Where Are You From?

People ask that all the time in Miami. Personally, I hate the question. I was born near Los Angeles because my parents met at college, far from both their hometowns. I lived in Seattle until I was 8 because my father was a professor at Puget Sound. Then my dad got a job in Dallas and I lived there for many years. But that is not where I am FROM.

Honestly, I do not care where you are from. I always ask, “What do you do?” Not, “what do you do for a living,” because that is often different. But, I often have to rephrase the question to, “What do you want to do?” The follow-up is inevitably, “Why are not doing that?” But that is a different story.

Anyway, where am I from? I usually feel like I am from nowhere. Or maybe everywhere. I am from Earth, in the Solar System. in the Milky Way Galaxy, in this Universe. What else matters?

I am definitely not from where I grew up. I have almost no family there, except the sister we left behind, and her husband and kids, and I have very little in common with the prevailing attitude of the area. I do still have some good friends back there, but most of those are not childhood friends, they are from high school or later. I definitely have no “hometown” affinity for where I happened to grow up. So, what is the point of “Where are you from?”

My mother’s family is midwestern, spread out across many states. When I go there, I do feel some affinity for the place. I can see the look in my maternal relatives, you can tell these are hardy midwestern stock, and they did survive some of those hardships you see in the movies or books. And I am proud to have their blood in my veins, I think it is what gives me a lot of my perseverence.

My father’s family is southern, though sometimes it is hard to tell (there is even an Echols county in Georgia that is named after my family line). The trail of my direct surname ancestors leads down the eastern seaboard starting in 1650. My grandfather moved to Everglades City in the 1930s from the Alabama/Georgia line, with seven of his female cousins. More Echols followed into Florida and now I have literally hundreds of second and third cousings/aunts/uncles all the way from Naples to Clewiston.


So, you tell me where I am from. I do think salt water runs in my veins. I feel most at home in the Everglades, more than any other place I have been. I am definitely a water person and the ocean is one of my loves. But, even there I feel restless.

I think mostly, I am always keenly aware that I am, like every other being on the planet, stardust.

So, you ask me where I am from? I am from the stars, just like you.

22/30 #SMCSFblog

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