A few days ago, I came across a beautifully written article by blogger extraordinaire, Jenny Hansen, and I had to give it a try myself. Turns out, she discovered this nostalgic writing exercise after reading “Where I’m From” by Sharla Lovelace, which includes a template. Apparently, that template has been bouncing around the internet for a decade or more. Perhaps it’s so popular because you don’t have to be a professional writer to try it, not even close. The next time you’re trying to figure out what to give a parent (or your child) who already has everything, or doesn’t need another whatchamacallit, perhaps consider writing your story and gifting it to them. Just a thought.
With that said, here’s a little bit of me.
Where I’m From
I’m from wollastonite, Big Wheels, Tinker Toys, and a backyard sandbox. From a sunny kitchen where my mom lined up Velveeta and mustard sandwiches and Kool-Aid for us kids to grab before running outside to play some more.
I’m from a white clapboard house perched at the edge of a hay field, a second-story Holly Hobbie-themed bedroom with white, flowing curtains, and a paneled den large enough for a family of seven. From a kitchen with daily homemade meals, a fridge with a pitcher of unsweetened iced tea, and the occasional rhubarb pie.
I am from evergreens, Lady Slippers, pussy willows, and hummingbirds, oak trees, pink clover, and dairy cows. From a mining town with a K-12 central school and graduating class of forty, one grocery store, one blinking light, and a river that we’d skate come winter.
I’m from Sunday summer picnics with grandma’s potato salad and grandpa’s sons–large, tobacco-chewing men grilling hot dogs and burgers. From a backyard where we played horseshoes, croquet, and H-O-R-S-E until it was too dark to do more than roast marshmellows around a cinder block fireplace.
I’m from a no-nonsense, hardworking father and graceful, classy mother and too many aunts, uncles, and cousins to count. I am from the frugal and independent, the pinocle players, the shift workers, and the practical jokers. From “If you make a mess, clean it up” and “You can be anything you want to be if you work hard enough.”
I’m from a Catholic home, from where we love others as God has loved us, turn the other cheek, and believe the meek shall inherit the earth.
I’m from where the Adirondack foothills meet the crystal blue waters of Lake Champlain, a home with veggies grown in the backyard and canned in the kitchen, laundry drying in the breeze, and Sunday breakfasts of fried eggs and bacon.
I am from shelves of photo albums next to the stairs, to be pulled out and pored over whenever we visit my childhood home. From boxes of art and school work in the attic, to skis and boots in the cellar. Never touched, but there just the same.
A Few More Thoughts
This exercise stirs up a myriad of memories as you write. I’ve worked on this piece for a few days, but I continue to remember more–and I want to include it all. Next weekend my family will travel upstate to my childhood home, and I imagine that will inspire me further. Writing, like life, is very often a work in progress.
My mind is on my mother this week, even more than usual. She would have been seventy-five this year. I love and miss you, Mom, but here’s a little gift to you, to let you know I meant it when I said I’d love you for always.
And to my readers, here’s your gift. My husband made up this little summer concoction early in the season and I adore it. As Nicole Basaraba pointed out to me recently, every cocktail needs a good name. Let me know if you like it! Here it is…
Pink Flamingo Cocktail
Fill a 15 oz. cocktail glass with ice, pour in a shot-and-a-half of your favorite Scotch (I prefer single malt), add pink lemonade, stir, and top with a lemon. Enjoy!
Where are you from? Did this exercise stir any memories for you? What summer drink did you savor?