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Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Sense of Place

Last week was the annual Johnson jam session. No music just lots of sugar, fruit and pectin. In years past we got together to pick strawberries in the morning then make freezer jam in the afternoon. This year it was harder to get together so we picked separately and froze the fruit.
On the way home from my Aunt's home we stopped at the little Lutheran church to show the girls where their great grandparents were laid to rest. Looking at the names and recognizing many from our family tree I was struck by such a sense of loss.
This little town is where relatives from Norway immigrated and settled. Like the bar 'Cheers'-Where everyone knows your name. I have many memories of that area from visiting grandparents and family reunions and lutefisk dinners and the stories which get passed down and embellished.
We drove away from that little town and I felt such a sense of loss. With very few exceptions, the kids and grand kids have moved away. We are spread out and rarely communicate. It makes me very sad to consider this happening to my family-even worse when I consider this has been happening to families all over our increasingly mobile society. Strangers among strangers. No sense of place, no sense of roots or home.
I reconsider our plans for moving-instead of moving 30 minutes west to be closer to my father we could move 30 minutes east to return to an area full of old memories. Living family members are better IMHO. We can never go back to the way things used to be. But I can be sure to take my kids back to the old swimming hole and keep those family stories alive.


Ruralrose said...

i think we lost our humanity a bit when we dispersed, those of us who knew how it was before mourn it the most, excellently conveyed - peace Kris

Anonymous said...

I love being with family. It is a sense of togetherness, even with the occasional fighting and stress, I'd rather be with them than without. Seeing people scatter is hard. For me, my parents are my closest family (I'm an only child) and - after being hundreds of miles away from them for several years, I am so thankful to now be living a mere 1 hr drive away. You're right, people can't go back to the way things used to be, but we can hold on to each other in different ways.

hickchick said...

Ruth and mango--thanks for sharing your thoughts.
It is important for me to remember how the old stories handed down gloss over the rough spots. There really is no going back.
But I hope I can give my kids and someday grandkids a sense of home-even if it is not a physical place-just a feeling of belonging and history.

Sue said...

This is a huge problem nowadays. Move where there's a job, or stay where there is family. I have two family members, and they are both over 1500 miles away. In different directions. I'm heading out to see my son tomorrow. My brother, well, maybe NEXT year. Sigh.