Where will Saint Louis be? What will it look like? Who will live here? What will I have done? What will have changed between now and then?
These are the questions that aroused within me when I wrote a letter to the future citizens of Saint Louis last week. Let’s back up. I was at the Missouri History Museum in my hometown of Saint Louis with my friend Marissa when we were exiting the exhibit of the prohibition (I am a 1920s fiend, if you did not know) and headed towards the 250 in 250 exhibit, which showcases Saint Louis’ history in the 250th anniversary of our founding. Outside of the exhibit, however, was a tall booth that was sort of similar to those “Enter to Win a New Car!” kiosks at the mall. Naturally, I was planning to avoid such a kiosk, and wasting my time. But when we approached it, we found that it was not an obnoxious contest booth at all; in fact, it was the beginnings of a time capsule. Here, one could take a card and write a letter to future Saint Louisians about their hopes for the future, what needs to change in Saint Louis, and what future residents should know about 2014 Saint Louis. Pondering these prompts, without a real clue as to what I really thought, I began writing.
What I wrote on this card I barely remember because all the while I was contemplating the question this card only alluded to: What will Saint Louis be like in 50 years? Sure, in its essence, the question is hardly original, but I had never thought about the Where will we be 50 years from now question in these terms. In a way, it seems almost scarier when my hometown was added into the mix because I could pick out specifics. I could think more in-depth about what and where I could actually see changing, and while I may look at it, like so many before me, with a Jetsons-oriented mentality, the distant-yet-ever-approaching future is still scary to consider.
So, where will Saint Louis be in fifty years?
For over a week I have been contemplating this, ever still I have no answer. I would like to see that Saint Louis has its old-world-meets-new-school vibe still going on, and I would like the crime rate to be lower, of course. In the end, though, I think I would want Saint Louis to evolve the way it always has. Saint Louis has a funny way of being able to constantly evolve, all the while remembering its unique history, and somehow remaining relevant in a world obsessed with New York, Los Angeles, and London. Saint Louis should never and will never be one of these posh cities. Part of STL’s charm is that it is more real than some cities could ever be. There are lessons only the streets of South City and Downtown could teach you, and there are people, places, food, and events you could never find anywhere else. There are stories old, untold and yet to be written here. Of course, that is every place in the world, but when it’s your hometown, it suddenly means much more. Saint Louis is just different, and its taken me a while to realize how special of a place it really is. I hope Saint Louis never becomes as big as Los Angeles and New York, I don’t know if it would be the Saint Louis that it is, if it were. But maybe that’s the future.