Mary E. Fitzgerald
Some people cook. Some people do craft projects or scrapbook. But when I need to hide out and recover for a while I close myself inside my house and fix things. Maybe I try to fix things that can’t be fixed sometimes, but I can at least try, and it’s what I do.
I grew up in a large Catholic family in a rural town in Indiana. Where I grew up was no longer just farm country but an emerging upscale suburb. So some of my friends were homegrown farm kids whose dads dusted crops and drove school buses to supplement the farm income and some were the sons and daughters of up-and-comers, and by that I mean that their dads wore suits and carried important looking papers in brief cases, and their moms wore matching shoes and purses and attended luncheons.
My dad, on the other hand, was straight-up blue collar. And my mom was a grown-up version of one of those homegrown farm kids who ran off to the city when she was 17 and never looked back. So I guess you could say she spent a lot of time in limbo between those two worlds which is probably why we were in limbo most of the time, too. I never knew if I was blue collar or white collar, college bound or Career Center material.
We had classic cars on blocks in the backyard and ate meatless Friday dinners. It was all amazing and confusing and fun. We had all the freedom of running wild through the fields until dark, and all the pressures of trying to fit in to the community by being the best athlete or student or Future Farmer of America.
I was none of those things, but I was the best curser out of all the 5th grade girls at my school and the fastest runner–which came in handy when I was cursing at (or in front of) the wrong person. I don’t think I’ve changed very much from that girl, but I don’t think many of us change much from our 10-year-old selves, really.