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We live our lives in one place
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I was born in Butte, Montana. It’s a mining town of immigrants which describes my extended family completely. Many folk songs have been written about this harsh subsistence lifestyle. We moved when I was two, to Seattle where a better job at the airline company, Boeing, became available for an uneducated but brilliant immigrant. I’m not sure this would be as available today. Even though I was young, we went back to Butte every summer. My mom missed her family and my dad was working. There is still a bit of the mining family in me. Seattle is a big city but we lived in the rural outlying community that has since become incorporated and renamed, Shoreline. We had a huge forest behind us and a large garden, planted by my dad, in the old county style. There were tall evergreen trees that when I climbed to the top, swaying in the wind, I swore I could see downtown. My mom was not as happy as me at this endeavor. My sisters and I sat on a tree in the yard that had a branch growing horizontally, just big enough for the three of us. I remember the Worlds Fair when they built the Space Needle and the Bubblator, an elevator shaped like a glass bubble with a woman dressed in “future” clothing operating the bubble. Our zoo mascot was a silver back gorilla that a family donated when he got too old to have at home. He was cute as a baby wearing a diaper. Angry as an adult, in a cage with kids sticking their tongues out, hoping for an angry outbreak of pounding on the large window or even better, throwing feces. He was so loved that they stuffed him and stood him in the museum where all the children could pet him. When his hair fell out – from all the petting – they cut him in half, placing just his upper torso and head in a small glass case. When I showed him to my kids, they were disgusted. I now see how utterly cruel it was, and that has stayed with me in all my dealings with animals. When I turned 17, I moved to the town of Puyallup, land of tulips, daffodils and the state fair. I moved to a very small town of Sumner. One Main Street. I’ve carried my love of small towns with me. Next geographical adventure was New Mexico. The town in the northern mountains of 8,000 ft had a population of 300. The small community/commune that I lived in was from 6 in the winter to 30 in the summer. I grew my vegetables and raised my meat and put it up to last the year. I remembered my fathers garden and the Pickled beans recipe that still lived in me. I made my children’s clothes by remembering the sewing skills given to me by my mother. After awhile I moved to the bigger, but still small town of Santa Fe. I knew people wherever I went. I cared for their families, I sold them weavings, I traded childcare. I knew how to live in community from the lives I had already lived. I am now in Seattle again. 30 years later, it is a very big city. The forest behind my mothers home is gone, with many houses in its place. The freeway cut down all the blackberry bushes and now the trees that line the freeway are cut to make way for a light rail all the way north to Everett and south to Tacoma. I live in a large house that I bought with my daughter and her husband, to help with expenses. I helped raise their two children. I learned how to do that by my grandparents before me. I have a garden and I pickle my own beans. I grow flowers now, too. Just like my mom who loved her dahlia garden. My grandkids grow vegetables and herbs occasionally. They are too busy most of the time, but do love to pick the cucumbers and tiny tomatoes and the peas. I have taught them both to sew. My daughter makes pickled beans with them. When I think of living my life in one place, it is not a geographical place, it is a family place, of many generations, that is continuing on.

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