Sunday, April 30, 2006

Where I Am From Meme

I am from sagebrush, pungent and dusty. I am from mountains, granite graven. Dry hot summers, praying for rain. Rainshadow side of the mountains. I am from unlocked front doors, and roaming down by the river that runs through town. I am from exploring hills and whatever might be around the bend.

I am from a mother who grew up in the middle of the desert after moving to Nevada during the Depression. Her first bedroom in Nevada was the back of a Pierce Arrow. My mother was a WAC stationed in Germany after WWII. She relished the time she spent skiing in Switzerland, drinking beer in Germany, and buying clothes in Paris. I am from a mother who married a fellow soldier only to endure abuse. I am from a mother who refused an abortion and had me and was beaten for it. I am from a mother who gathered her husband’s first two children from his previous marriage and my older brother and me, and rode a train to Nevada from New Jersey to escape further beatings. I was a year old. She told my half-brother and half-sister that soon they would see the mighty Humboldt River. When they first spotted the trickly, tumbleweed choked, alkali, sluggish river they were stymied. The mighty Humboldt? My mother responded that she didn’t bother to tell them whether it was mighty big or mighty small.

I am from a step-father who came from southern France. He is Basque. He came to America to be a sheepherder. He moved to Winnemucca Nevada and became a miner. I am from parents who lived in tiny mining towns trickling down from the border of Oregon and through the middle of the desert. Nevada tourism now proudly markets this area as the outback of America. I am from a step-father who could string together long swearing tirades in Basque. I am from parents who eventually moved to Reno and started a landscaping business and worked in casinos. I am from a step-father who once smuggled Jewish refugees from France over the Pyrenees into Spain. I have a step-father who spent time in a Spanish prison for smuggling.

I am from political arguments about the Kennedy’s, drunken fights late at night, while I cowered in my bed. I am from the reputation of the “bad kids” on the block. I am from the most beautiful yard in the neighborhood. Bachelor Buttons, Hollyhocks, Marigolds, Roses, Cosmos, Sweet Williams, Canterbury Bells, and projectile missiles for cars, cherry tomatoes. I am from the interior of our home looking like a superfund disaster site.

I am from moving to a valley north of town, my mother pleased that it overlooked Peavine Mountain. I am from our home being the hub of all friends, who came to party. I am from a mother who smoked pot with my brother and me, and who thought she should have lived in our era. I am a middle child with one older brother, a younger brother, and a younger sister. I am the only Christian and the only one who doesn’t smoke. My mother is a voracious reader and so is my older brother and me. I am from a mother who allowed me to hitchhike to California when I was sixteen. I am from a home that took in hitchhikers. Two guys from Australia stayed a month. I am from a mother who has an overactive imagination. She tells about the time that Willie Nelson came and partied at our house. We heated with a wood-burning stove. My mother plied us with homemade bread, home-canned vegetables, jams and jellies, and savory pots of soup and stews. My father always carved a cross in a loaf of French bread. The basques are mostly catholic.

I am from being afraid of my abusive step-father to standing up to him and finally leaving home when I was sixteen. I am from having my first child at eighteen. Slightly one year later, I was a single mother, working as a hotel maid. I am from parents who decided to divorce. No more late night drunken fights.

My step-father and mother are now 80 and 81. I cannot remember my real father. I last saw him when I was only one year old.

God chose me when I was twenty-one. I had spent time seeking “spirituality” and had run the gamet of every new age trend that came down the turnpike. I never found my “guru” though. By grace I learned to forgive the past and love again as I grew in my understanding of Christ. Of course, there is so much more I can write about my own family. That is for another post. God is the potter and I am the clay. I am still being formed in a vessel for His glory.


At 8:30 AM, Blogger 4given said...

Thank you for sharing this heart-wrenching, God-honoring testimony.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger candyinsierras said...

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. :) Amazing He can pluck us out of bizarre circumstances. I am very grateful.


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