Sunday, August 20, 2006

From Where?

I'm from a small farm community in Missouri. I grew up next door to my grandparents. My parents built a new house there when I was 8. Before that we lived 10 miles away. My grandpa lived in the same house he died it... the same room in fact. As far as I know, his father may have been born in the same room. It was a four generation farm, but his family had been in that area since several generations earlier than that… every since the area was settled, in fact.

As far back as I can remember, there was a sense of permanency surrounding the family farm. It has always been there. It would always be there. When I was maybe ten, I would ask my grandpa what was going to happen to the farm when he wasn't able to farm it anymore. In my own way I was trying to be tactful (not an easy task for a 10 year old with ADD). He always said there was a "trust" set up. All of his kids would have to agree on what to do with it. I don't know why I would have been worried at such a young age about the future of a farm. I was just always fascinated by the history. Somehow, the permanency was a sort of security.

I'll call these grandparents Grandma and Grandpa H. so that we can differentiate them from my other Grandma. My grandparents’ house was probably a hundred or more years old. It had been remodeled many times, but it was the same structure that had seen the road out front go from a dirt trail, to a gravel road, to a state highway.

My grandma on the other side grew up maybe 2 miles away on a gravel road in the country… the same local neighborhood. My dad's cousin still owns that property. This grandma we'll call Grandma J. I wasn't as close to her as I was Grandma and Grandpa H. simply for the fact that she lived further away. She usually lived within 30 miles from us, but she still wasn't in our back yard like Grandma and Grandpa H. Grandpa J had died before I was born in a work related accident. He worked for the railroad so he was gone all week when Dad was growing up. Apparently when Dad was 19, he fell off of a train and was killed.

I was never any good in school. I would listen around the corner to my mom and my teacher at parent teacher meetings. "She's very bright, but doesn't seem to live up to her potential. She's very sweet and tries. Sometimes she excels, but generally she lags behind." Some version of the same information followed me to adulthood. I'm still very sweet. I'm still smart. I still try. Somehow I never live up to my potential. I know now that I have ADHD, but at that time, I was just a failure… an overly sensitive failure, overwrought with anxiety, depression and pain.

So that's where I'm from. I'll work chronologically from there. Thanks for your patients in reading so far. I know the set up is always the worst part of a story. I'm sure I'll try to go back and make it more interesting later.


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