PHOTO: Here I am as a cutie putie in Oak Ridge, TN.
The LuLu Chronicles
Some of you may remember the blockbuster mini-series that aired on television in the middle 70s, Roots. It was author, Alex Hailey’s account of his ancestry beginning with the capture of his great-great-great grandfather, Kunta Kinte, in Africa. It was a fascinating story that had us all running to discover our own roots and family trees.
For the last few days, I’ve been seeped up to my hairline in my own story. I was born six years after the Japanese surrendered to President Truman—an act that was precipitated by our country dropping atomic bombs on two of their cities. The uranium and plutonium that made those bombs so devastating were mixed and made in the city of my birth, Oak Ridge—a city that was built for that purpose and that purpose only.
As I explored Oak Ridge this past week, all sorts of memories flooded over me: the backyard I captured fire flies in with a mason jar; the house where I made mud pies and cooked them on my little metal toy stove; my first grade classroom where my first boyfriend, Bobby, sent me a note asking me if I would be his girlfriend, check ‘yes’ or ‘no’. (With my mother’s approval I checked ‘yes’.) The memories kept washing over me. Everywhere I looked I felt my fingerprints could visibly be seen, left by a child who once romped in this place.
While my childhood was filled with mostly happy memories, there are some dark ones that loom just to the side—memories that once tried to hold me captive. Fortunately, I broke free of those many years ago, but coming back to Oak Ridge made those old scars tingle a bit.
The mix of happiness and sorrow is a strange one. Most of our histories are made up of both. The good news is that we get to choose which one will reign and form us. By the grace of God, and I mean that literally, I chose happiness and used it to beat down the sorrow with a big stick.
Next week, I’m back home in Wisconsin and finally LuLu and I will be reunited. I’ve got some catching up to do, much to the chagrin of the Fake Knee and cowgirl. See ya’ll back at home.