Shanti Emerson: Some roots run deep and others are more widespread |

Shanti Emerson: Some roots run deep and others are more widespread

Some of us live in the same place our whole lives. Maybe we go away to college for a couple of years and then return to our safe nests, maybe where our parents and grandparents live.

I didn’t grow up that way. I lived in five different American states, five cities in California, and five houses in Nevada County.

I was born in a beautiful little city in Virginia where my mother was born. We lived in a graceful two story brick house with plenty of relatives around.

Then my father returned from the war, and we were transported to the desolate barely populated middle of Kansas. We lived in one of the 10 little company houses that stood in the middle of the plains. There was a wheat farm nearby, a forest full of pheasants and doves and an oil field behind us with pumps going 24/7. I remember dust storms blowing tumbleweeds across our lawn and the debris hurting my little legs.

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After all, people are people and there are good ones wherever you go.

After my mother couldn’t take Kansas anymore, we were transferred to a little oil town in Oklahoma. Amazingly, the schools were excellent, and I got a good start on my education. Coming from the middle of nowhere, I must have been pretty intimidated by the girls with their long ringlets and ability at hopscotch and jacks. I was way behind them in every way.

After five years there, we were transferred again, this time to the fourth largest city in America, Houston. This happened to be my father’s hometown, and so at last I had grandparents and an aunt who lived in the same city. The kids were much more sophisticated (even in the fifth grade). I was a bit shocked at all the houses, all the people and traffic that come with big cities. I lived there for 20 years and became quite citified. After all, people are people and there are good ones wherever you go.

From there, I got the opportunity to move to California, living first in Pasadena, then Altadena, then San Francisco and finally, Nevada County.

I went to three colleges before I got my BA and another for my MA and another three or four to learn just for fun.

I’ve had two different last names and a couple of first names and am very satisfied with Shanti Emerson. Husbands, boyfriends? Hmmmm. Let’s not go there.

Houses, I counted 16! And as difficult as moving is, it’s actually quite fun to see your furniture in different settings, and it’s interesting to meet new groups of people and explore neighborhoods.

I have attended the Episcopalian, Unitarian, Unity, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches and have participated in Hindu, Buddhist and Ananda services. Each of these religions have much to offer. They all lead to peace, forgiveness, and love.

So, I’ve lived five states and five California cities. I’ve gone to seven colleges, five churches, had a few names, and made many friends. I’ve traveled on five continents and given tours of India. I’ve been Democrat, Republican and even Green (sorry Libertarians). I’ve taught in five different schools in four different levels.

I love my vast experiences. I can see the world from many various angles, am tolerant of other opinions (usually) and don’t have fear of different kinds of people.

Some roots run deep and others are more widespread, intertwined with other roots. We have both groups in our wonderful county, those with a deep sense of history and those with a wide diversity in experiences. Both keep Nevada County vital.

Shanti Emerson is a Nevada County resident and a member of The Union Editorial Board. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the board or its members. She can be reached at

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