People often wonder about my Southern roots and how a girl from the North can also be Southern?! Well, today I’m going to be sharing a bit more about my childhood and how pieces of that helped me become who I am today. A Southern Woman living in Michigan.
The answer is kind of simple. My Mamaw lived in Virginia. My Mamaw and I have been inseparable since the moment we met, she’s one of my best friends. My Mom, Mamaw and I are referred to as “3 Bodies 1 Heart” in my family as we are so close, best friends and thrive when we’re together. Because of this connection my parents brought me down to visit my Mamaw every month. I even spent a couple of months with her in the Summers. At the time she lived in Smithfield, yes the one that’s known for the ham. But for me, it was my second home.
Always being a visual person, I would stay awake on the 12-14 hour journey to see my Mamaw and I always knew we were close when we reached the James River Bridge. This iconic bridge was always my doorway to the South and even as an adult I look forward to seeing it even though my Mamaw is now with me in Michigan. Last month on our visit my Mamaw finally brought me back to the bridge and drove back and forth on it just so I could take pictures. It was a lovely trip down memory lane for all of us and the end to a chapter in my life for me.
Watching my Mamaw remember how to get to her old house was so much fun, it was even better as we were passing fields of cotton that I remember stopping on the side of the road to pick bag fulls of when I was little. I always associated Virginia with dark green trees, going around these roads again I remembered why. Some of them literally look like a wall, yet they are just strong healthy trees. It was a sight almost straight out of the Lord of the Rings.
This house was my dream house for so many years. To this day I can literally close my eyes and walk through it as I remember it vividly. I remember playing dress up, I dream of Jeanie marathons during a hurricane, falling in the driveway, walking up to the gazebo on the water at the end of the road, climbing the staircase and most of all moments in my favorite room in the house… the pantry. I kid you not, that is always were I was found. To this day I am a sucker for an amazing pantry. This was my other home, this was where my Mamaw was and this is where I loved visiting my family.
Want to know something funny? I always walked on seashells! Stepping out of the car at one of my old stomping grounds and as soon as my feet hit the ground the biggest smile hit my face. I remembered the ground, I remembered walking on seashells…. after all, I was always a mermaid! I even remember getting lost in an enchanted garden in Portsmouth filled with fountains, flowers and of course the ground was all seashells. It’s the simplest thing to those that live there, but something that always made me smile.
There was always water. At the end of my Mamaw’s street there was water. At a restaurant they always took me to, there was water. I lived in a world filled with bridges, swimming and never having enough Vitamin Sea. This girl has always been surrounded by water and walks on seashells. My Mamaw’s neighborhood was actually just around the bend from this boat filled dock.
You see, I realized something on this last trip of mine. Even after my Mamaw moved North to be with me I kept going back to my second home state to see my extended family almost every year. I watched my younger cousins grow up and went down to celebrate moments with them. This last trip during a road trip down memory lane was heavy on my heart. It felt more like a good bye trip to Virginia. My cousins are all grown now, I’m moving on with different phases of my life so unless there is a big life event I won’t be going back anytime soon.
I wasn’t sad. It was more of a fact that God had placed on my heart. I’m actually perfectly ok with that, as I know I have different adventures heading my way. I am glad that I took the time to travel back through these sights, see the water, go over my bridge, see my second home, go past the cotton fields and I couldn’t have done it without my two best friends by my side. So to answer the question as to where my Southern roots come from, it’s from my family, my childhood and most importantly the roots are in my heart.
I’ve already had an exciting week and it’s just Tuesday! If you run into me be warned as my week will probably be filled with singing, dancing and laughter. Not to mention my random dance parties I’ve been treating myself to daily. Have a wonderful week y’all!