By Jay Menuskin
Moving to Memphis has been a real adventure for Marcia and me. I had lived in Chattanooga for all my life, and Marcia had lived there since shortly after we got married in 1958. My parents were both born in Chattanooga, and Marcia’s parents lived in Knoxville, where we both attended the University of Tennessee (and where we met). So what motivates two people to uproot themselves and move to a new city? The answer is simple: We moved to Memphis because two of our three daughters live here, and all four of our grandchildren call Memphis their home as well.
But making the decision was not easy. Marcia and I were part of the Chattanooga community for 55 plus years. We both worked there and raised our children there. We were very much established and surrounded by many friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. We had a network that even spread to the smaller towns around Chattanooga.
Although we thought about moving for a long time, we ultimately made the decision rather quickly in August 2014, when we came to Memphis for a visit, spoke to our children about it, and started looking for a place to live. We actually purchased a condo at that time, but did not move here until April 2015, because we were both working and didn’t want to leave until we finished out the year. Marcia worked as administrator of B’nai Zion Congregation, and I was an associate professor at Chattanooga College. We both had careers that we loved, and waited until the timing was right before leaving. So in April 2015, we finally made the move.
This was not our first home in Memphis. In 2006, we had purchased a home here with the idea of spending part of our time in Memphis and part in Chattanooga. This did not ultimately work out, but it did give us a taste for what it would be like if we moved here permanently.
We owe a debt of gratitude to our daughters, Jill, Zelda, and Lisa, who were all helpful and encouraging during the transition. Jill Menuskin Steinberg and Lisa Menuskin are the two daughters that live in Memphis, along with grandchildren Corey and Eleanor Steinberg, Eli Steinberg, Shayna Giles, and Seth Gibson. They were all extremely helpful with the move. Although Zelda doesn’t live here, she recently moved to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, from Fort Collins, Colorado, bringing her a bit closer than before.
We would be remiss if we did not mention our old friends Jay and Madelyne Daneman, who went out of their way to help us make friends. They also assisted with the move, hanging pictures, making minor repairs to the condo, and generally helping us feel at home. Jay Daneman was the best man at our wedding almost 59 years ago!
Also very helpful to us were our sons-in-law, Ken Steinberg and Neil Gibson, both of whom were very supportive of the move. Larry and Joy Wilk, Ken’s mother and stepfather, were also key to making the transition to our new city. All of these friends and relatives provided us with a network that allowed us to meet many new people.
The large Jewish community in Memphis is something that we have never experienced. Chattanooga’s Jewish population is just a little over 1,500 people (not families). Memphis has the advantage of a large and active Jewish community, and one of the finest Jewish Community Centers in the country. We joined the JCC as soon as we moved here, as well as two of the synagogues. We also opened a Donor-Advised Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Memphis, and we have found the fund to be a convenient way to manage our charitable giving.
Memphis has much to offer in the way of entertainment, restaurants, and social events. Although Chattanooga offers many of these activities, Memphis is far larger and offers many more options. The Pyramid, the Orpheum, and local theater groups are a few of our favorites. There is also a wider selection of restaurants in Memphis, and we continue to try many of them.
Of course, there are things that we miss about Chattanooga, including our many friends, our synagogue, and the beauty of the mountains and scenery. And moving to Memphis meant making adjustments, such as finding new medical personnel, learning the geography, and contending with heavier traffic than we were used to in Chattanooga.
But life has been good to us since moving to Memphis, and overall, we feel that we made the right decision in moving here. We love having our family close by and enjoying the support they give us. Thank you, Memphis, for making our move a good one for us, and welcoming us with open arms.