I am small and I stare at my place on the wall in our home.
When there are so many of you, you have to fight for your place sometimes, but none of us have to fight for these places. Like a grid across the wall, hovering around the one flesh from whom we each came, our names and birthdates, parents and places of origin, surrounded by the colors and shapes of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
I never knew until I was older that every barn in the world didn't have a Fraktur on its hayloft door or that covered bridges were a novelty; this was the stuff of my childhood and formative years. I didn't know that this art form was a local one with far away roots. All I knew was this was the art of my world.
In our home, this is how we begin and tell our stories: Lore Ann Ferguson, 8th day of December, North Wales, child of James and Barbara Ferguson. This is who we are.
I know it is true because I am top row, second from the left. I know it is true even when I do not feel like their offspring and when I hurl teenage insults that would wound any age. I know it is true because these eight framed prints have followed my mother to every house in which she has lived. I know it is true because even when one brother leaves us suddenly and forever, his fraktur still claims place on those walls. I know it is true when I am the recipient of a family heirloom with familiar artistry and when I pick up watercolors and paint my own folk.
Sometimes all we have left from these growing years are aged photographic memories. Studied patterns on watercolor paper. Certain that things are certain because they are written there in my mother's calligraphy.