I am from a cul-de-sac full of kids my age, from buttered Cheerios and ATVs (with 3 not 4 wheels).
I am from the house that backed up to the big open field, modest and blue with a playhouse in the backyard that was anything but small.
I am from a vegetable garden that gets bigger every year and feeds my family and friends with its bounty. I am from tulips—purple and white—wrapped in a thick silk ribbon and carried on my wedding day.
I am from a new ornament for the Christmas tree every year—given on the day we decorate.
I am from Cindy and Walt, an artist and a hunter who taught me ceramics and how to shoot a compound bow.
I am from overnight stays at Gam’s where we would eat Ballreich’s potato chips with french onion dip and drink Country Time lemonade from a cup that said “Beer By The Glass” in blue and green type while we watched Golden Girls.
I am from sitting next to space heaters, my body wrapped in an afghan, and from family gatherings where everyone brings a dish to share.
I am from “fight your own battles” when dealing with the neighborhood kids and “I love you” at the end of every phone call from my mom, dad, or grandparent.
I am from a family that never went to church and never spoke much about their religious beliefs or lack there of.
I am from Northwest Ohio, within a 10 mile radius of every move I’ve ever made. I am from cut-out cookies, from homemade french fries—skin on and cut from russets—and fried perch caught with a line and hook.
I am from boxes of photographs—black and white, color, 35 mm and Polaroid, from big cedar hope chests and older chests that look like they belong on a pirate ship—full of posters, trinkets, and bits of ephemera from my youth. The items that remind me of who I am and where I am from. The baubles and bits that I will tell my sons about. The things I just can’t throw away.
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