I've wanted to do this poetry exercise forever. I saw several bloggers doing this over a year ago. But in traditional Julie procrastination mode it got set aside and put off and put on hold. But I thought it would jump start me back after my sporadic posting of late.
The original "Where I'm From" is by George Ella Lyon.
I am from hiding under the kitchen table, the grownups sitting around, above, telling stories and jokes and playing cards; from Dairy Queen on a hot summer night with a butterscotch dipped cone and walking two blocks to Mass before school in the dark.
I am from the tiny house on the corner, six blocks from Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, my little teal pedal car parked at the front steps. I am from the lilacs, petunias and a rosebush with tiny pink roses, the bleeding hearts and fuchsias hanging on the back patio. I am from the sandbox beneath the forked apple tree.
I am from Christmas Midnight Mass and keeping secrets, from Florence and Viola and Gammie. I am from “I’m fine!”, sweeping emotions under the rug and ignoring the pink elephant dancing in the room. From “act your age” and “grow up”.
I am from Latin Mass to Vatican II, incense to Kum ba ya guitar Mass and from altar rails to Holy Eucharist on the hand. From Sister Rosemary who loved me to Sister Mary Adrian who told me I was ugly. From CYC and TEC. I’m from Iowa, Italians, Danes, Native Americans, Irish, Cappellettis and SPAM.
From singing Paddlin’ Madeline Home to the checkout lady for my delighted grandparents, my ratty, stuffing worn thin baby doll draped over my arm, belting my song loud and clear; from beneath the dark canopy at my uncle’s funeral, his parents conspicuously absent because he died fighting in Viet Nam; from sitting in the comic book rack reading Tiger Beat and Archie comics and playing Barbies in the back room and aisles of the corner grocery that my parents ran—my mother during the days and my father at night after his “real job”; and the walk to Grandma’s house one winter night when one of my parents locked the keys inside and us outside. Snow was deep and falling fast. It was a very quiet walk.
I am from much perused photo albums under my mother’s bedside table and my grandmother’s photos loose in boxes amidst the buttons and blankets deep in the cedar chest…some never seen until recently. Dalmatians, Dachshunds, a lilac gingham dress on the swing set, red-white-and-blue jeans on horseback, a new outfit for Christmas each year, costumes and pretended excitement for the first days of school, Santa Claus and Mommie and Mommy kissing Daddy. Somewhere in there were vacations—camping and amusement parks, Royal Gorge, Pikes Peak and Mount Rushmore, traveling in the back of the station wagon staring at the sky. Many miles of years on Polaroids and Kodachrome.
If you would like to do the "Where I'm From" poem in the style of George Ella Lyon here is the form. Let me know if you do!!
I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.
I am from the _______ (home description... adjective, adjective, sensory detail).
I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail).
I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).
I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).
From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).
I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).
From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).
I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).