While growing up in the 1950s and 60s, I heard the American Dream to be: own a home protected by a white picket fence. Why white I ask myself? A symbol of the white supremacy we continue to dismantle, struggling with its partner, patriarchy. Being a white woman who has owned two houses consecutively, and now lives in an apartment I love, an 1840s house broken into four apartments, I wonder what is my American dream.
I have been lucky enough to grow up in Ithaca is Gorges, NY, whose parents both served in WWII – my dad leaving his native land, Germany, to fight as a US citizen against Hitler, recently learning he was a Ritchie Boy – a soldier being of Austrian or German recruits, who become secret military intelligence officers, trained at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, who were “integral in gathering counterintelligence that helped secure victory for the Allies in WWII”(google.)
I doubt it was dad’s dream to fight for the freedom we cherish in America, leaving his six siblings and parents behind at age 17, eventually to raise three children with the American girl he fell in love with, his nurse on the ship Huddleston returning from WWII, she being pregnant by rape in Bremerhoffen, Germany. Was its dad’s dream to adopt me? Probably not – but he chose to love me, equally to his two children born after me.
I couldn’t have asked for a more (amour😊) loving dad, tears leaking as I write this sentence. I never tire of writing of this dream that came true for me: Dad’s love.
Which I pay forward by advocating for over 30 years, to teach a Healthy Relationship Skills Course at the local high school – knowing that healthy parenting education is how we can EVOLve toward LOVE that will end spanking (hitting) our children, or telling them: don’t talk back, stop crying or go to your room, big boys and girls don’t cry, or do as I say, not as I do.
I woke up this morning, April 15th, thinking and feeling I am living the American Dream, remembering how special I felt yesterday, when I hung up two 5×7 photos either hidden in a corner or in a drawer, of my two beautiful daughters as teenagers, (now 49 and 52) over the kitchen sink, reflecting a gargantuan smile on my face as I wash dishes.