Wednesday, January 24, 2007

where I'm from

I am from a switchboard in the living room, from Maytag wringer washers and lye soap and bluing and starch.

I am from the rolling north Missouri hills sweet with the smell of budding, flowering branches in spring, and fields plowed and ready to plant, from wild strawberries growing along roadside ditches in June and kittens in the barn.

I am from the murky Missouri River that likes to escape its banks, the cottonwood trees alongside it shedding their sticky stuff that is carried for miles and lands on freshly-waxed cars, making men curse. I’m from one-room schoolhouses and priming the pump and an outhouse out back.

I am from stubbornness and hot tempers, from Smith and Lacy and Cook.

I am from the gossiping and the caring.

From “don’t cross your eyes or they’ll freeze like that” and “put on clean underwear in case we’re in a wreck”.

I am from “there’s an all-seeing Eye watching you” and immersion and the King James Bible and a capella singing; I’m from learning on my own that nobody’s all that perfect, and that grace covers sin.

I'm from cornfields and pastures of the midwest, from Ball jars containing green beans and home-made pickles, beets and peaches, peas and corn, lined up on shelves in dank, musty-smelling cellars where you always keep your eyes open for snakes.

From the time my parents waded mud in December to get married after their car got stuck; the baby Aunt Ruby lost to pneumonia; and the great depression, when people got together and played cards and made ice cream for recreation.

I am from pictures and old letters tossed in a five-gallon lard can that reveal what life was like in the late 1930's, when mama's baby boy was still-born and my grandpa died of cancer. I’m from stories about what it was like when Mother was a little girl. I’m from finding out after she was long-gone that my grandfather wasn’t as kind and gentle as I had been led to believe and, for some reason, being disappointed about that.

I'm from knowing that I come from people as good as any, and better than many.

If you want to do this very healing and cleansing exercise, you'll find the template HERE.


  1. I remember when you did one of these before.... I know it is a form, but you have a way with the words that you use to fill it in that is.... lyrical? I'm not sure that is the word I am looking for, but I DO really enjoy these!

  2. Anonymous3:51 PM

    The comment didn't get lost in the shuffle at all.

    I agree. This exercise is very healing. It helps us say things, we didn't know how to say.

  3. I did this a while back. It's fun to write but almost more fun to read others' and see the common ground from which we all come.

  4. Anonymous11:09 AM

    I love your sunset picture at the top. I turned it into stationery. I cant show you tho because I think it only works in outlook express. I dont think you use outlook express. Toni

  5. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Isn't it wonderful to look back. I'll be a challange for me to come up with something original since our childhoods were much alike.

  6. Well done. I found your link over at Buffy's joint.

    I'm going to spend a little time in your blog. Looks good. Real good.

  7. This was great. The switchboard in the living room reminded me of the Little House on the Praire TV show years ago...


  8. Yes, I agree: A healing and cleansing exercise. Really enjoyed yours.

  9. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Oh did it again...what a wonderful blog posting...and I have the temp...might try it myself...hugs..Ora in KY


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