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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I Am From

I am from a glass bottle collection balanced on white shelves, from Co-Cola in the Kelvinator.

I am from the prettiest house on the road, with gray stone, green shingles, wine trim, and a big "W" on the storm door. From a back porch with white poles for climbing and swinging, from a clean kitchen with green vines on the walls.

I am from the biggest garden, from pole beans and watermelon, from the bushes in front with red berries you mustn't eat, but step on to make jelly on the sidewalk.

I am from early Sunday dinners, and monstrous tempers, and "people have more fun than anybody." From Linnie and Nellie, Maude and Jesse, Linzie and Alice. From Esther, and Betsy's farm, and Mrs. Thornton, from people whose eyes and mouths said that I was something. Really something.

I am from depression and escape, from suspicion and vulnerability, from finding funny in what's not. I am not from around here.

I am from "treat the janitor the same as the governor," and "you catch more flies with honey."

I am from Presbyterians and Southern Baptists and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. From Vacation Bible School and giggling at unchurchy things on the church bus. I am from long visits at my Sunday School teacher's house, which became my friend's house.

I'm from England and Germany, Ireland and Scotland. And Up North and Down Home. I'm from biscuits and gravy, and Uncle Jonce's chicken from the church barbecue, and Aunt Jessie's pumpkin pie.

From the man I never knew, and that my mother didn't know long enough, who drank too much and taught in a one-room schoolhouse, and told funny stories and sang bawdy songs that made Maude mad. From women whose dreams and nightmares came true.

I am from a jewelry case filled with beautiful families. The necklaces are the mamas, the earrings are the babies, usually twins, unless one is lost. Bracelet aunts; no men in that smooth, sparkly world. From a box with peeling black and blue paper, photographs faded, frayed and flooded.

With every visit now, I take more and more of that box back home with me.


I swiped this meme from Vajana, who lifted it from HDL, who got the format for it here (in a yellow shaded box, about half-way down the page). I would encourage you to go get the format and give it a try. It helped me remember things I hadn't thought of in years, and pull together some threads that needed weaving.

46 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger Bente said...

This is really nice Susie. I went to look at the format, but it didn't show all of it and I couldn't see the read more link.

Blogger Squirl said...

Don't have time to check all that out today. I have to go to a seminar. I'll have to check it out later. That's probably more telling than the list of 100 Things About Me.

Blogger Susie said...

bente, thanks, I hope it works now, but just in case:

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.
I am from the _______ (home description... adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)

I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).

I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).

From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).

I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.

I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).

From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).

I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

squirl, that's what I thought when I saw it at vajana's and HDL's, it says so much in so few words. Hope your seminar is not a snoozer!

Blogger Susie said...

Oh, bente,! Sorry, I just read your comment more carefully and checked again. What you see there is all I had, and all I've seen written. Just what's in the box; there was no "read more" when I visited either. However, if you want to read more of the poems, go back up on that page to the link that says, Read more "Where I From here." Yes, it's a grammatical error, but it will take you to other people's poems/stories.

Blogger Bente said...

Yeah, I now see that I'm a tool. Sorry about that, and I'll give it a go tomorrow when I have some spare time!

Blogger Susie said...

A TOOL?!, did I say that?! Silly goose, don't talk about Bente like that. It's a long, rambling link, easy to get confused in ;)

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Sometimes you can say a lot more by not sayin' it directly. I love this.

Might even have to be a meme stealer and try it meself.

Blogger WILLIAM said...

I love the jewelry box, and the reference to earrings being twins.
It is such a nice picture.

Blogger marybishop said...

William's comment got here first, but I wanted to mention the earring twins too...that image will stay with me..

I've copied it and will give it a try...interesting. Thanks!

Blogger Susie said...

bucky, I hope you do. If squirl does it too, you two shouldn't see each other's until both are done. (Is that too bossy of me?)

william and mary, that's a purty good school y'all got there ;) That is one of my favorite childhood memories. I would lie on my mom's bed, playing with her costume jewelry, pretending as I described.

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

That's lovely Susie! I'll give it a go... Thank you!

Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

Susie, this sounds like Chapter 1 in that book you need to write. So happy, yet somber. How did you get through this meme without becoming all emotional, or did you?

Blogger eclectic said...

I can just picture you and your little pals "laughing about unchurchy things on the church bus." What a beautifully written glimpse into how you became. Thanks!

I might swipe the format from you, but I'm a quick study in blog etiquette so I'll be sure to post credit where it's due.

Blogger LadyBug said...

That was lovely, Susie, just lovely. I'll have to check out the links when I have more time. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Blogger Spurious Plum said...

Susie, this is so lovely. I love the jewelry families at the end!

As a kid, I used to attach my bracelets together in my Mama's jewelry box, so they wouldn't be lonely.

Yeah, I was an only child. What?

Blogger Greenthumb said...

I just fell in love with you all over again. You made my soul jump with joy and sadness all at once. Beautiful imagery, I don't know if I could do this one. It scares me a little.

Blogger Patience said...

That was beautiful, so poetic. Thanks for sharing.

Blogger SierraBella said...

Very different!
The style reminds me of Lillian Smith, who wrote one of my favorite childhood books Memory of a Large Christmas.

Blogger August95 said...

I agree with everything Greenie said.

As a child I would sort my Mom's jewelry, undoing the knots in the chains. She always said I was the best at it.

You have touched me again on this day. Thank you Susie.

Blogger tinkamarink said...

This is wonderful. I just did one of my own and WOW, it was eye-opening. Yay! More fodder for my therapist! You have a talent for making a picture out of your words. Wonderful writing...again!

Blogger Torrie said...

This is great.

Anonymous blogaholic said...

i was just gonna say the same thing tinkamarink said. everytime i read one of you posts, i can always visualise in my head, that's cool.

