I am from glowing, late night campfires, from Coppertone sunscreen and colorful thread bracelets that rested across my thin wrists.
I am from the winding pavement of Riford Road, but that home isn’t what made me. I was made by the ceaseless games of capture the flag and the smoky haze of fireworks on the 4th of July, the sleepless slumber parties and the heart shaped waffles that followed the next morning.
I am from the beaches of Lake Michigan and the sand that sparkles like millions of jewels in the sun. With our sticky hands covered in chocolate ice cream and the melodic cadence of waves crashing into shore, erasing our names that we wrote in the sand with our chubby fingers.
I am from ultra competitive poolside games of Uno, and generations of people who either can’t say no or refuse to say yes. From Betsy and the black and white pictures that cover the walls of her home to her age-old family recipe for chocolate chip cookies. From Cullen’s bookshelf that towers over even the tallest of men, each novel packed next to each other like a can of sardines. From Jack, who’s childhood torment turned me into the person I am today, a little bit tougher and a little bit stronger.
I am from the family reunions which are less of a reunion and more of a debate, every one of us desperately trying to speak the last word. From the tough, stone cold stubbornness that each of us possess like a small voice in the back of our minds egging us on.
From mantras of “It could be worse” and the “It will always get betters.”
I am from sugary cinnamon buns on Christmas morning, muddled by the laughter of all my cousins and the cheesy carols playing over the radio.
I'm from the quaint, colorful streets of Charlevoix and the shops full of salt water taffy and their wax paper wrappers that litter the ground. A melting *** of freckled Scots and dark-haired Dutchman, all with the same wide, toothy grin. From the gooey gobs of marshmallow that stain our hands late at night, mixing with a crackling fire and waves slamming against the shore, the stars above us gleaming even brighter than the light radiating from our smiles.
From jumping into ice cold swimming pools in the middle of October, my brother by my side. With our skin freckled with goosebumps and our bones chilled to the core, we splashed and laughed until our bodies were numb and our parents forced us to get out. From the lazy summer afternoons that turned into starry nights. From jumping shoulder to shoulder into the deep rivers of Montana, our laughs suffocated by the frigid water as we ricocheted downwards.
I am from the small cardboard box sitting on the musty floor of our basement, teeming with memories captured at the other end of a camera. Sepia pictures of my grandmother when she was no more than three years old with her white parka and oil black hair, looking into the lens like she was seeing the entire world. Photographs of my mother at the same age as me, her eyes overflowing with optimism and a smile made of gold, all too similar to my own.
a longer piece.