Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where I'm From

I am from cast iron skillets, from Mother’s Oats, biscuits and gravy, grape Kool-aid, and sweet tea.

I am from a house so small almost anyone could reach up and touch the ceiling and from water drawn with a bucket from a well. I am from wringer washing machines and clotheslines and chickens scratching in the yard.

I am from pine trees, red ants, and red bugs (known in other places as chiggers). I am from blackberries picked along red dirt roads and from daffodils that sprang back to life every spring. I’m from sweet gum trees with rope swings and from lightening bugs in mason jars.

I am from big Sunday dinners and from short, round, country folk and from bald-headed men, from Skeltons and Chapmans and Zacharys and Lees, from Dotsie and Charlie and Jewel and Boaster.

I am from hard-working men, from mechanics and farmers, and from women who cooked from scratch and “put up” for winter. I am from sisters who sang hymns while we did the dishes at night and from a maiden aunt who saved her nurse’s wages to send her nephews to college.

From Hank-n-Scratch, "be home before dark," and “that’s with the bark on it” (which I still don’t understand). From women who talked as they shelled peas on the porch. I am from bedtime stories told by a loving Granny, from Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs and  The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

I am from Baptists who walked to church on Wednesday nights and twice on Sundays and who said grace before meals. I’m from hellfire and brimstone preachers and from The Old Rugged Cross and Bringing in the Sheaves.

I am from the South, from Texas, from Bryans Mill, Texarkana, and Corpus Christi. I am from oatmeal cookies, watermelon rind preserves, purple-hulled peas, and snow ice cream.

From soldiers, Confederate and American, from heroes decorated with Purple Hearts, from men who were in the first wave on the beaches of Normandy and men who commanded tanks under General Patton and men who stalked the jungles of Vietnam. I am from wives and mothers who served by waiting and by keeping the home fires burning and by doing whatever they had to do to keep body and soul together.

I am from a tattered box of jumbled sepia-tones, black-and-whites, and faded color photos kept on a shelf in Mama’s closet and only opened with permission at the dining room table with everyone gathered around to carefully pass our family’s memories from hand to hand while we learned where we came from.

I am from a long line of love.

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This is a writing prompt from Mama Kat's Writer's Pretty Much World Famous Workshop. I must say this template, which is titled "Where I'm From," is one of my all-time favorites. It's a great exercise. I recommend you click over to here, copy it, and do the prompt yourself, even if you don't blog. It's a great exercise.

Mama’s Losin’ It
 

23 comments:

  1. Though I grew up in Georgia instead of Texas, I could relate to much of what you wrote except the part about the "red bugs"...we called them "chiggers" in GA and here in NC where I've lived since the mid 80's. ;)

    Love the old photos.

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  2. Lovely photos! :-)

    I enjoyed the glimpse into your world...beautifully written.

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  3. Beautiful. I shelled beans with my Nonna and it's a treasured memory. I love this prompt and the look into everyone's life. Seems like we all have such poetry to our stories, don't we?

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  4. This has to be the best of these that I've read. You are incredibly talented and write beautifully! I feel like I was there with you in your childhood!

    I love that you brought up wringer washing machines! When my parents divorced, I was almost 5 and we moved in with my grandparents. I used to help my grandmother wash with her old wringer. I also used to watch her iron with the old fashioned iron that you sat down in front of and pushed the pedal that started a big huge drum and you fed the clothes through it. I don' remember what it was called, but man does it bring back memories. Thank you for that!

    Lisa
    www.insignificantatbest.com

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  5. This is beautiful. I love have you've included the old photographs too - really adds a special touch.

    I'm reading through lots of these via Mama Kat tonight, and it's wonderful to read so many different lives and childhoods.

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  6. I love yours, Grams! It is soul deep. Thanks for sharing it.

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  7. I love the whole post but especially love the last line. Being from a long line of love is the key to a healthy and full life.
    My Dad and Mother in Law are both from Texas. Dad from Panhandle; MIL from Kelsey. I've heard them talk about Chiggers and Fireflies.
    Beautifully written.

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  8. Yours is one of my favs so far. Very nice. I like the pictures, too.

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  9. This gave me chills! What a beautiful history.

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  10. You made me want to go looking for lightning bugs! What a great story poem. Loved it!

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  11. Just beautiful! I am sitting here humming "Bringing in the Sheaves! Love the pictures.

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  12. This is so beautiful. We overlap on so many details....
    wringer washing machines and clotheslines
    lightening bugs in mason jars
    big Sunday dinners and from short, round, country folk
    from hard-working men, from mechanics and farmers
    hymns while we did the dishes
    The Old Rugged Cross and Bringing in the Sheaves

    All of these things we share!

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  13. I enjoyed this so much! You gave me a good feeling in my soul.

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  14. What a beautiful poem! I love the imagery - I can hear your sisters singing while doing kitchen chores. Lovely!

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  15. Poignant and soul-stirring. I loved every word, savored every sentence. Thank you for sharing this.

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  16. Love this!
    I am from big Sunday dinners and from short, round, country folk and from bald-headed men, from Skeltons and Chapmans and Zacharys and Lees, from Dotsie and Charlie and Jewel and Boaster.

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  17. Boy, if this isn't a recommendation for Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop, I don't know what is. Great writer's prompt. I am Wonderbread and iceburg lettuce. I am walking to school and riding my bike to my friend's house. Thanks for the lovely insight.

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  18. I feel like I've known you for years; you did a great job conveying the influences in your life.

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  19. I feel like I know you so much better now! What a wonderful post. I went and looked at the template you suggested and I couldn't have pulled off anything close to what you did! Very nice! (and the picture of your Granny reminds me of one I have of my Grandma!)

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  20. Really good post. I loved those sayings that make no sense...'with the bark'! My mother was from coal mining country and frequently came out with things like that! Thanks for sharing!

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  21. Oh MY this was one awesome post! Superb!! I just loved it, bottom line :)

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  22. Upon second reading, this STILL stirs my soul. Love it! And I'm so glad you chose this one to share in the GRAND Social. It's perfectly written and perfectly you!

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