07 July 2011

Where I'm From

I am from sandy beaches, from Coppertone and flip flops and beach towels and bike rides from my house to Patricia's and back again.

I am from the house around the corner from the bay, with lilacs out back, a paint-splattered patio with an outdoor shower, with bright yellow walls that curve in over the bed.

I am from the crashing waves and the sweet salt air.  I am from the skating rink on Friday nights.

I am from Dad's poems on the refrigerator and melons for appetizers, from Anna Banana and Bob and Susan and Marion and Eugene, too.

I am from the people who talk so easily they forget to listen, and people who don't talk about things that bother them and people who would give you the shirt off their back to keep you warm.  I am from people who say "I love you, bup bup."

From not going in the water until an hour after lunch and from vague, rhythmic advice about the importance of girls setting the tone for relationships, ever since the time of Anthony and Cleopatra. From advice that sometimes needed setting aside, and from advice that sometimes comes out of my mouth (but not the part about Anthony and Cleopatra).

I am from Catholicism that didn't stick (although it did supply a love of ritual). I am from show tunes and Girl Scout songs and hours of piano practice.  I am from classical music and Celtic music and dreams of travel around the world. I am from the field where my best friend was the first girl in Little League and from the place of hope that thought the ERA and the space program would change my world.

I'm from New York and Ireland, from frozen spinach and fish cakes on Friday. I am from Gino's pizza and bagels with a schmear and regular coffee and tea with the milk put in first. 

From stories I can't tell because nobody tells them.  

I am from parents who took in their parents, from long-lived parents who have outlived their siblings, from people who slowly, silently, change their minds, who eventually act out of love.  From a father who drove me and my friends everywhere, because that's what his father did.  From New York Football Giants memorabilia, from photos stored in boxes, somewhere in the house. From silver and china that didn't get used enough. From a kitchen that always had a cuppa and an extra seat and plate.  From quiet mysteries and unanswered questions.


This is based on a poem by George Ella Lyon's  poem  "Where I'm From," which gave Fred First Floyd the idea to create a writing assignment.  I've seen this form around before, but this week got the idea from  Maggie, who got it from Amanda and Flutter and De.  A blogger named Schmutzie is making a link-up. If you're inspired, click on Fred Floyd's name above for the template.


Magpie said...

Oh! The beach! There are many resonances here for me. I'm glad you did this.

Heather said...

I love love love these, yours very much included. I think you've finally inspired me to try one of my own.

Tall Kate said...

Oh, this is just lovely. I gather it's part of a trend (I'm so far out of the loop!) so this is the only one I've seen, but I loved it. It gave me goosebumps. Happy summer!

S. said...

Yes, lovely! I feel like I know you on a new level now!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

"Vague, rhythmic advice" - that's just gorgeous.

susan said...

My mother's advice to me about relationships consisted of two points:
1. Ever since the time of Antony and Cleopatra, it's the girl who sets the tone for the relationship. And every time she said it, it had the same sort of singsongy rhythm, extended vowels in some words, and word emphasis.

2. Just because a boy takes you to the movies, it doesn't mean he has the right to expect anything in return.

And I had no clue, really, what she meant by either until years afterward.

Liz@thisfullhouse said...

I love getting to know everyone participating in this prompt!

However, when you said, "I am from the people who talk so easily they forget to listen..." yeah, me too and I love that!

Debbie said...

quiet mysteries and unanswered questions - lovely

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love, love, love the "Where I'm From" poems. I did this back in 2005, back when I still blogged regularly, following the crowd then. I still love to read people's poems. (http://coffeedrinkingwoman.wordpress.com/2005/06/23/i-am-from/ if you are interested.)