Saturday Story Time: Question: “Where are you from?” Answer: “My mother”

Saturday Story Time: Question: “Where are you from?” Answer: “My mother”

I am not really good with small talk, cocktail conversations, polite questions about my life from someone who does not really give a crap.  One such conversation starter is the question “Where are you from?” It is a generally benign question that you answer with some city or state and then they either pursue it because they have, or have not been there, or they know someone who has been there, or they wait for you to ask them this very politically correct question of them.  It is not a bad question and if you are my mom it is more important than anything else you could possibly tell her because she can find not only some connection with you because of where you are from, but probably knows some of your family, friends, or their dogs, by name and life story.

I however do not play the game very well.  We moved a few times and I am never sure what people really want to hear.  Are they asking because they actually want to know? Or are they asking because it is what you say when you meet someone.  I tried a few times to be vague with “all over”, I tried to just say the place I lived last, but finally about 12 years ago I decided to answer with “My Mother.”  This usually gets an uncomfortable laugh, a confused stare, or genuine interest.  Then I know how to proceed.  If I get the uncomfortable laugh, I smile and say, “just kidding, where are you from?”  If I get the confused stare I might respond with a “aren’t you?” or a “thats a long answer, and I need to get a drink”

On the odd occasion I get the genuine interest, I am willing to tell my story.  It goes something like this.  I was born in Fargo, North Dakota, but I do not claim that state as I was only there for three weeks out of the womb and remember nothing.  We moved to Tacoma, Washington and rented a small house there until our home in Gig Harbor, Washington was built.  I lived in that house for about ten years, but spent one of those years in Trondheim, Norway. The summer before my 6th grade year we moved from our small ‘fishing village’ to Chappaqua, New York.  This was the hardest move of any I have ever made.

After staying in Chappaqua for five years, we moved again just before the start of my junior year in high school, to Hershey, Pennsylvania.  I graduated from Hershey and went to college in the small town of Elkins, West Virginia.  Two years into my liberal arts degree I dropped out and ran away to clown college in Venice, Florida.  In the meantime, my parents had moved to Prospect Heights, Illinois where I joined them to start my clowning business.

One year later I met the man of my dreams and moved to Chandler, Arizona where he was living.  After the hottest summer of my life, our engagement was called off and I moved Aspen, Colorado to lick my wounds.  He lasted about ten months away from me, came to his senses, and that is where we got married.  One year to the day of our wedding, we moved to Laguna Hills, California.  From here it was a quick jump down the Pacific Coast Highway to San Clemente, California.

With a one year old boy now joining us, we moved to the daylight basement of my sister Kathi’s house in Federal Way, Washington.  Almost two years later and with a brand new  baby girl we moved to Rocklin, California.  I am now thirty and I have lived in fifteen different cities, two countries, and ten different states.  When we moved to Bend, Oregon I was done.  We were now a family of six and Scott and I wanted them to experience the stability of growing up in one town, and God willing live in the same house until they graduated from high school. We are now three years away from that dream becoming a reality.  When they are asked “where are you from?” It will be an easy answer, “Bend, Oregon” but knowing my son Isaac’s sense of humor, he might just stay with “My mother.”


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