June 27, 2011

Where I am from ...

I am from tea cups and saucers and coloured sugar, from shredded wheat and public radio.

I am from the hills high above a peat bog, the squishy sponge dirt filled with stinky ponds, wet-land vegetation, beasts and bugs, and long since conquered by miles of blacktop and fast-moving metal dinosaurs.

I am from a pile of boulders and a transplanted California redwood that grew so fast its tip touched the heavens, far above.

I am from small family feasts and a pathological need for non-exposure, from Brenda and Anita and Carmen.

I am from righteousness and sincerity.

From gifted and undeserving.

I am from the Catholic Church, a place that is so far behind me it is gone.

I'm from a short but very teary stint in Ottawa, Ontario and a blood so mixed nobody knows its provenance; perfect pies and overcooked bitter greens.

From a man who, at 80, is still mourning the death of his father some 70 years previous and a woman who has felt completely isolated since birth, despite having created a large and devoted family. From an exclusive club of a sisterhood full of acceptance, cooperation and support, despite all odds.

I am from a collection of family slides, carelessly or deliberately lost in divorce by one bitter side or the other. My personal pictures are instead stored in my mind's eye, but have been newly relocated in a bin of slides taken by my long-dead grandmother, recently spirited from a garage and digitised to create a new story of my family's collective past for our children.


I may have mentioned a blogger I follow who's writing moves me to no end. She recently posted about bathing suit season in a way that expressed everything I've always wanted to say about the subject, in a way that will change how I feel while poolside this summer. Her childhood sounded pretty hardscrabble, but her chosen life appears real and blessed, not because she deserves it but rather because she has found it and commits herself to it, and to her beautiful family, on a daily basis. Amanda inspires me.

Today she posted something called "Where I am from" ... and included a link to a template anyone can use to create an interesting telling of their history. The above is my "Where I am from". Why not create your own, and leave it here or on your blog? Either way, let me know so I can learn from where you come.


  1. I love reading these. Thank you for writing yours, too. I loved learning a little bit about you through these freeze frames.

    And a big THANK YOU for mentioning me, and for being a reader. I always appreciate your comments!

  2. Here's where I'm from, as posted on my blog, with a link back to yours:

    I am from fields with cows and pigs in pens, from Eight O'Clock coffee and SkinSoSoft and small country churches.

    I am from the fields that have become subdivisions and malls, Walker Hill as it was once unofficially known, with large yards that had to be mowed every week and hayfields where we baled hay to get the cows through the winter, from gardens that smelled like Mother Earth herself when we plowed them for spring planting, the whole property ringed by honeysuckle vines that smelled so sweet under the hot Georgia sun, from blackberry bushes that magically became the most delicious cobbler when Grandmother got her hands on the berrys.

    I am from the magnolia blossoms with their waxy leaves and velvety petals and persimmon trees with their fruits lying on the ground all soft and over-ripe.

    I am from Sunday dinners and family softball games after church and large chests and small butts, from Demetra and Jimmy and Aunt Mary (pronounced Mayree).

    I am from the faith that God will provide and honesty that doesn't speak in shades of grey and working hard for what we have.

    From "your face will get stuck like that" and "you can do anything you set your mind to" (mom) and "can't never did do nothing and never will" (dad).

    I am from southern Baptists who now just identify as Christians, where all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, where "it is what it is" and we soldier on no matter what "it" may be, from a place that recognizes we humans are powerless and that only something greater empowers us. I'm from full immersion baptism yet believe that true baptism comes when we are "tried by fire" in our everyday lives and you better be careful what you pray for because you just might get it. I'm from an angry and vengeful god who is better left behind because he is sending us all to hell.

    I'm from somewhere in Atlanta Georgia and adopted by the only mom and dad I've ever known, good humble people on both sides, rural families, a firefighter dad and a full time mom, with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins with some Native blood in there somewhere;

    I'm from black-eyed-peas&cornbread and biscuits and fried chicken.

    From the father who caught the baby that was falling out of a stranger's grocery cart in the produce aisle, the mother who stuck out her tongue when she was deep in concentration and the Poppa who chased down Willie the runaway donkey to save me and my cousin off its back.

    I am from a closet full of photo albums in my mother's guest bedroom, uniform brass from Fulton County Fire Department in my jewelry box, mom's birthstone and wedding band in the same jewelry box, none of it worth much money (not on a fireman's salary) but priceless just the same because they are from a marriage that is no more because the firefighter himself is no more.

  3. Beautiful! As is Cindy Lou Who's! You may have just written my Monday's post. (PS I found you via the magnificent Joules at Lucid Lotus Life. You'll have to blame her for inflicting me on you.)

  4. Followed Bugginword here. Awesome.

  5. I'm so grateful you found me here, dbs, whether you return or not. Funny how one idolises other people's work over their own: I truly thought my Where I am from fell far short of all of the other ones I have read until I returned today, to publish your comment. My own writing had me in tears! I like it, I really like it!!!

    Anyhoo ... thanks for taking the time to drop a line (and thanks to bugginword for leading the way). It meant more to me than you might ever realise.