Jason Kelly ’95 | July 14, 2020
South Bend takes some explaining. Sometimes even to myself.
Like the river, a sense of civic insecurity flows through town, placid on the surface but with a strong undertow. Once in a while, I’ll kick against the current, unwilling to let a slight go by unchallenged, marshaling an inventory of South Bend’s advantages and amenities, but that always feels defensive, protesting too much.
So mostly I float along with the prevailing opinion. If anything pegs me as a South Bend native, it’s that: my silent acceptance of negative perceptions of the city.
Despite my mute acquiescence, I really don’t get why so many people harbor hard feelings. The grievances I hear tend to be vague — beyond pining for a Trader Joe’s, the lack of which seems to be universally felt — an indistinct but pervasive sense of something missing in the culture, the geography, the infrastructure. But what, exactly?
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