When Charlie Cox told his friends he was leaving Chicago, no one tried to talk him out of it. After 35 years at General Motors, he was ready to retire. Ready to trade the cold and the crime and the frenetic pace of life for the rivers and fields of his youth. He had grown up in rural West Point, Miss., and he had moved north with his family when he was 9 years old, but somehow his heart had never quite followed. His spirit yearned for the South, and, as the years passed, the memories of his childhood burned brighter until he couldn’t stand it any longer.
There was only one problem: His wife, Darlene, wasn’t so enamored of the idea. She had been born and raised in Chicago and had deep roots in the South as well, but her impressions of the region were far from idyllic. Her ancestors were slaves, working the cotton fields of Tunica, Miss., and she didn’t have fond memories of her family’s trips to Mississippi in the 1960s.
As a result, she and Charlie found themselves at an impasse – he longed to return to a place he had never wanted to leave, but it was a place she had never wanted to live.