Blogger Ern said...

I have been meaning to do that poem one of these times, but I don't know if mine will come out quite as nice. :)

Anonymous blogaholic said...

visualize-oops soory

Blogger Nic said...

Nice Susie. Bless you for posting this information for others to be able to use.

I'm thrilled right now after an emotional morning b/c the Complimenting Commenter featured me on their blog today. YAY! :)

Blogger Vajana said...

oh I think yours turned out beautiful!! Such great memories huh?

Blogger Vajana said...

oh and thank you for linking to my site--I don't get too much traffic so that helps! :)

Unfortunately my computer is on the fritz so I haven't been able to post a lot this week! Hopefully by next week all will be fixed.

Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

This is right purty, Susie. My wife can really relate to "the lost twin." Got a lot babies missing here.

Blogger Susie said...

CK, I look forward to reading yours :)

crayolamouth, thank you, and I did become emotional, but after reading your comment, I had to go back and see just where. It was the part about "From Esther, and Betsy's farm, and Mrs. Thornton, from people whose eyes and mouths said that I was something," people who were not related to me, but had a brief, important role in my early life. Yep.

eclectic, thanks, I hope you do it. Only real important credit is back to the site where the form is shared with us. I find it fascinating, how much of one's story can be told by sharing these details.

ladybug, I know you're swamped. Thank you for stopping by, and for being so kind. I'll look forward to reading yours when you get to it :)

plum, thank you. So MANY people have told me that they had sweet little games and "pretends" with their mom's jewelry. I sure did.

greenie, well I love you all over again because I read about Ms. Westside, and you once compared me to her. How flattering is that? You can do this, glasshoppa. It is scary; it might hurt a little, but it will also feel really good. (You ever heard that one before?)

emmy,, thank you AND you're welcome AND you should try it!

sierrabella, I don't know that book, but if it's one of your favorites, then I am flattered, indeed. Of course, I was just following a formula, which is what I love about this, anyone can do it.

august95, you have such a kind heart. (I just wish it didn't have to work so hard.) You have reminded me of something I had forgotten --- I used to get the knots out, too.

tink, thanks, and yours was amazing.

torrie, thank you, and try it.

blogaholic, thank you, your kind words are always so appreciated :)

ern, well I know. It will. And I'd love to read it.

nic, that's GREAT. I'll have to find that. I know there's a link on this thing somewhere, or I'll just google. And why shouldn't you be featured? Your site is awesome.

vajana, thank you, again. I hope your fritzies are worked out soon!

hoss, A lot of them missing, here, too. Give your wife an extra hug from me. And while you're at it, here's one for you, too.

Blogger JessicaRabbit said...

That was great. I might try it too, when I have 5 seconds to myself to think.

Anyone care to buy a few teenage boys or small girls under the age of 5 for the summer? I have 5 here right now. Bids start at a nickel.

Blogger Greenthumb said...

OMG!!! Susie, you made me blush! LOL!!! That's EXACTLY what I was told the 'first' time.

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

Amazing imagery. What a great MEME.

Blogger Squirl said...

FYI, Susie, in case you haven't had time to check, the granola recipe is posted.

Blogger Susie said...

JR, one word for you: Ebay.

greenie, I'm having trouble responding appropriately. Multiple choice:
A)yea, yea, weren't we all?
B)I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about

kranki, thank you; you should try it.

squirl, thank YOU. I printed it out. I hope to make some this weekend :)

Blogger Greenthumb said...

I did it. It's posted and you were right, it did hurt at first, but now it feels so good. The tears won't stop though, now what?

Blogger Susie said...

greenie, that's the thing so many fear, that if they start they won't stop. But they do. They do. My brave glasshoppa ;)

Blogger Greenthumb said...

Thank you! I love you huge!

Blogger Jeffs place said...

Nice job. I have seen some beautiful "poetry" for the mind since beginning blogging a month ago. I am enjoying your posts.

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

I did mine!

Blogger eclectic said...

I did one, too. Yeah..., I'm a shameless copycat when I find something truly worthwhile to copy. Thanks for the example, the template and the encouragement.

Blogger Leesa said...

Very cool post. So creative.

Blogger Snickrsnack Katie said...

That is so beautiful, Susie. The imagery was fantastic! I am so excited to go try that meme myself! And I can't say I have ever been particularly excited over a meme before. Thanks for sharing!!!

Blogger snaps79 said...

That was really wonderful. I love how descriptive you were. Those "I am from's" are great for making misty eyes! Pat yourself on the back for that piece of work. I am mighty impressed.

Blogger Susie said...

jeffsplace, thanks for stopping by, and welcome to blogging.

CK, and it's wonderful!

eclectic, you're welcome. It's there for copying. I hope more people "copy" it from you.

leesa, welcome. I'm not a poet, by any means; anyone can do it, it's just fill-in-the-blanks. Try it!

Hey, katiebbaw! I'll be over to look for yours soon. I agree, I'm not usually into memes, but this one was irresistible. Again, props to Jana and HDL, and ...I think it was Floyd.

HDL, aw, thank you. As I said, I loved Jana's, then I had to track down yours, and you two did it so beautifully, I was inspired to give it a try :) And yes, every one I've read, happy, sad or mixed, brings a tear. It's a powerful formula, for some reason.

Blogger butterstar said...

This is beautiful, Susie. You're somethin' else.

Blogger Annejelynn said...

this meme is most awesome - thank you. I was just an emotional goon while typing mine - what a WONDERFUL exercise = invaluable dose of reality and valuable reminiscing...so guhoood!
and it's been so fun and inspiring and touching to read everyone's "I'm from" - including, of course, yours.

Thanks for sharing Susie!


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