Never forget where you came from!

“Where you from? Where you from?” We have heard this question numerous times throughout our trip. In the beginning, we kind of stopped and looked at each other. Ummm…now we are “stationed” in Montreal, before that was LA, before that, Chicago, before that DC, before that….. Geesh- we’ve been around! But when someone asks us “where you from?” – we think they won’t know Racine, they might have heard of Milwaukee but know Chicago so we settle on that answer. “Where you from?” is an important question. If gives someone an insight (be it ever so small- into who you are.)
Jesse and I grew up Racine -a city in Wisconsin which is on Lake Michigan. We grew up with some brutal winters, hot, muggy summers, an annual fishing contest called Salmon-A-Rama, working class parents, public schools (we started dating in high school) and we drove old cars. We also grew up with good values. Being a good person meant something then and still means something today. Of course there are self centered, image conscious people everywhere in the world and I’m sure there are some in Racine, but all of our people are ‘good to the core’ type folk. If you need help with something, they will help you. If you need to drink lots of beer and talk about life, you can always find that, too!
(Interesting little factoid: some cultures view kindness as weakness. So the more conniving and dishonest you are, the more successful you will most likely be. Yuck!!!)
This past summer, my brother Jeff, called from a house party going on to tell me there was killer music and dancing. Friends and family had gathered to raise money for a family to pay for a gravestone for a young woman who had died earlier that year from cancer. Her nickname was Boo. While at the ‘fundraiser’ I stood in awe of all the people gathered to laugh, dance, hug and to remember, but also to give any money they could spare to help this family out. Mind you, this is not a wealthy community and people can’t just whip out their checkbooks to write a check whenever they’d like. (Incidentally, they did raise enough money for a nice headstone AND extra money that was donated to a children’s cancer fund. Wow!)
It made me so proud of where I come from. People like this are real and they expect you to be the same. They could care less what car you drive or what clothes you’re wearing. Fancy crap does not impress – it just makes spotting people with insecurity issues that much easier. There is little to prove when you are comfortable with who you are.
So back to the party where we were welcomed by Boo’s dad, Mark, who gave me a big hug as if he had known me for years and thanked us for coming. Boo’s sister handed out strength beads which people had made for Boo to hold on to while battling cancer. I took mine along with us on our adventure and I think they have proven to be quite lucky!
They remind me of her, of her dad, of our friends and family in Racine, of where we come from, but (most importantly) they remind me of why I will never tolerate people that don’t treat everyone the same from the bottom to the top.
In the places I’ve loved the most- the people have been like that- warm, good, welcoming, ‘take us or leave us’ type people who treat everyone the same because that is the right thing to do. Good people just seem to know that.
Wherever you are, Boo, thanks for the beads!

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Categories: kim rambling | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Never forget where you came from!

  1. dawn cuadra

    Thank you Kim and Jessie, for taking me along for all your travels. I loved the pictures, and Kim, you’re natural story teller. Let me know if you all go on another trip, I’d like to read along with you all. Glad you are all home safe. love you all

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