Letter to the Editor

In defense of Bootheel pride

Monday, November 13, 2006

To the editor:

Since I recently read from my fiction at Central High School in Cape Girardeau and was introduced in print and in person as being a "Bootheel author," I'm probably the person referred to in the Nov. 9 editorial "Pride of place." The editorial more than suggested that the description wasn't warranted. After the lead-in, the editorial states: "As it turns out, she is from Bloomfield, Mo. Bootheel?"

Yes, Bootheel. Even a cursory examination of maps of counties in the Bootheel would have answered the question.

I have great pride in my hometown, county, state and country -- and in my region, which is the northern part of the Bootheel. It's Stoddard County. My grandfather referred to our region as the Bootheel. So did my mother, aunts, uncles. My brother and sister both believe they're from the Bootheel. My brother, a Vietnam veteran, says that when servicemen asked where he was from, he would first say "Missouri," and when they asked "where in Missouri?" he replied "the Bootheel." That's my pattern too. Since my siblings are also writers (and my uncles are great letter writers), we have promoted the Bootheel all over the world.

Perhaps the Speak Out author quoted in the editorial came from Kennett or further down in the Bootheel, a magic place too, and wants to draw boundaries on territory precious to him or her. I understand.

The next time someone asks where I'm from, I'll answer as I always have. But I'll likely add, "There's a writer in Missouri who disputes that."

ROSE MARIE KINDER, Warrensburg, Mo.