© Andrea Zucker Photography

© Andrea Zucker Photography

Audience: The Sheehans

Andrea and Antony Sheehan visited Memphis four times in 2012 as they considered multiple job opportunities, relocation options and explored communities to raise their daughters. On their fifth and final visit, Antony and Andrea caught a show at the Levitt Shell and were convinced to move their family to Memphis.

The Sheehan family stayed downtown and visited Andrea’s Aunt Marilyn in Whitehaven during their visits. Both were nice areas and diverse communities, but neither felt like home. “We lived in Boston. We loved it; it reminded me of my home in Birmingham, England, so I felt comfortable there. Antony knew Church Health Center was a perfect fit for him and his mind was decided.”

Antony focused on convincing Andrea this was the right move for their family. He also knew Andrea couldn’t see herself in Memphis, having never visited the South at all.

“Thinking about coming to Memphis brought many worries: missing friends and family, of course, the economic and emotional realities of relocation. But another question crossed my mind . . . what would the welcome be like for a mixed race couple like us?

Andrea was raised in Birmingham, England and lived in a close, tight-knit community.  Her mom came from the Caribbean and most of their relatives had settled in Birmingham, it was home. Andrea longed for a walkable community with access to theaters and museums. She was always mindful of being an interracial couple in the United States and wished to blend in versus standing out.  Raised in a diverse community, Andrea wanted to see lots of nationalities and faces and colors.

 “One night at the Levitt Shell and that question melted away like butter on hot toast. We found a picnic spot and I noticed that there were children of all nationalities playing together. I think Antony was a bit shocked by how quickly I said, ‘Yeah, this is it.’”

“It was hard for me to think about how not to stand out. I was raised in a community so diverse it was unbelievable. My sisters all married into mixed families. Not questioned, it’s a normal thing to do. So for me to have to think about that was really strange, and it was quite a burden to me actually.  Why was this something I had to think about? But it was a factor.  It was amazing how within a very short space of time that worry was just lifted by going to the Levitt Shell”.

Mary and Scott Morris invited the Sheehan’s to a concert. They found a picnic spot, and Andrea noticed there were children of all nationalities and colors playing together.

“I think Antony was a bit shocked at how quickly I said, ‘Yeah, this is it’. 

I just smiled all evening, because I was looking for something and discovered it in that short space of time. It was just a joyous place - the environment and the people”.

“It’s perfect I think and for me the Shell will always be the place that I decided to make this our home.  I told Antony, had we not gone there that night, I don’t know where we would have been.  After that night at the Shell I saw the positives in everything; we knew we wanted to live in Memphis.”

Andrea and Antony Sheehan visited Memphis four times in 2012 as they considered multiple job opportunities, relocation options and explored communities to raise their daughters. On their fifth and final visit, Antony and Andrea caught a show at the Levitt Shell and were convinced to move their family to Memphis.

The Sheehan family stayed downtown and visited Andrea’s Aunt Marilyn in Whitehaven during their visits. Both were nice areas and diverse communities, but neither felt like home. “We lived in Boston. We loved it; it reminded me of my home in Birmingham, England, so I felt comfortable there. Antony knew Church Health Center was a perfect fit for him and his mind was decided.”

Antony focused on convincing Andrea this was the right move for their family. He also knew Andrea couldn’t see herself in Memphis, having never visited the South at all.

“Thinking about coming to Memphis brought many worries: missing friends and family, of course, the economic and emotional realities of relocation. But another question crossed my mind . . . what would the welcome be like for a mixed race couple like us?

Andrea was raised in Birmingham, England and lived in a close, tight-knit community.  Her mom came from the Caribbean and most of their relatives had settled in Birmingham, it was home. Andrea longed for a walkable community with access to theaters and museums. She was always mindful of being an interracial couple in the United States and wished to blend in versus standing out.  Raised in a diverse community, Andrea wanted to see lots of nationalities and faces and colors.

 “One night at the Levitt Shell and that question melted away like butter on hot toast. We found a picnic spot and I noticed that there were children of all nationalities playing together. I think Antony was a bit shocked by how quickly I said, ‘Yeah, this is it.’”

“It was hard for me to think about how not to stand out. I was raised in a community so diverse it was unbelievable. My sisters all married into mixed families. Not questioned, it’s a normal thing to do. So for me to have to think about that was really strange, and it was quite a burden to me actually.  Why was this something I had to think about? But it was a factor.  It was amazing how within a very short space of time that worry was just lifted by going to the Levitt Shell”.

Mary and Scott Morris invited the Sheehan’s to a concert. They found a picnic spot, and Andrea noticed there were children of all nationalities and colors playing together.

“I think Antony was a bit shocked at how quickly I said, ‘Yeah, this is it’. 

I just smiled all evening, because I was looking for something and discovered it in that short space of time. It was just a joyous place - the environment and the people”.

“It’s perfect I think and for me the Shell will always be the place that I decided to make this our home.  I told Antony, had we not gone there that night, I don’t know where we would have been.  After that night at the Shell I saw the positives in everything; we knew we wanted to live in Memphis.”