From “Under the Birch Tree”

The blueprints tell me the once new house would never be as it was in 1964. The thin white lines drafted on blueprint are no longer virginal. The floors have been released of their coverings and footprints are disintegrated into the now thin air. The furniture has been relocated out of the house to new rooms and inhabitants are sitting elsewhere. I tried to discover a heritage, should there be one, from letters or notes or even scraps of paper. I knew of only one grandmother, my mom’s mother. My remaining memory of Agnes is of her sitting in a black Naugahyde rocking chair in our family room in front of the television watching The Price is Right while peeling an orange and then carefully placing the oily citrus skins in a neat pile on an unfolded white paper napkin in her lap. I have no ancestry trail from which to draw because there weren’t many followers to begin with. My mother was the only daughter of two children in her family, my father, the only son in his, which I know of.

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