(Rosemary Hunter, Ph.D. led a group discussion with my colleagues wherein participants read “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon and then crafted their own personal renditions using a similar format. The result is a poetic expression of heritage, traditions and tragedies in a way that engages all the senses. Here is mine.)
I am from trees,
from Midwestern Maples and Northwest Pines.
I am from the brick rancher, the Baptist church parsonage
impeccably clean, doors open, every space a room for extra kids.
I am from paper.
Loose-leaf and lined for lead, blank for rolling through the
manual maroon Olympia.
I am from Scrabble and laughter,
from Toni Jean and Ferrel Naomi.
I’m from “relax, don’t worry,” and life’s short so eat dessert.
I am from make your bed and please sing this song for me.
I’m from church-every-Sunday-and-Wednesday-night Southern Baptists,
from whom I rebelled early and often.
I’m from the Netherlands, which are Holland, which is Dutch,
cheese and tulips and weed, lots of weed.
I’m from the head-on car-accident mother left in a body cast and
a lifetime of pain
And the patient father-servant who puts on her socks.
I’m from the bins and totes in closets, love letters from 1923,
WWII ration cards, farm plots, coins and stamps,
poems and clippings, road trip memories.
I am the one who found the farmhouse burned to the ground and
will write this story: V is for Vanskike.