Some stories are longer than others. Some known and "read" by lots of people. Some more typical and less well-known.
Where a person's story begins usually makes quite a difference. Take my story for example. Mine started in this frame house that my parents bought in Spokane, Washington. Back in the late 1940s, this house was brand new and located in a very nice part of town.
When I came home from Sacred Heart Hospital in January 1950, it was to this house in this neighborhood.
My father had a good job with the County of Spokane. My mother was able to stay at home and care for me. I lived in this very comfortable house, in this very welcoming neighborhood for almost three years. My folks enjoyed friendships there that have lasted a lifetime.
When I was three, my parents moved back to Texas where their families lived. I asked my dad recently (he is still going strong at 86 and has been married to my mother for over 66 years!) why they left such a beautiful place to come back to the heat of Texas.
He replied that I was the cause for the move and the timing. He explained that they wanted to resettle before I began school and that they wanted me to be able to grow up around our extended family.
All are details of the beginning of my story.
I took the photo above about a month ago when I made it back to my place of beginnings. It was the first time I had been back in over 53 years.
The house was still in great shape. The giant pine tree that my dad planted in the front yard fifty-plus years ago must be over 100 feet tall today.
As I took it all in, it hit me again that my story, from the very beginning, has been one filled with opportunity, amazing privilege and great advantage.
I can claim no merit in my story's beginning.
It just happened to me. It was given, not earned or justified.
One thing I know for certain: not everyone is so fortunate.
It is extremely important for me to embrace my story and to recognize the truth of its various dimensions. It is essential for me to recognize that my great advantage has relatively little to do with my effort, hard work or personal decisions. As a matter of fact, much about all of those things flow out of my beginnings, and the way my world responds to people who start like me.
If the game of life is like a 100 yard dash, my starting line was at about the 85-90 yard marker.
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Rising from Ashes
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
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