I am from steaming breakfasts of golden, crispy bird’s nests with magnificent runny yolks, from impossibly weak Maxwell House coffee and pre-dawn moments of true connection.
I am from the salmony pink-shingled house on the corner, drafty, sunny, and melancholy. Three front steps, ever in need of fresh paint, slightly wobbly from the destructive frosting and heaving of the long and brutal winter.
I am from the unkempt clusters of lilacs, scattered dandelions gone to seed, tendrils of fuchsia bleeding hearts, stolen and fragile jack-in-the pulpits, and haphazard bouquets of fringed chrysanthemums.
I am from high school diplomas and honest work, from Robert and Max and Judy. Vegetable gardens of diligence and abundance, encouragement and acceptance, freedom and wild brambly raspberries.
I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt.
From uncanny paternal resemblance and from the weight of the loss of my father placed upon my childhood. A stand in, but never a replacement.
I am from bean suppers on Saturday evenings. Cream pies, Jello salads, blue hair, and integrity and kindness.
I am from the intersection of Catholicism and Northern Baptist. Where the Trinity meets God and Jesus. Where faith meets practice.
I’m from New England, Maine, Fairfield, tourtiere pie and sticky, chocolatey whoopie pies.
From the legacy of my father’s senseless murder, my Pépère’s faintly beer-scented breath, his ever-present and lovely banjo, Hawaiian melodies, and his tender and loving soul.
I am from the cedar hope chest, tiny golden key, idyllic dreams, childhood report cards, penmanship awards, and two unlikely college graduation caps and gowns.