Back stories

Saturday, daughter Quinn and I drove 90 miles north to Bellingham for a baby shower for my niece. Baby Eliza Mae is due to arrive on March 28, 3 days before my grandma’s birthday. That got me to thinking about family and bloodlines and such. I come from a long line of strong, smart, beautiful women. My darling aunt Mary Lou (in the teal v-neck) is the kindest woman you could ever meet. It takes a lot to make her angry. The only time I ever saw her lose her temper was when my grandma was in hospice and a visiting nurse made a big deal of the fact that my aunt was only 15 years younger than Grandma. That nurse will never do that again! Auntie Lou recently had shoulder surgery and she says she’s doing great except for the fact she has to lift her right arm with her left to eat or drink. Now, me, I’d think that was one huge inconvenience. She just smiles and shakes her head.

The other bookend in this photo is my Auntie Alix. She’s the baby of the family. When she was born, her big sisters took a pact to take good care of her and they have never failed in that. Alix was an amazing nurse, working an ICU unit (night shift) for a bajillion years. She’s the family go-to-girl for recipes and health care questions.

In the middle is my favorite Brown girl: my mom. When I was little, my grandma kept Mom’s high school graduation photo on her dresser. I saw it one day and said, “That’s my mom. Isn’t she beautiful?” And she is. If you looked up “kind” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of my mom. When we were growing up, our friends were always welcome at our house, for a meal or for a month. She could never turn away a stray, two-legged or four-legged. She *only* had a high-school education which kept her from advancing in her job, but that didn’t stop her former employer (a big retailer that I will never, ever shop at in my life) from having her train the twerps who became her managers. She’s smart, witty and writes so much better than me it’s not even funny. But she never had a cheerleader like the one she’s been for me so she doesn’t believe she can write. Karma is delicious, however: she’s been the topic of more than one paper for her college-age grandchildren. And, if you met her, you would walk away and never, ever know she was legally blind.

I can’t trace my lines to the Mayflower; I don’t come from fancy pedigrees. But I am honored that I come from strong, good women who may not make headlines but they have made huge differences in the lives of so many.

With material like this, I have stories to tell for the rest of my life!

Who do you celebrate and honor in your work? Whose stories are you hoping to tell?