There's No Place Like . . .
Most people are able to look back on their life and see a particular place as "home". Some part of their existence has ingrained itself into a geographic locale. Everybody has somewhere they "go way back," and no matter what happens they can close their eyes and imagine it in their mind's eye.
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is able to return home to Kansas after clicking together her ruby red slippers and wistfully saying: "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." The whirlwind may have taken her away from her familiar place, people, comforts, but it didn't destroy her idea of home; she had it in her all along. Dorothy had a pretty good idea of what she was asking for so wistfully when she clicked those heels together: Kansas was and is all she knew.
Dorothy never knew how lucky she was.
Growing up, I never knew that feeling of "home"; the tornado was metaphoric. My parents were hippies, of a generation that technically didn't and couldn't "know" any better. My dad was born and raised in Southern California. Although my grandmother did her best to raise him with the Mormon Pioneer values she'd grown up with, she was essentially a single parent as my grandfather was serving his country. My dad was the second-born, a mischievous child who grew up as a friend of the Beach Boys.
My mother was from an East coast family. As a young woman, she was a cheerleader who'd been crowned "Miss New London." But something (the 60's) happened to turn her flower child. She roamed with the wind, attended Woodstock and followed the Beatles around London.
They met in Las Vegas.
In true au nautrel hippie form, my mother gave birth to me at home, on the floor of our home in Las Vegas. There were no midwives, no doctors, just her and me. It was a Sunday morning, and my father had to leave to get white thread to "cut" my umbilical cord. As the story goes, he couldn't find white thread, and when he got back home with the only kind of thread he could find, I was already born.
The first three or so years of my life were spent in Las Vegas, during which I acquired two siblings -- brothers. I don't really have any memories of that time of my life, but there are a few pictures: in nearly all of them, my mother is with child, and we are all smiling, happy. There was one particular photo of me and my little brother, Steve, we had our arms around each other, and lets just say that not all of our house plants in the background of that photo were entirely legal.