I grew up in Northern California, Albany, Berkeley, and Oakland. My Mom was born in Old Hickory, Tennessee, lived in Kentucky and then eventually moved to Michigan. My Dad was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts and eventually moved to San Francisco when he was about 14. My parents met on a blind date in San Francisco and were married 3 months later. My Mom was raised Southern Baptist and my Dad was raised Jewish. They were married in my Aunt Bernice's living room.
I am so grateful to both of them for how they raised me. They raised me to have respect for other people's faiths and beliefs. They took our family to different churches and synagogues around the Bay Area. We went to an Episcopalian Christmas Eve service where the Priest swirled the incense in a beautiful silver container.
We went to Glide Memorial United Methodist Church and heard the wonderful choir sing. Reverend Cecil Williams gave the sermon. My parents instilled in me, what I remember as "The Golden Rule." that is to
"Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated."
As an adult I lived in the Bay Area, and then moved to Georgia when I re-married. I lived in the Atlanta area for about 21 years. I learned so much about my Mom from living in the south. Now I live in Western Massachusetts, and am learning so much about my Dad.
My Dad passed away about 25 years ago. He never knew that I moved to Georgia. I think he would have been thrilled that I lived in Atlanta and also that I am in Massachusetts.
My Mom has had Alzheimers for the last 6 years. Mom did like to come visit us in Georgia. She does not know that I moved to Massachusetts. Alzheimers works that way.
Something dawned on me the other day:
I have been listening to an album by James Taylor from 1970, "Sweet Baby James."
My parents played this record in our living room every weekend. Flash forward:
I am so happily surprised to know now that I live in "The Berkshires"
"Now the first of December was covered with snow
So was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
Though the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting."
I feel like this song time traveled from when I was a child to now. James Taylor lives in The Berkshires too. (my son-in-law told me once, that I might see him at a coffee shop.)
For my Mom, the song, "Country Road " "Take to the highway....mama don't understand it." My Mom had a very challenging relationship with her mother and left home at 18. She worked in Michigan and then moved cross country to San Francisco where she worked as a ticket agent for TWA.
November makes me nostalgic and grateful for many things. Although neither one of them know that I listen to "Sweet Baby James", each time I do, I think of them and am filled with love.