So my best friend came down to NC to visit me and the baby. So here we are, two Southie girls, reminiscing about the crazy times growing up in Boston while laughing at the oddities of being in a small town. Hanging out and catching up was absolutely fantastic, and the only way to add a little more excitement to the visit was to road trip, of course! We get the baby ready and hit the road.
Driving from Roanoke Rapids to Greensboro took about 5 hours total and the things we saw along the way were stunning. Whenever I would fly across America, I would stare, fascinated, out the window at the farmland and green landscape below. Now, I was driving through. It is hard to describe the intense feeling I had while I was looking out the window- awe at the purity, confused by the simplicity, stunned at the beauty, irritated by the vacancy, on and on. We drove by some of the greenest fields, knowing they would only become more green and beautiful as they grew. We also drove by some of the strangest, and very scary, skeletons of buildings. Nevermind the big, beautiful plantation manors; the remnants of these structures had me wondering the most.
By the edge of the road and in the middle of fields were these wooden shacks and brick buildings. The walls had rotted, bricks had been knocked down, and what remained were the hulls of what once would have been where people lived; slave houses. It's so weird being down South; I mean really down South and really weird. Here we are, two city girls, driving by the fields that make and nurture America as she is today; driving by the homes of the people who made America what it was. My little mixed baby is in the back seat and I can't help but think of the stories her father told me about his Grandma Gran, the slave. She was a slave. What? I'm first generation, but my little baby has direct slave ancestry and I am driving through their land. My mind was spinning and I could not stop looking.
Horses and cattle were out to graze, and I was thinking how I would love my daughter to take advantage of her surroundings and learn about farming and animals when she gets older. But, what would it be like for her to do these things knowing that a few generations before her, her family was forced to do the things I would like her to experience just to become a well rounded person? I had great opportunities when I was younger, fulfilling the dreams of my immigrant family, but my daughter is mixed and has a long history in America. This stuff is crazy.
Our road trip to Greensboro was great and the drive back was just as interesting as the drive there. Then, the next day we saw on Google that there was a town called South Boston in Virginia. Um, hello, of course the two girls from South Boston, MA are going to visit South Boston, VA! So we did. That drive through the farmlands was very similar to and equally as interesting as our first trip. This time, however, we found a real plantation with GPS. We went there and it was eerie. The home was gorgeous, so grand and neat, and it seemed simply perfect. What made this visit memorable was actually the slave house. It was located on the edge of the property and we walked along the long stone wall that we knew the slaves built. We saw their large, wooden home, now overgrown by various grasses and weeds, and saw their tired eyes staring back at us in the black and open windows left behind. I asked my best friend if souls really can linger. She said that with all she know from the Bible, death ends the suffering of this world and they should go on to the places they will inhabit after this life. But, with all the incrdible evil that had been concentrated in specific places, demonic presences can dwell there. Slave houses in America.
Wow, these things are just around the corner from where I live now. My best friend and I picked cotton from the fields by my house and kind of laughed a bit about it. Then we saw the larger fields, the plantation homes, and the slave houses. Real world.