I live in Vermont but only recently, so I’m no Vermonter. I come originally from a small settlement in the redwoods in San Mateo County, California. My father is of California-Okie extraction, and I think my grandfather on the other side may be too, but my mom is from Oregon and she’s half Minnesota-Swede and half… Arkie or something I forget exactly where my grandfather is from, but I think he also came to California and then north to Oregon. But redwoods are my own personal point of origin and the most sacred location for me on the planet — a particular area of the redwoods too, not just all redwoods. I lived there for the first couple years of my life and then also the first few years of my adult life, with lots of visits back in between, but it made an indelible impression on my soul that I can’t describe the depth or the intensity of.
People sometimes say in some pictures that my dad looks like an old Vermonter but he’s 100% Okie/Arkie (the people who migrated to California, most famously portrayed in the book the Grapes of Wrath). Here’s some of what he wrote about the Okie migration. ”Okie” is a word that was applied both to people from Oklahoma and also Arkansas and neighboring states, so my family is both from Oklahoma and the Ozark region of Arkansas, on three sides in that general vicinity at least. The Swedes are the only outliers.
I generally say I’m part Swedish and part Southern and grew up in California. That covers everything relevant. And it feels more honest than trying to chop up all the Southerners into whatever countries they came from originally.