Happy Mother’s Day, Dad! :Stories from the 90’s

Location: Colonial Williamsburg, VA 1990’s​

Happy Mother’s Day to the ones who gave birth to you. To the ones who were your mother though they may not have birthed you. To the ones that are gender nonconforming, and are embracing who they are , whatever gender identity that is their rainbow. These are the people who are or were raising you from the time you could remember; kissing all the hidden wounds away; laughing as you mistook the word frog for another f-sounding word. Although, to be honest we all know you kept saying it because of the laughter that escaped from everyone’s lips.

I can’t say that my mother had any great impact on me and my dreams or ambitions. After, she and my father divorced in the nineties she prefered to spend her time elsewhere, not in the company of her children. These were the years I spent much time with my father. He is a historian by nature having retired from the Army as of 1992.

As a kid, my dad encouraged me to explore the world around me. “Always question. Never settle.” He would remind me as he told me his tall tales of his early Army days when he would be learning how to surf in Hawaii and caught a shark with his bare hands. He swears it’s true. As a child I believed every word and now in my thirties I am not sure what to think. I do know that my passion for travel and adventure surged from him along with stories of our human past. Most spring and summer breaks we would spend travelling around the East Coast to grand historical sites, such as Gettysburg or Williamsburg, going as far south as South Carolina. My dad has the history bug and wanted to make sure his kids possessed it.  

One of my favourite trips with my dad was when I was about twelve years old and he took my sister and I to Colonial Williamsburg on the coast of Virginia. Granted, much had changed since the colonial times; I highly doubt the colonists intended to sell sugary rock candy on sticks to the incoming tourists. I remember it being hot, muggy as the beat down from the sun in the Virginia countryside commenced. This area is basically the historic district of modern day Williamsburg, set on a private foundation that you pay to get in and explore. My dad thought this would be a well educated event for my sister and I. In a way, he was right. Of course at the time I was too enwrapped in my own pre pubescent life to quite understand and complained about the humidity most of the time. Then again, so did my little sister.

Most of the buildings located down the main street were reconstructed ideal house and office building work from the 17th thru the 19th century. There are some major artifacts and tools that the original colonists used on display. During my visit replicas were used by the players to entice visitors to step back in time to the older days before wifi and data plans. There are craftsman and their shops that line the streets along with merchants selling kitschy souvenirs to tourists.  I remember the stockades that settled on some of the paths. Tourists had the option to place their head and wrists through the wooden fixture and pretend they were under punishment for some sort of treasonist act against the king of England. My father and I stood side by side, our wrists dangling through the stockade, our backs bent as we smiled and stared at the oncoming jeers of crowds, past. Honestly, this was not one of my favourite places that I visited. This part of our country, like most parts is littered with dark, bloody moments in our history which are glossed over when you visit by sugary sweets and smiling old white ladies in powdered wigs working minimum wage. However, it was a moment. Part of my own past, part of my own stories that my father helped define in my life.

Colonial Williamsburg was a place my dad thought it necessary that I visit. I, mean, I had already traveled to Germany and California since my birth so the notion of staying in one place too long was foreign to me. My dad at least wanted me to learn a bit of history along the way. I would later travel to England and a small Airport in Italy with him before venturing out on my own. Really, on Mother’s Day I always like to wish my dad a happy one. He raised two daughters with all the awkward period and bra conversations included, who turned out to be pretty damn good. Because of my dad I am still venturing and attempting to travel the world with the company of my laptop. So this is for your dad and all the other fathers who took on the role of mother “Happy Mother’s Day!”

(…I was such a weird kid….i get the goofiness from the gentleman in question, I love you dad. Thanks for influencing my behaviour!)

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