Friday, April 21

I Am From

I first saw "I Am From ..." at Debra's place a few weeks ago and loved it so much that I was determined to do it. It's a fill in the blank writing exercise about your childhood. It sounds simple, maybe a little dull, but it's sooo neat. Last week I gave it to my teenagers as a writing assignment. They wrote awesome essays that were incredibly encouraging to me as a mom. With their permission, I may share my children's essays with you, at some point.

Finally last evening very late I finished mine. When I went to bed I wondered at first if I could sleep, with so many childhood memories stirred up and swirling around in my head. (But exhaustion prevailed-- chuckle...) So here you are:


I Am From....


I am from thunderstorms and muggy nights and green-sky tornado warnings. From Cream of Wheat on school mornings, and White Castle burgers on Sundays and Dreft sitting on the washer when another new baby was on the way.

I am from the white parsonage next to the brick church surrounded by oak trees rustling in the breeze. I am from June bugs and fireflies on summer evenings. From oak tree whose acorns pelted unsuspecting friends from the leafy heights, from Four’O’Clocks that looked divine tucked in little girls’ hair.

I am from churchgoers and readers and baby-lovers, from Leonard and Marie and Hazel and Dale and Marvin and Julia. I am from inquisitive minds, and skillful hands, and loving hearts.

From “all things work together for good” and “ don’t wear those shorts-- they’re indecent.”

I am from forever-Lutherans who believe you work hard and trust God for the rest of it. I'm from Nebraska farmers who survived a tornado and put baby chicks in the bathtub for safekeeping when the chicken house blew away. From Swedes and Norwegians and Germans.

From mom’s homemade pizza and granola and whole wheat bread. From "Aunt Edie" pancakes slathered with butter and powdered sugar. From whole milk straight from the farm where we petted the calves and they sucked our fingers with sandpaper tongues. From apples we got by riding a ferry boat and visiting an orchard ourselves.

From the grandmother who got kittens for me to dress and trundle in baby carriages when I visited each summer, from the grandfather who called me Emsie, and the other grandfather who farmed so full-bore that when he stopped he could fall asleep in the midst of the noisiest gatherings.

I am from Polaroids and Kodak Instamatics whose flash cubes blinded your eyes then were tossed in the trash. From black-paged photo albums where precious pictures were placed with loving hands, and family and faith were valued above all the rust-gathering trinkets that any amount of money could buy.

27 Comments:

At 8:33 AM, Blogger carla said...

Ahhh, Mary---you did a great job! It was a joy to read, and brought back lots of the same kinds of memories for me, too!

It sounds like you had a wondeful childhood!

carla

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger Cheerio's on my butt? said...

Hey! For once I'm first! Well, this is the cooolest post! and I want to do one. Can you give me more details on how? Very great writing and even better would be to frame it. Soo cool!

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger Cheerio's on my butt? said...

Wow! I guess I wasn't first....someone beat me while I was writing....foiled again!

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger Chaos-Jamie said...

This is beautiful! And I could use your first paragraph in mine.

I'm with cheerio's, where can I find that exercise?

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger momofalltrades said...

That totally rocked. I love it. I love it enough I might even try it. My favorite post this week of my whole blogroll.

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Faith said...

How awesome. I love this. It is very beautifully written. I can see your childhood in my mind's eye. Beautiful!

 
At 11:54 AM, Blogger Internal Expert said...

Oh, I loved it! I wish there was where we all still WERE NOW! But you're doing a great job! :)

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger Lei said...

Oh! I love this... great writing!!!

 
At 2:05 PM, Blogger Tennessee Mama said...

Very sweet!

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger Jody said...

Wow, how beautiful. Your childhood sounds wonderful.

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger Perri said...

I think we must be from the same era. I did mine last year and I'm sure you can relate to it just like I did yours. Especially those dang square flashbulbs on the Kodak 110 instamatic. Here's my link to mine:
http://lottakids1961.blogspot.com/2005/03/where-im-from.html

 
At 8:35 PM, Blogger Diane said...

I'm from Arkansas, but I can relate to almost everything about your childhood. All that goes into making us what we are today. I think I will borrow this for my post today. Thanks, Mary, for sharing, and you did a great job expressing yourself and setting a mood. :)

 
At 9:31 PM, Blogger Nicki said...

Mary, that was wonderful! Very vivid images sprang out from your words. Beautiful.

 
At 10:59 PM, Anonymous shannon from rocks in my dryer said...

Mary, that's beautiful. You make me want to try that myself, though I couldn't do it the justice you did!

 
At 8:29 AM, Blogger owlhaven said...

I hope everyone who enjoyed reading this will do one of their own. It is soooo much fun!

Mary

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger Mom101 said...

This is lovely. We come from very different places (literally and figuratively) and yet you made me see yours perfectly.

Thanks for the nice comment over at my place.I LOVED Nancy Drew. My writing journal that I carry around with me features the cover of The Secret of the Old Attic.

 
At 3:03 PM, Anonymous HolyMama! said...

those shorts are indecent...! ahh, those were the days!

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger Debra said...

I loved your I Am From! Thanks so much, Mary, for letting me know you wrote your own. I absolutely loved it, found it beautiful, and could identify with so much of it. I'll add your link to my post so others can find it, too, in the future.. Again--loved it, loved it! God bless... Debra

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous lammyann said...

This is my first visit to your blog... I linked over here from Cheerios....
I read your "I am From" and after an hour, I couldn't help but do my own. Ty for the inspiration.
Great blog.
:)

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger Lala's world said...

wow that is so cool....what beautiful imagery

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger Heth said...

That was beautiful Mary.

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Faith said...

Just a note to let you know that I did one of these too. It was great fun, thanks for passing the idea along.

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I love this. What a joyous thing to read. Good to get to know you better.

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I'll be working on one this week. Thanks for sharing and inspiring me.

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger Silly Old Bear said...

This is fantastic! Thanks!

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger Cmommy said...

Mary, I'm posting mine at my blog! Thanks for the link, sooooo fun! C

 
At 10:37 PM, Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

what's the "fill in the blank" for the writing essay? I would like to do it too. My email is paulsfamily@cox.net
I didn't know if I just edit yours or if you had a blank.

 

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