I skip across the bleached grass to Anita’s farm. The rotted wooden gate sinks into my 7 year old left hand as my right fingers wrestle with the shorn fibers of the rope knot holding the door closed. I try for 3 minutes clumsily finally opening the door. My grandmother is superstitious and last week switched my dominant hand from left to right.
“In Deutschland ist das pech ( In Germany it’s bad luck to be left handed)”.
Where is my grandfather, Opa Jahn? I see a tiny litter of wet kittens in the crevice of the doorway entering the main house. A familiar scent of warm bread washes over me and I remember it is near lunchtime. He should be here. I tentatively step past the kittens into the hallway leading to the kitchen. Scattered items greet my mottled bare feet; an empty mixing bowl, remnant of a wet unreadable piece of paper, something unidentified and sticky. Finding nothing I turn back across the room, across the farm and enter the pathway leading to my foster home. The slight smell of early lilacs lies in the front garden. As the path carries me to the back of the house chickens arrive at my feet, lingering appreciating my company and indicating that no one else was home. Ensconced in the middle of the back porch I look toward the small country home.
Years later I see a frayed black and white picture of my aunt holding an infant I learn is me.
I realize how long this has been my home. And the drivingly deep roots of my European ancestry.