Deep Roots

May 8, 2009

Rustic birdhouse

Rustic birdhouse

I just returned from a trip to my childhood home in Minnesota, the family farm which was my universe for the first 18 years of my life.   

Seattle is my chosen home now.  My husband and I moved here over 30 years ago, drawn by the mountains, lakes and Puget Sound.  We live in a house that’s over 100 years old.  Until our daughter started college, this was the only home she had known.  So my home here is rooted in memories and meaning.

I will always have another place I can call home, my birth home in Minnesota.  My 90-year-old Dad still lives on the farm where I was raised.  It’s a “Century Farm,” one that has been in the same family for over 100 years.  Dad’s grandfather homesteaded the land after buying it in 1871 from the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad for $1,160.  The farm passed to his son, Dad’s uncle, who sold it to Dad’s mother and father in 1932 for $6,000.  My grandparents began renting the farm to my Mom and Dad in 1949.  When Grandma and Grandpa died in 1961, my parents purchased the farm.

I know that I am fortunate to be able to return to my childhood home, sleep in my old bedroom in the white frame farmhouse, and walk the land where I first played and worked together with my family.  And although I’ve lived in Seattle for more than 30 years, I will always feel “at home” in Minnesota, land of big skies, tall cumulus clouds, black soil, rolling hills, wind, and mosquitoes.  I am rooted in two special places, one urban and one rural, one in the conservative Midwest heartland and one in the liberal and diverse West Coast.  Somehow it feels natural to me to hold both homes in my heart.

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2 Responses to “Deep Roots”

  1. Lynne Says:

    I, too, had a rural early childhood, in a very small town and on my grandparents’ farm in southwestern Pennsylania. Somehow those first memories are some of the strongest, tied as they often are to the world of the senses: the taste of home-churned butter on freshly baked bread; the musty, damp smell of apples in the basement; the change in the air before a summer thunderstorm; the sound of the rooster at dawn; the rich panorama of the deep green woods and fields of Pennsylvania – so different from the golden hills of California, where I live now.

    Though much has changed in the fifty-some years since I lived there,there is still a feeling of familiarity, if not exactly of going home, whenever I’m Back East. I think there is a connectedness to the land and to a simpler way of life that has accompanied me throughout all my travels.


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