Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm Under a Lot of Pressure Here

So here's the problem. I have an amazing family. Really. Both sides. And it's not just that they were smart and strong and brave and entrepreneurial. It's that they participated in practically every American story I know.

They came in the 1600s, they also came as slaves. They were in Salem for the witch hunt, they hid women in their houses. They were abolitionists and Quakers. They were Indians and indentured servants. They manned the Industrial Revolution. They worked the Pullman cars through the Depression. Impossibly, they were black and owned land in the Jim Crow south. They came from Jamaica in gloves and high cheekbones. They built the first V-8 car. They abandoned the south in the Great Migration. They owned Harlem night clubs when jazz burned up Lenox. They dated Sugar Ray Robinson while he was the champ. They drank with the Rat Pack, they dined with the Kennedys. They were black stenographers before there were white ones. They sold Volkswagons. They had printing presses. They were hippies, the real kind. They may or may not have worked for the CIA.

That's a lot, right? To me, it feels like a lot. It feels like my father with every black narrative and my mother with every white one met and married and brought the wild threads of all of their histories together into two little kids with the blood and the stories of the whole goddamn country in their veins.

Do I sound like I'm bragging? I don't mean to. I'm just trying to tell you that these days when I sit down to write ghosts from all over the country and all over time come to stare over my shoulder at my blank computer screen. My brother is dead, see. So all their hopes are riding on me.


Robin said...

Wow....and wow....more, please!

Cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
didi979 said...


Sweetie, all any of us really wants is the happiness of the clan . . . all of the children, all of the generations - what's important is contentment and happiness. I am positive that this is the real truth.

You have no idea how each of you is loved - that's all there is to it - it doesn't REALLY matter what any of you do, or don't do. We love you.

Auntie Di

Sallie said...

hey all you ghosties jump in and give this girl a hand!

Robin said...

...these extraordinary women in your family....these generations coming together....Di is right.....you are so very loved....and it's all that matters...