It's getting close to the end of the month, so the topics I've considered a lot more work or more personal have all been pushed to the last few days here. That said, tonight is going to be on the personal side- it is probably the number one reason that I love Fresno so much.
Both of my parents have families that have been in Fresno for generations. My Dad's parents started out in Oklahoma and moved to Madera in 1946 when my grandpa was out of the Navy, and then they moved to a house on Clovis Avenue in 1957.
My maternal Great Grandmother came to America from Russia in the Early 1900's. Our family are Volga German, a colony of Germans who lived in Russia along the Volga River. Catherine the Great brought them into Russia, promising them that they could live according to their German traditions, but when she passed the promises were no longer kept and the Germans started to immigrate to America. A large group of Volga Germans have settled in Fresno since they first arrived in 1887, and with them, my family.
My Great Grandparents Mollie (Bitter) and Jack Lust bought the land that I live on now in 1935, and started out with just a shack that was already here. Their whole house was the space of my living room, and my grandma remembers that there were gaps between the slats of wood. In time, they added on and built up the house, and it became the house I live in today in 1947. The photo I used today is of the cement in our back yard that has PB 7-46 written into it by my great grandmother's brother, Peter Bitter. We just remodeled the bathroom and found remnants of the original wallpaper behind the sheetrock, and in the cabinets, my great grandpa's signature.
Something I've heard often this month has been that people love Fresno because it is a place they chose to live out of everywhere else in the world. I'm so glad that Fresno has that same draw as a place to put down roots now as it did when both sides of my family were looking for a place to settle. My roots are so deep now that even if I were to move (gasp!) I'd never be able to fully leave, nowhere else would feel like home. I love Fresno because it is a place where generations of families stay by choice and add on to their family histories from the still bountiful Central Valley. I think it makes for a rich and beautiful chapter in my family's story.
I wanted to end today's topic with a few of the quotes from people who have decided to make Fresno their home.
Grew up in London lived in Washington DC, been to Paris Rome Madrid too many to name all..... and Fresno was my CHOICE
(Photo by me, of my concrete.)
(We named our daughter Mollie after my Great Grandma. I really wish she would have hyphenated her last name, how cool would the name Bitter-Lust have been?)
(I love hearing about how people ended up here- every family has their own story, please share yours with me in the comments!)