Joeymichelle, USA, Strong Women and Strong Memories
I must say that my memories of my childhood are great in number not because of my vast memory bank, but because of the strong women and the ties that they forged in my family unit. I come from a long line of strong willed, deeply affected Irish and Celtic women. I also grew up in the presence of my “new” family which was 1st and 2nd generation Italian women who were just as feisty and strong willed as the family I was born into. I was lucky enough to come into a family that believed in keeping together. There was always a multi-generational home somewhere along the way in which story upon story was gathered, passed down, and turned over to some new fresh face that would carry it on to the next “teller”.
Now, as I was saying, I come from a long line of strong women. When I say strong, I do not mean in physical strength, all though they could have shown me a thing or two if I had ever dared to cross them. No, these ladies were exactly that, ladies of the highest level. However, they would not take being told no, or that is not a woman’s place to heart. They, by example, taught us that even in our deepest tragedies in life that we could come out with our heads high. Men came and went in our family, some stayed long term. It was the women that were there through the thick and thin of it all and why our bonds were as tight as they were. All of our memories, all of us in our family of chaotic bliss, were built by the women who came before us. Whether it was by coaxing the dog out from under the bush that we had found at 6 o’clock in the morning, or maybe it was to help deliver the baby we had found ourselves pregnant with at a very early age. Regardless of what it was, it was one of those wonderfully feisty women that would come to our rescue.
I remember as a small child being taken to Niagara Falls for a vacation with my parents. A fairly small vacation, nothing fancy, but note worthy all the same. I remember my mother being so proud as she took me into the small museum they have at the falls, standing me in front of the replica they have of the woman in the barrel and saying, “ Do you know who that is?”. Of course I did not, so she politely told me that that had been my great aunt Annie Taylor. She had been the first woman over the falls in a barrel and had lived to tell about it. I, at the time, was utterly mortified. I wondered how far crazy went in the lineage of the family tree. As time went by however, I have come to realize that that is exactly what my family was. It was a unit of unmistakable crazy and unrelentless power of strength in the female agenda. We, as a family unit, were a force to be reckoned with and still are. We are fierce in our loyalty and strong in our bonds, in and out of family. Our memories are not just what we make of them; they are what we make of each other.