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October 18, 2017

8/9/2017 11:22:00 AM
Musings -- On the editor's mind
Ken Stern

Since coming to La Conner I have truly learned what being rooted means. Whether Gail Thulen telling me that when his grandson graduates from WSU and comes home he will be the family’s sixth generation farmer or Bobbi Krebs reflecting on her grandmother’s coming around 1903, or hearing Wallaces remember their family’s arrival that same year, clearly Skagit Valley roots run deep. Across the country these are classic American stories.
My American story couldn’t be more different. Yet it is just as classical. I haven’t been in La Conner two months and have not lived 10 years anywhere since childhood. And that is my family’s story.
Not so much footloose as not grounded, my New York City parents met at a Seventh Day Adventist college in Tennessee. Winding up in Toledo, they raised a family. They then retired to Arizona.
Their children have followed that one-generation-and-out example. My four siblings are scattered from California to Virginia.
Who’s more American? A better recognition is that we have different American stories. Wherever any of us fit in the crazy, colorful patchwork quilt that covers our country, it is still our country.
Like siblings, we may fight each other under the quilt, but when we emerge we remain family.
Or we don’t. The choice is ours every generation.

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