Gabriela Denise Frank
Tending Generations

Gabriela Denise Frank - Tending Generations

Creative Nonfiction
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Gabriela Denise Frank is the author of CivitaVeritas: An Italian Fellowship Journey. Her writing has appeared most recently in True Story, Hunger Mountain, Bayou, Crab… Read more »

Tending Generations

Gabriela Denise Frank

My mother grew Burpee cucumbers for eating and pickling, ruby red Mister Lincoln roses to pretty the table, and oblong Roma tomatoes for salads and canning. Her flowers lined the borders of our brick house—red and orange bobble-headed marigolds on one side and velvety trumpets of purple and pink petunias on the other. When she wasn’t looking, I plunged my hands into her gardening beds, chasing fat earthworms through the loam. I liked the squidgy feeling of them inching across my skin, their pointy heads yearning for the dark safety of dirt. This was suburban Detroit in the 1970s, humid and green in summer. My Uncle Buddy took me fishing for smallmouth bass off the ends of docks using my earthworm reserve held captive in one of Mom’s Ball canning jars.

Some years, she planted squash and zucchini, too. The one thing my mother never attempted to grow was lettuce. Inert, crispy heads of iceberg formed the basis of our salads, topped with oily Wishbone Italian Dressing. Lettuce came solely from the store.

At age twelve, I traveled by myself for the first time to visit Aunt Ellen, my father’s sister, in Southern California. I was enthralled by beach… Read more »