Monday, November 22, 2010

Where I'm From

I am from Midwestern sensibilities, frugality and Spanish ocean breezes.

I am from a Bicentennial celebration of the Liberty Bell, a brick ranch, a Georgia colonial, and the wafting scents of sauteed garlic and onion. I am from everywhere and nowhere, from many sturdy oak-lined streets with well-traveled sidewalks.

I am from zinc oxide and a plethora of satin swim team ribbons.

I am from the red tulips of Maine, the blizzard of 1979 and countless grains of white sand lining the blissful shores of Lake Michigan.

I am from homemade cinnamon rolls, ingrained curiosity and an English teacher. From Three Dog Night and the Muppets. From unchaperoned games of Ghost in the Graveyard, and parents who rang a cow bell when the time arrived to come in from the dark.

I am from the the incense filled vestibules of Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris, lit prayer candles and and an unwavering cadence of strength.

I am from a family who staunchly believes in Santa Claus. From a love of shoes, Waterford crystal and twisted corkscrew willows.

I am from devout Catholics, an almost-nun and baptized atheists. From the intoxicating scent of crisp sheets line-dried on a sunny day and Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends.

I'm from the oldest of five and the oldest of two, from him and from her. From chicken paprikash with handmade spatzel, countless potatoes and a staunch love of college football. From metallic foil wallpaper and gold, wide-whale corduroy couches.

From a woman who worked for the Red Cross in Korea, wearing crisp white uniforms with quaint hats. I am from nurses, pilots, dentists and electricians. I'm from careful, faded love letters, intricate unions and complex dissolutions.

I am from monogrammed sweaters, Bermuda bags and a well-read copy of The Preppy Handbook. I am from hippies, Republicans, Democrats and Vietnam vets. I am from a myriad of exhalations, sacrifices and shoveled walks. I am from a raven-haired, violet-eyed homecoming queen and hearty immigrants. I am from each experience of my many families, and profound belief in something more profound than me. I am from each step to now and the hum of a faithful dishwasher. I am from them all; I am me.

Thanks to Lindsey, and the many other bloggers whose execution of this exercise inspired me to write my own. You can go here to find the Where I Am From template. The original poem, Where I Am From, by George Ella Lyon, is beautiful and can be read here.

5 comments:

Lindsey said...

gorgeous

George Ella Lyon said...

Brava!

I wrote the original "Where I'm From" and am always amazed to see the poems that have spun off of it. Sort of like sourdough starter or Friendship Bread.

Pass it on!

And Happy Thanksgiving!

George Ella Lyon

Corinne said...

There is so much about this I love, and can connect with. Just beautiful :)

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Oh, Denise, this is so lovely. You and Lindsey are endless fonts of inspiration for me these days. (But something tells me this exercise might take some more thought than the VF questionnaire...)

xo

Anonymous said...

You are the sum of your parts!!