Shown here, my sweet Nana, harvesting corn in hardscrabble soil for the Pentecostal preacher who convinced members of his congregation to sell all their earthly possessions and follow him to a “City of Refuge” in the high desert. She was 50 years old, or close to it. Even so, she slept in a tent with my pre-teen mother, winter and summer; endured harsh conditions that shape-shifted with each passing season. But if you look closely, you’ll see my maternal grandmother’s personality, writ large. True to form, her shoulders are squared and she’s bearing her burdens with a smile.
I visited the City of Refuge during one of my “Nancy Drew” adventures. This and other discoveries–and the ways in which they intersect with my own story– are included in my memoir, CAN I GET A WITNESS?