Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where are you from?

I'm from being late for contests.

But, contest or no contest, I finally got around to writing the "I Am From" poem that so many have been having a good time with. I have to admit, this was a fun and touching stroll down my own memory lane.

I Am From

I am from knee socks, Hostess cupcakes
and black patent leather shoes worn home from the store.

I am from coast to coast, from everywhere and nowhere,
the child of a pilot and his bride. I am from base housing,
plain vanilla walls and Barbie clothes sewn from Thailand’s silk.

I am from holly hock dolls and walking to school,
from dandelion bouquets, from Alaskan glaciers and the sun
rising over the Atlantic on a Florida coast.

I am from summer car trips to Grandma and Grandpa's,
with stops to see Lookout Mountain and the Truman Museum
along the way.
I am from staid New England stock, from Indiana folks,
from John and Norma, Madeline and Jim.
I am from lightning bugs in the backyard
and the comforting scent of Noxzema.

I am from “Be polite” and “Do your best,”
and “Goodnight, John-boy” at bedtime,
from “I’m rubber, you’re glue,”
and from “Nuh-uh is not a word.”

I am from my squishy pillow at the drive-in,
from a six-year-old’s delight in the
dark, safe cocoon of the family car.

I am from Santa Claus and Easter eggs, dinnertime grace,
and from bedtime prayers that faded away.

I am from Germany and Wales, from homecooked meals,
decorated doll cakes on my birthday,
and home-sewn clothes
that made me proud of my mother’s skill.

From Grandma, who thought I loved peas
because I gobbled them up (just to get rid of them),
and from Grandpa, who convinced me
that a signal tower was his own private Christmas tree.
I am from my grandmother’s habit of smearing butter
on a scraped knee, and taking me to “the grocery”
no matter what store it was.

I am from Mom, who decorated the house for every holiday,
and took us blueberry hunting by the creek;
from Dad, who told me that thunder
was the giants bowling in the sky,
and whose hand holding mine is the only thing I remember seeing
when he returned from a year in Korea.

I am from Air Force brats bonding through a shared, strange life,
from a family who taught me without words that “skin color”
means nothing and “human being” means everything.

I am from nomads, from possibilities and from imagination.

I am from a longing for roots, found finally, and only, in God.


Amy said...

You have such a wonderful way with words, Karen! I'm glad you shared it (even late, lol). :)

Liz said...


This is so lovely. I know so much more about you now! Here I thought you'd had the more typical, grow up in one place, sort of childhood.


Karen E. said...

Many thanks to both of you! Liz, too funny that we never talked about the Air Force bratdom.