The tradition I carry on is the desire to go home. I’m the odd ball. The first born child. My father was fresh out of the Air Force, his Associates Degree in Electronic Technology completed. My mother was a farm girl and all about her family. Jobs in Pennsylvania were hard to come by. They packed up their wedding gifts, a few dollars and moved north.

North was IBM in New York. It was a good job, and would pay more than my dad ever thought possible. He worked hard and took up golf. Dad’s happiness was mom’s hell. She wanted to go home to her family, she had a baby on the way. My baby book shows that I was born almost two months early, thwarting her plans to make me a Pennsylvania baby. I was born with no eyebrows and no fingernails, and a resident of the state of New York. Mom will admit that things improved for a few months, then, dad got laid off. They returned home, my dad embarrassed that he could not support his wife and child. My mom, thrilled they were home.

Her happiness was short lived. My dad took a temporary position that landed our small family in Maryland. He spent weeks at a time on Wallops Island working for NASA, while mom and I spent our days waiting. I learned to read, I learned to write and I learned that mom wanted to go home. I remember seeing her in tears after calling her mother. I was young, but overheard mom and dad arguing about the job, dad positive that it would eventually lead to a full time government position, the golden goose he was longing for.

My siblings were born in Maryland. I am in Maryland. Mom is in Maryland. She still lives in the same house they purchased after Dad landed the government job, and still pines away for Pennsylvania. I’ve had the chance to go back to New York, home for me, but at this moment it’s more important that I’m still by her side. It’s the tradition I’m really upholding, taking care of my family.

The bags are packed now
My upstate home is waiting
Tradition upheld

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