Where I’m From

My daughter, Shannon, did this prompt a few years ago at college. It was powerful, reading history from her perspective. This evening, I stumbled upon a post at She Loves Magazine with a few examples. I was moved again, this time reading words from people I’d never met and marveling at the richness of a life.

And I saw the directions for the prompt.

I thought I’d give it a try.

If you’d like to respond in kind, you’ll find the directions here.

I am from so much…and I am grateful for it all.

Eric, Mom, me, Dad

I am from a Baldwin piano, layered with four decades of my fingerprints
from my mom’s green jewelry box
and stainless steel cookware
and green bakelite bowls.

I am from a house-in-town
to a split level in the country
to a mini-bike through the window
from a clothesline
from a kitchen that waits to be filled
from chicken and rice simmering on the stove.

I am from cool Pennsylvania grass,
a blanket for my imagination;
from Stone Road
from my ten-year old skin and bones stretched out on the asphalt
smelling the rain steaming off the pavement.

I am from Big Rock, half a mile behind the house,
covered in woods, hiding my imagined Indian warriors.
I am from the stump buried in the trail that threw me from the mini-bike,
and then never again
I am from learning to look for the things that would keep me from success
and mostly winning.

I’m from Merle Haggard and the Beach Boys
and harmony in the car
and around the fire.
I’m from meat, potatoes and green vegetables.
I’m from the sour taste of buttermilk, spit across the table.

I’m from my brother and his imagination
and my mother and her ability to string thread into garments of glory
and my father as he drove outoftown every Monday to return on Thursday.
I’m from very superstitious, don’t watch him drive away because he might not come back.

I’m from a wild, excess of Christmas
and spendthrift virtue eleven other months of the year.

I’m from you can be anything you want
and from you can’t be what the boys can be
and from good thing you’re so smart
because, God bless you, you’re homely.
I’m from Old Shep and A Boy Named Sue
and don’t sing so loud.

I’m from Franklin, Pennsylvania and a four-block walk to kindergarten
and a 10 mile bus ride to elementary school
and an entirely new adolescence in hot, cramped Texas suburbia.

I’m from chicken-fried steak and chicken strips and gravy
from cookies and cheesecake
from chocolate-covered cherries.

I’m from the golf-ball hitting Gommer’s leg
from jumping off the bridge
from Aunt Betty never rallied
from taking a tractor ride
from Aunnie Kay’s cherry pie
from Charlie Tuna and Uncle Graham.

I’m from a string of pearls at forty,
from grace all the way around,
from the long line of grace down in the valley
through the Texas sun
braided into the red dirt of North Carolina
buried in the sand of Emerald Isle
resting in the hills of Virginia.

I am from three years in the third world,

I am from strong stock and snarky comments.

I am from preaching and pointing.

I am from endless harmony, ringing out over
all the noise.

I am from a calling of the Spirit in a fortress church
from a tenacious grip
that never did let go.

2 thoughts on “Where I’m From

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