Often when I go home to Nebraska I am reminded about the legacy that has been left for me, and also the huge part of who I am that has been shaped by growing up in the rural Midwest. I love Texas and enjoy seeing new places and often feel settled when I am in a new place for any decent amount of time. But there is nothing quite like going home. During this last visit, my grandpa showed us some old pictures of his family growing up and his siblings and their wedding pictures. He came from a family of 11 kids so there were plenty of pictures! After the visit, my dad drove my siblings and I around to see the farmland that belonged to my great-grandpa Hilkemann. He was pretty well-off for his day and a good manager. During the Great Depression he was able to buy up quite a bit of land surrounding their home place, and as each son grew up they were given a piece of land to call their own. The brothers did a lot of their farm work together. Most of the land is no longer in the family, but there is still evidence of the hard work that has gone into those acres. All of the land is just a few miles from where my family currently lives. It might not seem important to most people, but for me the fact that my family’s history is deep in the soil of Pierce County, Nebraska is amazing. This is part of me, part of where I come from and who I am. Even if my immediate family were to move off the farm or even out of Nebraska, our legacy is still there. I think that having roots like this is important for being able to go on and do new things, explore new areas. There have definitely been challenges, but I wouldn’t trade my heritage for anything.

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