Monday, June 29, 2015

Word of the Week - 69

Painting by Maynard Dixon.
Word of the Week:  WEST

Lucky me, I didn't have to come west.  I was already here.

As children about three years old, both of my parents moved to Southern  California with their families, my father from Illinois, my mother from Michigan.  Both families chose the midwestern sensibility of Pasadena, though my father, uncle and grandparents eventually settled on a farm in the San Joaquin Valley.  My best guess is that it more nearly matched the life my grandfather knew.  My parents met during World War II while attending the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, Mother working toward her BFA, Father there as part of his Navy Officer Candidate School.  My brother, sister and I were all born in Pasadena.

Until I heard Lucinda Williams sing this, I'd forgotten than my former and late husband, growing up in South Africa with western dreams fueled by his Yankee father and Hollywood depictions, was determined to reach California.  Newspaper work knows no geographical limits and he believed there would always be employment wherever he landed.  After reporting jobs in Virginia and New Jersey, after Army service at Ft. Knox, after the Associated Press, he claimed the West as home.   Though Lucinda's West is not California, it is close enough in spirit and allure.  I think it's a swell song.

4 comments:

Kass said...

Oh, I didn't know I liked Lucinda Williams.
Love the West. Yes. Also, just noticed the quotes on your sidebar - Pierre's and Mary's - YES!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - I don't know about you, though I could make a guess, but I learn new things every day. The way a writer or singer can take a familiar word - west - and elevate or transform it, creating a perception we may not have had. Maynard Dixon's West is a land that speaks to me, even places I've not been. One of his favorites was Utah. On my maternal grandmother's side we can trace family back to the Revolution or beyond, yet it is the ones who, much more recently, came to the West with whom I identify. xo

Kass said...

Marylinn - your excitement and curiosity with life is infectious.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Thank you. There is so much to excite us. xo