Where I’m From

I first came across this writing exercise last week when I read it here. The “Where I’m From” writing template was found here, but I believe this may be the original author. Fill in the spaces and make the poem unique to your own life. Excellent examples may be found here and here. I’m pretty sure I’ll be revisiting this one again one day. If you create one of your own, please send leave the link in my comments box. I’d love to read it.

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I am from Hot Wheels cars and bright orange plastic race tracks in the hallway, from a bicycle riding over every small town street, and driving mile upon weekend summer night mile on “the drag” as a teenager.

I am from the trailer in the small town at the end of the gravel road, where powerful prairie storms made the walls “breathe” in and out, and tall winter snowdrifts bury my father’s car until spring, with a horizon so wide you could see forever (or the water tower in the next town seven miles away).

I am from the tall, whispering prairie grasses, the lilacs whose fragrance float upwards to my open upstairs bedroom window during summer vacations, and wild onions growing in the yard. From where mulberries stain children’s fingers purple, irises form boundaries in my grandparent’s yard, while the whitest, puffiest clouds float across the brightest, bluest skies as I lie in a field on my back with my brothers and our dog in the warm, summer sun. (That one’s a puppy. That one’s Santa.)

I am from yearly family gatherings with dozens of cousins and knowing there was love in the stoicism though it was never often said, from the European lines of Walkers and Fuchs and Johnsons and Zaffts.

I am from helping with tilling and planting and watering and tending and weeding and picking and canning and preserving year after childhood year, and weekends of puzzles and pinochle at my grandparent’s homes that ended on Sunday evening when Hee Haw or Lawrence Welk on the tiny black-and-white kitchen television signaled the end of another weekend.

I’m from Goldilocks and her trio of bears on my grandmother’s lap and Sunday School bible stories that have always stayed with me and brought me their comfort.

I am from a family diverse in their Protestant faiths, early memories of thick hymnals and my little fingers turning pages to find the big, black numbers in preparation for the next song. Today as a Catholic and a father, I’ve assisted my own children’s little fingers as they seek to find the Communion hymn at Mass.

I’m from a South Dakota town on the Missouri, of Quakers in Pennsylvania, of Pembrokeshire in Wales, and the quaint, rural towns of Bohemia, Germany and Norway. Of apple pies and sugar cookies mixing heavy in the kitchen air.

I am from the annual family vacations to the Black Hills with long trips in the backseat while one brother was car sick, and the endless hours of pounding and practice my youngest brother put in on empty ice cream buckets and then on real drums. Both brothers unique in their talents and abilities, the three of us not always getting along, but loving them and not trading them for anything in this world.

I am from a mother and father who worked hard to provide for the children they loved. From guppies that died, hats made of yarn and tin-snipped beer cans, of hour after hour spent exploring and playing and laughing and learning. Of selling Christmas cards door-to-door to earn my first baseball glove and of working paper routes for comic book money.

I am from where the sun, the moon and stars spill their laughter.

I can still see forever.

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Dad and Mom

Brothers

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