I dedicate this post to — Proscenium
who I’ve come to call, my friend and whose conversations, I not only enjoy immensely but also find great inspiration. One such conversation inspired this one.
Discussing our nomadic childhoods and how family members today live so far removed from one another as well as the resulting effect of difficulty maintaining lasting distant friendships caused me to reflect upon the cultural and societal differences of bygone eras and what has been lost along the way.
Tracing the paths of my ancestors paints a vivid picture of the course that has lead us here today with stark contrast. My great grandfathers family were West Virginians, his sister, having married a man who moved to south Texas to farm cotton. My great grandfather followed.
My early childhood was spent in my grandmothers home on Viola Ave in Corpus Christi, though I wouldn’t realize until I was an adult that this street was named for my great grand fathers sister, Winnie Viola and that as far as the eye could see, these city streets were once her and her husbands, cotton fields.
People migrated back then but not so much for wealth or adventure but rather the ability to work hard to provide for the family. Families often migrated together, worked together, built their homes with their own hands and laid down roots.
When my grandmother married, her husband built a concrete house almost directly behind her father’s. My great aunt Liddy Mae, a long with my mothers cousins, lived up the road and were ordinary characters in my daily life story.
Families stayed together back then, even unmarried adult children remained at home. Two of my grandmothers siblings never married and lived out their entire lives in that same home.
During hard times, people didn’t seek nor demand government handouts nor did they need to. When men fell ill or on hard times, they could depend on the neighbor men to patch the roof, mow the lawn, plow the field and when women fell ill, the women folk came to cook, clean, do the wash and care for the kids. Communities took care of one another, even taking each others children to raise when a parent had died or who was orphaned.
But I was born to a different era, to nomadic parents leaving the family home to chase a living. We didn’t stay long in any one place and to date, I have never lived in a house for more than 5 years having become nomadic myself. I made friends easily as a child but with having to constantly leave them behind, I developed a new skill that is difficult to overcome even today. I learned how to be friendly without forming real friendships.
It instilled a deep longing for a place in this world to belong, a forever home, one that no one could take and one my children would return to throughout life. In all my years, I have never found such a place and the older I’ve become, the less my desire. I soon become restless now and long for new horizons, new walls, a new place to hang my hat.