I believe parents have stories they need to share. At 29 years old, I have finally started to grow up. I now look at other people and who they are and what they believe.
Since high school I have traveled, explored, experienced and learned many things. The stories of my life are important to me and to who I have become. So what stories do my parents have? What stories have made them who they are?
There are some stories they have shared. The spring I finished college in Chicago my father picked me up and we headed to Michigan to see my Grandma. Along a stretch of freeway my father casually mentions how he remembers biking on this road in the early seventies on his way to Colorado. He told me about traveling across Nebraska and asking to stay in people’s homes, complete strangers. That day was an eye opening day for me. How could my father, a man I had lived with for my entire life have never told me this? What other stories was he keeping from me?
My mother’s stories have always been shorter and some could say less dramatic. My mother was born and raised in west central Minnesota. Born into an Irish Catholic family she is one of 10 children. Her stories have made me grateful for all that I have. She remembers only getting socks for Christmas some years. She’s told me how Sunday night supper was the only day they got potato chips.
The greatest story from my parents is the one of how they met. My father was again traveling from Michigan to Colorado, this time in a van. His heart was set on moving to Durango. He remembers stopping in a town east of Willmar, Minnesota, where I would grow up, and buying the West Central Tribune, the area newspaper. Upon getting to Willmar, his van had problems. He found a campground at the edge of town and set up camp. In need of money, he ended up getting a job as a line cook at a restaurant. There he met my mother, nine years his junior. He still hasn’t made it to Durango, and years later he is a sport reporter and photographer for that area newspaper that he picked up.
These are the big stories I know. However, I believe there are more. So I have given both my parents a notebook. On the front page it says, “My Life Stories: A Gift to My Children.” I have asked them to find time to write down their memories. There are stories that need to be shared.
One day I hope to have children of my own. Hopefully, they will want to hear my stories and even if they don’t I am still going to tell them about the summer of high gas prices when I took a road trip to Durango, long before their Grandpa ever made it there.
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