I am from hot air balloons and pop-top camping trailers, from Mervyn’s and discount grocery stores, from libraries and book dust.
I am from eggshelled linoleum dripping with Scotch on the rocks and conservative politics, from a class war with fronts in the living room and kitchen and bedrooms.
I am from the wind scoured valley sandwiched between dullest desert and emerald mountain waters, from Old West and gambling destination, from where no one thinks anyone actually lives.
I am from foothill apple orchards and fall harvests, from cookies for all occasions and stubbornness, from Seelbach and McCabe and Kalitizki and Lachotzki turned Lyon through immigration.
I am from Irish Catholic and assimilated Jew, from religion forced and religion invisible, a tension that birthed a zen pagan faerie with an evangelical christian sibling.
I am from “you’re wasting your potential” and “you don’t have to act on those tendencies”, from perfectionism and home-baked birthday cakes (always chocolate chocolate chip), from father knows everything and conflict avoidance and planning it all out.
I’m from the California of dreams, the Midwest of roots, the Irish and German old country where the seeds of family trees were birthed, from meatless Friday tuna casserole my father would never make or eat after, from boxes of matzo hidden in plain sight in the cupboard next to the cheerios.
I’m more from the stories we don’t tell than the ones we do, from secrets, from lines traced back to famine and genocide, from assimilation stories and attempts at normalcy, from freedom rides and civil disobedience. I am from boxes jammed with pictures, from scrapbooked memories, from digital files and my sister’s baby book, but not mine.
I am from the middle, middle America, the middle of the upper and lower middle class, the middle of two monotheisms, the middle of matriarchy and patriarchy. I have straddled binaries since birth.