I love genealogy. It fascinates me to find that my father’s family has been on this continent since before the Revolutionary War, or to learn that my maternal great-grandparents were first-generation Americans whose Danish parents taught themselves English by reading the newspaper and doing crossword puzzles.
But the fact is, I am neither Irish nor Danish. I have never been to those countries. I don’t speak their languages. The most tangible legacies I’ve inherited are a love of Guinness and aebelskiver (not atthe same time, please).
I could say I’m a middle-class white American woman in her 30s, but that probably doesn’t tell you much about me either.
You might get a better sense if I told you that I’m a mom, that I’m from the Pacific Northwest, that I have a college education, and that, by local standards anyway, I’m moderate- to liberal-leaning, politically.
But that’s still not me, not really.
As humans, we divide, classify and describe ourselves in so many ways. Some are meaningful; some, not so much.
What I love about being a writer is that I don’t have to depend on those classifications. I get to delve into the stories of individuals.
And let me tell you, everyone has a story to tell.
Those Irish and Danish ancestors in my past? Individually, some were pioneers, some adventurers, some zealots, some drunkards. They were artists, teachers, lumberjacks and farmers. They were people — loving and imperfect and fascinatingly, individually human.
They had great stories, and so do the many alumni and students who appear in this issue of Pacific magazine. We set out to find people from a wide variety of backgrounds, to explore who they are, what makes them individual, and what unites them here at Pacific University.
What we found, more than anything, is that they are here because they felt a connection, because they felt welcome, no matter where they came from or who they are.
And that, I think, is a great story.
Jenni M. Luckett
Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org