I am from comic books, from Quisp, from candy cigarettes and GORP.
I am from the cabin snow in January and the backyard pool in July. Neighborhood block parties with watermelon and homemade ice cream. From bright red bottle brush trees and frogs under the front porch flushed out with hoses. Mother-daughter fashion shows in go-go boots and The Sound of Music in choir.
I am from the tall, scented pines of the Sierras, the fast, cold streams full of trout beneath my pole. From campgrounds with dirt, wood that was whittled, rocks collected and polished. Deep, green lakes for swimming under and skiing over. Dry, dusty cow pastures with fire pits and motorcycle jumps, cottontail rabbits and the river.
I am from family reunions and remembering every one’s life story, from Healys and Coopers and Redferns. Hardworking men and strong-willed women and big families. The smell of new tires and cousins growing up like siblings. Homes open to all, respecting your elders, and being seen and not heard. A recipe passed down and twins every where.
I am from football games with turkey soup and homemade bread. Shakey’s pizza Fridays and Saturday night drive-in movies. I come from summers at day camp and library trips on the bus. Tie dye t-shirts, Bobby Sherman and The Love Bug. Lincoln logs, harvest gold appliances and flocked couches.
From True Story magazines snuck out of Grama Maxine’s beauty shop and great aunts who taught crochet during the telethon. From pomegranates picked right off the tree and fresh corn cobs out in a field. Pumpkin hunting in Half Moon Bay and painting our faces like Kiss.
I am from Sunday School in some one’s living room. Mass with incense and Latin. The comfort of saints and the Holy Mother. Sunday light filtered through stained glass, first communion, highly polished alter boy shoes. Pews with kneelers and priests who knew your names.
I’m from California and Ireland, Canada and England, corned beef with cabbage and Yorkshire pudding with roast.
I come from the time Dad and Uncle Tom went to find the perfect Christmas tree and got lost in a snowstorm, from the size of the fish that always got away, and from Grandpa’s broken ankle while throwing pine cones on the roof so we kids would think reindeer were landing.
I am from jerky home movies of backyard BBQs and toboggans in the driveway. From the collection of graduation pictures on Grandma’s bedroom wall and wedding pictures on the mantel. Grainy, dark photos of mountains climbed, tops of waterfalls achieved, and storybook vistas reached with back packs on. Snap shots of babies and godparents in handmade christening dresses. Of toddlers in Easter dress and kid’s opening pj’s on Christmas Eve.
I am from unconditional love and strong family ties. Mothers who care for everyone’s child and dads who can fix anything. From builders of homes and tree houses, founders of family traditions and doctors of scrapes and bruises.
I am from knowing they are always there for you.