When I arrived and settled into living under the anvil of the oppressive heat of California’s Central Valley near Stockton I remember looking out over the expanse of lettuce and string beans to Mt Diablo maybe forty miles away and feeling ‘the call’ of the mountain. I felt the expansiveness of the landscape and the joy of the sky so big and so wondrous.

  • Stiff Upper-Lip — meaning the poker face, never show your true emotions, especially sadness and /or grief.
  • Skin-Flint — meaning thrifty. Actually meaning getting rock-bottom prices for goods and services. I told a relative that I had a sliding scale for services rendered. They sniggered at me and asked: “Why would anybody pay more when they could ‘get away-with paying the lowest price.’?” I answered: “Because they have the ability to pay” and “because they think their worth it.”
  • Fiercely independent or self-sufficient — not asking for help, doing everything for oneself.
  • Privacy — there is an insular quality to families and a distrust of those that ask too many questions.
  • Tradition - is very important even if it is invisible and tradition is parochial within communities. Some homes and institutions were established in the 1600s giving a rich heritage and foundation in the past, and this lends to a conservative stance in all areas not just political. When I see a company that was established in 1955 I smile and think of institutions in New England established in the 1700 and 1800s. Its snobbish, I know…

My father and mother were typical New England Yankees, conservative, parochial, fiercely independent and traditionalists. My father’s liberalism was insular and came from letting me do what I wanted — explore the world the way I wanted and to learn what I wanted to learn they ways in which I wanted to learn them. He taught me to think — to reason for myself, expecting me to think like he did and when I didn’t he tried to crush me with both his intellect and his fists. Eventually through a long and uneasy truce he began to respect my stance.

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