Often, as Italians, we see America with dreaming eyes. We imagine golden trips in California, or the thousand lights in New York, or maybe the large roads of the Midwest during a trip toward the big Ovest. But America is much more than this. America, as I love to say, is many little bonfires of humanities.
In this interview in conversation with Cindy Stroud Reddick, born in Texas but now resident in Virginia, I want to tell you America from a local point of view. What means grow up in the land of the many opportunities? What means the United States for her today? And what meant for her as a child? So travel with me – and her – and learn about a different America. More human and more authentic. Enjoy!
Question: How is been grown up in Texas? What made it so special to you?
Answer: Texas will always hold a special place in my heart. I was born and raised in Texas, and so were my children. Growing up in Texas was pretty awesome. My dad and brother were constantly out Deer hunting and mom was always making some delicious meal with Deer meat.
As a family we shared common interest in things like county fairs, and Rodeo’s. I raised a Brahman Bull that my brother gave me when I was 7 years old. We eventually had to sell him at the action because he kept breaking out of the fence.
My childhood included swimming at the lakes, having a picnic with family and friends, selling candy for fund raisers, and literally sleeping under the stars. All the schools starting in middle school through high school have agriculture and many students would raise an animal and if chosen they will show that animal at the livestock show. Texas schools are big into sports, from football, baseball, volleyball, etc. I played volleyball in high school and loves it! The cheerleaders in the schools were and still are a big deal.
Texas is very laid back, especially when I was growing up. We never locked our doors and picking up a stranger was normal. Texas is like it’s own country. They do their own thing at their own pace and don’t take crap off of anyone. The logo Don’t Mess with Texas could not be more true. Texans are very proud of where they live, but they are also some of the kindest people you will ever meet. Southern hospitality is in every Texans DNA. Growing up I was always taught to say, thank you, yes ma’am, or no sir. I was taught to respect my elders and to always lend a helping hand. For this, Texas is very special to me.
Q: From your childhood, what you remember most about American living?
A: What I remember most is living a happy carefree life. As a kid I most often played outside and getting dirty was the best part. Mom would often times hose us down outside before when came in for a bath. Drinking Big Red soda was always a treat and eating Blue Bell ice cream was in every household.
Q: To me, as Italian, American life have something of magic. The suburbs, the grills on the weekends, the schools with lockers (we don’t have that!), the sports teams in every school in the country and so on. But for you is “just” your life. For what you are grateful most of all the American things?
A: I would have to say I am most thankful for America’s inclusiveness. Most American’s embrace other cultures and that is what has made America what it is today!
Q: Of all the places you have lived, towns or cities, which is most dear to your heart, and why?
A: Houston, Texas holds a special place because that is were I was raised. However, Virginia has become my home as an adult. Virginia is rich in history and has the best of both worlds, beautiful beaches along with the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Q: So: big city or little town?
A: I prefer a big city and that’s probably because I was raised in a big city. But small towns are pretty awesome too.
Q: If could be one thing you can change in America, which one would be?
A: The one thing I wish the most is for unity!
Q: Do you have a particular experience or anecdote that happened to you, that tells the American living?
A: Working hard and earning your way to me is the American life. Getting a college degree and working for an amazing company has made me feel I have accomplished the American dream. I have an excellent work life balanced career that allows me to do my job in an 8 hour day, 5 days a week, and enjoy the rest of my time for me and my family. You dream it, you can do it in America!