24 April 2009

Roots

Somewhere along the way, I've forgotten my southern roots. I suppose that's somewhat understandable, considering that my upbringing occurred completely on Yankee soil. As a child, I remember fleeting references that hinted to a heritage beyond the New England states. For example, people would often take note of my mom's slight accent and ask where she was from. I never quite noticed it. Of course we made frequent pilgrimages to Virginia to see Aunt Becky and Grandmama, and they made even more trips to see us. And so I never forgot about where my mom came from; I guess it just never felt like my history. Grandmama died 16 years ago and thus ended our summer trips to her house where my brother and I would pick green beans and drive the tractor around the yard (crashing it every so often). I remember my mom letting me steer Granddaddy's 1973 Ford truck (surprising after the tractor incidents) as we drove the short distance on Route 689 from Grandmama's to US 460. Those are some sweet memories.


My dear Aunt Becky still lives in Virginia with her family, and as I hadn't been back in years and Andrew had never visited, we decided to go over Easter. We were treated to true southern hospitality and Becky's incredible memory. We spent the weekend laughing, listening and asking questions as we relived memories and created new ones. We had Easter lunch at the Peaks of Otter, a childhood haunt I hadn't revisited in years. The following day we hiked Sharp Top Mountain and were rewarded with beautiful views of Virginia countryside. And of course, we found a new friend in Pugsley (who couldn't love that face?).


On our last day, we drove over to where Grandmama had lived. I hadn't been there since she died. We commented on how the property seemed smaller than we remembered. The barn and garage were a little run down, and the trailer was gone, but the well cap was still there, which had always posed a challenging obstacle to our tractor cruising. We remembered where the grape vines and garden used to be and how the land sloped in the back. The garage and utility shed were open. I was hoping for the shed to smell as I remembered, but it didn't. It's been been a while I guess. Smells fade. But amidst the decay and relics of a life once lived, new life persists...


in dogwood blooms...


...and in a renewed connection to a history that is mine too.


[in the cement under the outdoor shelter]


[the barn my grandfather built]


[the garage/shed also built by Granddaddy]

7 comments:

Sarah said...

What lovely sentiments. I remember the way my grandpa's barn smelled too...you make me want to go back to my old stomping grounds! Glad you had such a good time visiting the southland.

Karen said...

You guys really did and saw some cool things. It is always nice to think back to older times, where we came from and who was here before us. Not only bringing back memories, but somehow knowing what made us, us. You know?

Mom said...

Thank you Amy for sharing such endearing memories of your Virginia ties. I hold those deep in my heart. This is a beautiful post with wonderful reflective photos. Your grandparents are smiling. :-)

Love, Mom

Becky said...

Thank you so much for sharing your visit with fellow-bloggers! I cried when I read it; partly because I miss you both so much and partly because it was such a lovely reflection of your trip. We THOROUGHLY enjoyed having you both and it was great taking the trip down memory lane together!!
Love you both, Becky

P.S. Pugsley thought you chose a great picture of her!!

Aunt Pat said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your photos and some of your very special memories with us. We are all so blessed by our families!

Marta said...

Great reflections, Amy. Your post makes me think of my trips to southwest Iowa growing up and discovering a heritage of rural farm life on my dad's side of the family tree.

Sounds like it was a wonderful Easter for you and Andrew! I'm glad.

Alli said...

Hey, I think you've changed the look of this? Perhaps preparing for a new post? We miss you two!