several generations of a family going out of their way to live right next to each other, right there in a normal neighborhood.

This story is actually downright countercultural. Here is how it starts:

Boomerang kids move back home because they have to. But in a small neighborhood off Emory Road, kids move back because they want to.
One at a time, about half the kids who grew up in Imperial Estates have moved back from places like San Francisco, Australia, Kenya and New York City. They decided that life along Beaver Creek couldn't be beat. They bought houses just down the street from their parents. They want to raise their children as happily as they were raised.

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