Them Hills

I presented this piece at the State of the Ozarks Writers Artists Night earlier this summer. It was an honor to be a part of the event, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to tell a little of my great-grandmother’s story.

“Why’d you want to move to them hills?”

Grammy’s dark brown eyes crinkled with quiet laughter. My great-grandmother’s present was fading, but I was old enough at twenty-six for her to know — though not as well as she still knew the Ozark hills of her past.

It was my first trip back to California since moving to southern Missouri as a teen. Grammy had settled there in Sutter County, where my Memaw still lives, where my mother grew up and where I was born. But more than the palm trees and ponderosas, my earliest memories are populated with the living women of my matrilineal ancestry. Christmas Eve at Grammy’s. Easter at Memaw’s. Everyone at our house for my birthday. We were always together, and I knew we belonged to each other. Very early, I understood that we all came from Grammy.

Continue reading at State of the Ozarks.

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