This is the story of a girl, the youngest of 4 born in Oregon in 1976. The little girl was born to a German immigrant mother and a father from a Oklahoma farming family. The little girl spent summers on her grandmother’s hazelnut orchard (filberts, to us locals) in the fertile Willamette Valley helping tend the massive garden, can and process food and the most dreadful chore of all-collecting the fruit and nuts from the trees. It was a family affair and nobody could escape, no matter how creative the children got with their arguments. During the school year they were expected to maintain good grades and help with their fathers business (tax accounting) by cleaning, stuffing envelopes and door-to-door flier drops and later filing and office duties. Now, don’t think that the little girl spent her whole youth working. She lived in a wonderful neighborhood full of young families and had many friends to play with when she was done with her chores.
The little girl had a bit of a problem. She was born with this condition – maybe you’ve heard of it – called strong will. She got it from her father. It’s effects are intense throughout the lifespan, but can be particularly dangerous during the adolescent years. Yes, she went through some trying times, as did her parents, during those years. The little girl managed to pass, unharmed for the most part, through those years. Much to her dismay, her condition has been passed to her first born daughter, a fact that is frequently discussed at family gatherings.
She became a young adult, publicly educated and ready to enter the world. Unfortunately, she had spent little time preparing for this transition and didn’t quite know what to do. So she did what many young adults do in similar situations-she got a job, some roommates and PARTIED!! Yes, those were fun times for the girl. Sadly, her job couldn’t accommodate her life style so it had to go. Two years later (and about $20,000 in credit card debt) the girl decided it was time for a change. She downsized her extravagant lifestyle, took two jobs and worked very hard. After about a year and a half she managed to pay off the debt and save enough for a congratulatory backpacking trip to Europe.
During that year and a half the young lady spent much of her time at her mother’s house (free food!). It was a newly built house, in a recently cleared area and there was a great deal of construction activity going on in the area. One day the young lady decided to see how much Spanish she could remember from her high school years. She started a conversation with the construction workers next door. Among them was one, a very persistent fellow from the central highlands of Mexico. This man was new to the country, he had been here for only a few months and didn’t yet speak the language very well at all. He did, however, play the guitar. Now, the girl hadn’t noticed this particular fellow yet. You see, her Spanish was not very good and she spent most of the “conversations” talking with the fellows who already spoke English asking them how to say this and that. One afternoon, during his lunch break, the persistent young man came to the mothers front porch and started to play a song for the girl. It was a song that the girl happened to be quite fond of. After that, he told her that she had “eyes beauty” and asked for her phone number.
The girl and the fellow quickly became inseparable. She taught him American customs and language, he gave her music, dancing and a love for Mexican food and cooking. A few years later the couple married. The girl decided that being a lover of culture and adventure, she had better learn his language to be able to communicate with his family. The girl, now a woman, went to the university and learned to read and write Spanish. She learned to speak it and truly understand it from the young man and from many trips to his mother’s house in his hometown.
A few months after graduation, the woman had a baby, a little girl Dolores. She was (and continues to be) a spirited little girl. Fifteen months later, little Junior was born. A quiet baby, Junior has always been a lover and still refuses to get out of his mama’s bed. Eighteen months later little Maria came and along with her was born a strong faith in God. The young woman still struggles to identify herself with a particular religious sect, but her faith was cemented by the miraculous birth of Maria. The family was completed with the birth of Moises.
The woman now spends much time in contemplation. There are still many adventures to come. She is humbled by the awesome opportunity and responsibility of cultivating her own (albeit small) legacy. She looks forward to each day that her children are still young and innocent, for those times pass quickly and are never relived.