Saturday, June 7, 2014
Today I am grateful for cultural heritage. When I began diversity training many years ago I did not believe I had a cultural heritage. I saw myself as plain old white bread, with not much interesting about me or my past. Those around me were multi-grained and had the texture I thought was necessary for a great cultural heritage. Then we did the exercise, “I Am From. . .”
To celebrate my birthday I am posting it as I wrote it back in 2000. The picture is the first house my parents bought when I was five years old. The garage, dormer and driveway were not there. This is a picture from only a few years ago and the place has grown, like we all do. The yard is a postage stamp but seemed huge to us. My dad would flood the yard in winter so we could skate. The hill behind it, near the “tracks” was magical. Mom only bought ice cream in pint cartons to be eaten right away because the fridge freezer was too small. She would cut four slices to serve us. I shared a double-bed, jammed against the wall, with my sister. Imagine making kids do that now!
I AM FROM
I am from immigrant roots of good, strong, solid German stock.
I am from cold, snowy winters, buckle boots, double mittens, ice skating and sled riding with frozen cheeks.
I am from tumbling down the hill, playing by the tracks in boxes from the factory, that got better the more you crawled inside them.
I am from Inky and Fifi, tramping around on the streets producing litter after litter of kittens.
I am from sandy potato chips, wieners roasted on the bonfire and summers at the beach of Lake Michigan.
I am from pixie haircuts and wheat jean shorts and madras shirts.
I am from nights "too hot to stay inside" spent on the porch with popcorn and koolaid and friendly shouts to neighbors.
I am from driving tractors, baling hay, pulling weeds, planting seeds and hoeing rows.
I am from picking strawberries, pickles, tomatoes and beans to sell at the road for Grandma and can in a boiling pot on the hottest day of the year with mom.
I am from "we don't eat garlic because it doesn't agree with your father" and "don't sass your mother. . .she's your mother!"
I am from "children should be seen, but not heard."
I am from sit down, don't run, play outside, don't slam the door and stay out of trouble.
I am from finish every crumb on your plate because people in China are starving.
I am from errands with dad and sneaking an ice cream at Dairy Queen. . ."don't tell your mother."
I am from "put your feet on my shoes and we'll dance."
I am from "Ach Willie!" when he was chasing her around for a kiss and "Maarrryy, time to get up!" when I was lazy.
I am from "don't talk back! You did what?! . . . Get the strap!"
I am from big white mints that look like checkers on the second shelf in grandma's kitchen.
I am from turkeys that don't fit in the oven and so many pies that they climb two to a step all the way upstairs.
I am from pick yourself up by the boot straps and get on with it.
I am from love that was shown, not said, where expectations were clear and affection was absent.