Erin Napier is a lifelong resident of Laurel, Mississippi and through her HGTV show, “Home Town,” she has become the poster woman for small-town life.
She ruminated on this fact in an Instagram post on September 26.
“I had a thought earlier that I should save for a future book, but here it is: when you live in one town your whole life, your younger self owns the memory of things and places, even after new ones are made,” the 36-year-old captioned a picture of a bonfire. “The road I drove Helen on last week while we sang Dolly Parton with the windows down is secondary, first it was the road where we went to rent videos on Friday after school. Bonfires belong to me at 15, even though we had a bang up one this weekend.”
For a brief time, Napier lived outside of the town while she attended the University of Mississippi. After college, she moved back to Laurel with her husband, Ben, and went on to welcome two children – daughters Helen and Mae.
Napier’s Fans Shared the Memories That Belong to Their Younger Selves
Napier’s revelation struck a chord with some of her followers, who shared the memories that belonged to their younger selves.
“For 27 years I’ve taught at the same small school I grew up in and graduated from,” one fan commented. “I am constantly meeting my younger self coming around each corner. I swear there are echoes of conversations and laughter with my childhood friends still ringing in those hallways. Lost in time in the best possible way.”
As another follower added, “All of this! I feel the same way driving my girls around my hometown and telling them my stories of a place we pass. It was mine first, but I love sharing it with them so much.”
But as someone else noted, there is “something so special about making new memories in old places… . One is silver and the other’s gold.”
’Home Town’ Bolstered Tourism in Laurel, Mississippi
Through their hit show, the couple aimed to renovate their struggling town.
“I don’t like being told what I can and cannot do,” Napier explained to CBS News in May 2021. “I don’t like to be told that you cannot have a professional art career in Laurel, Mississippi. I don’t like to be told that the place where I’m from is dead. It is interesting and it’s creative, and it’s unusual. And I wanted to share that with the world.”
As the outlet explained, of the show’s 70 renovations, all but one are homes. The success of “Home Town” has increased interest and tourism to the area, which has seen a boom in new business taking over formerly empty storefronts.
As one “Laurelite” and new store owner, Caroline Burks, told CBS News, “I jokingly tell tourists that Laurel had a ten-year plan, but the show helped compress that into, you know, three to four years.”
The Napiers are owners of two stores – Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman Store & Woodshop – in Laurel.
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