Friday, September 23, 2011

Where I'm From

This was a writing prompt from Mama Kat's yesterday. I fell so in love with all the linked posts today that I couldn't resist trying it myself...

I am from endless coffee mugs, from Tide and Kraft macaroni and cheese, from fresh baked whole wheat bread and necklaces made from bubble gum wrappers. I am from 64-count boxes of Crayola crayons, Oshkosh and construction paper and wooden blocks to build a foundation. I am from after-school granola in plastic bowls shaped like baseball hats.

I am from the sprawling white Colonial on the hill...the creaking stairs, the clank of radiators, the whisper of oak trees and the clatter of wind across ancient windows. I am from a house so big the only place to feel safe was in the closet below the stairs, surrounded by books and dust and silence.
I am from sunflowers, from forsythia and rhododendrons, from hydrangeas and morning glories and herbs on the patio. I am from jacarandas and bougainvillea, from sycamore trees that smell like long-forgotten dreams. I am from bags of leaves raked just for jumping, piles of snow that melt slowly beneath a frozen sun.

I am from hot pretzel vendors, from corner bodegas, from Grey's Papaya and popsicles in Central Park. I'm from pomegranates and cucumber raita and water buffaloes asleep in the road. I'm from endless beaches and angled canyons, from Sam's bagels and venti Pike and shiny pointed stars embedded beneath the pathway toward a million dreams.

I'm from lox and bagels on Sunday mornings, from third pots of coffee, from stubbornness. From "take a sweater" and "call me when you get there" and "I'm so proud of you." From Paul and Nan, Sylvia and Dorothy, Joseph and Charles.
I'm from fast talkers and big dreamers. I'm from brilliance and inspiration and insanity. 
From stars in the sky like ten thousand wishes, from persistence and excellence, from magic chicken soup that cures everything. 
I am from Jewish culture, Hebrew school failure. Ancient prayers sung on the side of a mountain, overlooking the ocean, clasped hands and open hearts. I'm from Sanskrit and Buddha and the Celestine Prophecy. I'm from skepticism and belief, from generations of whispered mantras for protection, luck, love, deliverance.
I’m from California and Canada, Russia and Poland and Austria. I'm from half-sour pickles, half-caf coffee, homemade cookies, Cape Cod potato chips and cranberry sauce a la Bart.
From the family that wouldn't eat the egg. From the one that believes green cars are evil. From the boy who threw spaghetti all over the walls and took cars apart in the driveway just for fun, who played the saxophone and refused to become a dentist. From the girl who locked herself in the bedroom to read, who sparkled  and charmed her way through Europe, who taught school cross-legged on the floor with a clear vision for change. From brothers who climbed in trees, laughed at jokes, teased back. Built Uncle Wiggily's spaceship from cotton balls and string and a plastic laundry basket.

From respect for others, respect for self. From the ones who cry, laugh, tease, whisper, applaud and love so loud it's either stand up and be heard or stay quiet forever. 
I am from the picture frames on the bookshelves, the photographs on the piano, the drawings on the refrigerator, the brown leather albums with peeling pages. I'm from a pile of birthday cards scribbled on napkins, glued together with toothpaste ...more than anything in the world.

I'm from cartwheels in the backyard and lemons for lemonade and homegrown tomatoes. I'm from fireflies and bubble wands, knitting needles and yoga mats and Persian chicken kebabs on the grill. From marshmallows on metal skewers turned ever-so-slowly to keep them from bursting into flames.

I'm from ancient teddy bears that suck their thumbs, Elmo dolls with ragged fur, a set of yellow and orange plastic keys. I'm from a thousand Cheerios crushed on the floor, from sippy cups with missing lids, from lollipops for special days.

I'm from blue cotton onesies and mounds and mounds of tulle.  I'm from plaid flannel shirts and jeans with holes in the knees, shawls from India and Bali and Hong Kong, little black cocktail dresses. I'm from flip flops and stilettos, socks that won't stay on and tiny, shiny tap shoes. Handbags the size of carry-on luggage. From No More Tangles and Burberry perfume and Rosebud salve, diaper cream and Great Lash mascara. From stacks of magazines three feet high.

I'm from right off the Pike, below Sunset Boulevard, the beaches of Malibu and Nantucket, the sidewalks of the Village and the Upper West Side. I'm from Andhra Pradesh and LA's east side. From a rock in the middle of nowhere that let you see every star.  From the left side of the bed, from a battered kitchen table with white-painted legs.

From a pair of stone lions with beloved, crumbling faces.

I'm from here. I always will be.


  1. I like yours much more than the other two suggested on Mama Kat's website.
    Beautiful post.

  2. This was lovely! The imagery was fabulous!

  3. Oh this is so beautifully written. Your house looks beautiful and I'm sure this prompt brought back so many beautiful memories :)

  4. Morgan's class did this last year for their 5th grade memory book. It was inspiring and funny. She asks about Zoe all the time, so I thought I'd pass her concern along. Hope you are all well. M

  5. This was SO beautiful. I can relate to some and appreciate others, and be awed at your ability to so thoughtfully and eloquently express the simple everyday. Reading this makes me glad I met you, and wish I could have met you a long time ago :)