ARIZONA HIGHWAYS

grandpa and grandma jim & kate

Grandma and Grandpa long before I was born.

James Frederick Davies and Katherine Rose Germonte.


Grandpa’s father was born in England and his mother in Ireland. Grandma was born in Lithuania with Russian, Ukrainian and Polish roots.

When Dad and Mom bought their old house and Grandma and Grandpa moved to one that was all on one floor, Grandma left behind in the attic stacks of old Arizona Highways magazines. I was in second grade and had no idea how she even got them.

I’d go into that attic that Mom was turning into a clothes closet, turn on the lightbulb and sit on the floor for hours looking at the pictures of all the Indians, wondering why Grandma had magazines about Indians who lived so far away. We lived in Massachusetts and these were Indians in Arizona.

Most kids dream of being somebody important. I wanted to be an old person sitting in a rocking chair on a porch in Arizona where people would come from far and wide for my wisdom. I never told anyone that before. It seems so foolish. I was in second grade dreaming of becoming an old woman. I rocked a lot. Dad had to bolt my crib to the floor. They’d get up in the morning and my crib would be across the room and they’d wonder how it got there.

When I got older I used to wish I didn’t rock. Now it makes me dizzy. I outgrew it.

You know, when you grow up you don’t pay much attention to how your family looks. That’s an outsider thing. When I received these photos a few days ago from someone on ancestry.com, and knowing that most American Indians migrated from Russia/Asia, I began to think that Grandma had those Asian roots.

I know this sounds funny now, but Grandma had sort of kinky hair. And we always said that she looked the same no matter how old. She never seemed to change. She was tiny, under five feet and never lost the so-called baby fat on her face.

When I look at her now, except for the white skin (and in person it wasn’t that white), she looks like those Indians I saw in Arizona Highways.

I think she enjoyed looking at ‘her people’ without ever knowing for sure who her people were, except that Auntie brought her from Vilnius, Lithuania when she was ten years old. I don’t know what Auntie’s name was; we all just called her Auntie.

This photo is of Dad and his sister Ann. Her real name was ANNA, but she Americanized it to ANN. Dad was Thomas Joseph. Grandpa’s and Grandma’s other son was James Frederick, like Grandpa. Dad joined the Merchant Marines during WWII.






 

Advertisements

HUGGING – day 4

FIVE DAYS IN MARCH

DAY 4

My evolution from not wanting somebody to hug me or even tap me during a conversation – except family – to initiating the hug to overcome some ridiculous rule, that probably somebody else made for me. The fear of strangers that our mothers make us be. Fathers too.

Hindsight this is.

Does anyone really need or want to know any more? The whole story was told in two sentences. Then why fill the page with detailed filler that’s going to bore the viewer? Reserve your one, two or three liners for one, two or three liners.

If you can describe it in a few sentences, then why go for five hundred or more words, that’s only going to bore the viewer? You’re bored already.

This is hindsight. This is an English way of writing. Many other cultures put the main component of the thought first. Home I go vs. I go home. Mix it up a little, so the writing style isn’t so predictable.

People from different cultures read your stuff. Let them know you care about their reading experience.

~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight






 

Thanks Mom…and Dad

My mother is making me stronger the longer I take to not grieve her passing.

She passed in such a graceful, let me go type of way, on her terms, and only when she knew as the mother to all of us that we would all be okay without her.

I know she’s not lost. She just had a bunch of stuff to do and people to see and help before she got to me. I always said take care of them first, I’m okay, now she’s holding me to it.

Frankly I was looking for some time to get stuff together. I was hoping for a ‘Mom’s on vacation away from all of us and her lifelong responsibility to all of us’ type of vacation – for her.

Don’t worry, she took it. She deserved it. Dad did too. We all do – at that point when our life becomes nothing to the world or anything on or in it. It’s a private passing, once gone from the tender thoughts of those whispering them, or the thoughts we whisper to ourselves as we hug ourselves to death’s door, when there really isn’t anybody else doing it for us.

I wanted to get my apartment looking really good – even though a lot of it is dumpster, second hand stuff – before she arrived via the spirit machine – to view it from a new dimension.

She once told me, “Don’t you ever be ashamed of that, Sharon”.  I said, “I’m not.” My mother knew I could pick the best from the worst.

My mother-in-law knowing I didn’t have much in the way of clothes said more than once to me, “You would look good in a potato sack”. I believed her.

Although both my mothers loved to hate me for all the right and wrong reasons, I always loved them – because they were mothers. Because I knew their suffering as women. And because they made the best of the time they lived in, that didn’t accept them as whole human beings. They accepted themselves differently than the world, governments, religions assigned them to be.

Guess they hated me – a part of them hated me – because I wasn’t a mother. And they both wanted that. My mom always saw me as a mother – even as a kid – because of the way I cared about everybody. My mom-in law wanted to see what little Steve’s and Sharon’s would look like. Just like our dogs probably and a couple of cats and gold fish and turtles and birds. Pick an animal any animal.

Finally my mother when she saw that I was not going to go for that glamorous job she pictured me in, said in resignation but also a recognition of truth, ‘the animals need you Sharon’. She read me. I sent her all of what I wrote. My father was more worried for me, that the path I took as activist would hurt me, so did what he could do to block me – nothing. He got it. He knew me as an engineer. My mother knew me as a mother. They both saw themselves in me.

That right there is the greatest compliment that my Mom and Dad ever gave to me – that they saw themselves in me.

Of course they feared for me, taking risks like I did, but they read my essays, yes my father too, and they knew I was right.

They also knew how they raised me and how I raised them and together even if apart we all would do the right thing for all of us and the individual of us and somehow it would all work out as a family growing into something better, still remembering the gentle and rough times equally.

~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight