Where I’m From, a Poetic Assignment

This was inspired by Randy Seaver, at https://www.geneamusings.com/2020/05/saturday-night-genealogy-fun-your-where.html

Here is mine:

I am from California, coastal and inland, north and south.

Built-in bookcases with Snow White and Rose Red, Leaves of Grass, Somerset Maugham,

abridged books and World Book Encyclopedia,

so useful for plagiarizing my book report in a pre-internet world.

I’m from the ice plant, the bouganville, the pampas grass, and geraniums.

I am from the Easter Bunny, Christmas stockings, angel hair and icicles.

From Rivieras, Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, and my re-called Pinto.

I’m from flights on twa and PanAm, and cross-country road trips

With too many in the back seat.

I’m from Birthday parties with cousins and piñatas, the Wizard of Oz once a year,

and watching Walt Disney every Sunday night. In the den.

I’m from Mom and Dad and Nana and Grampa, Holmquists, Maloneys,

McCullers and Kelleys. Bradleys, Mounts, Svenssons, and Dustons.

I’m from Episcopalians, Lutherans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists,

Methodists and Quakers, and from those I sought refuge in the 3 jewels.

I come from families devastated by the Spanish flu and war,

Then by addiction, arrogance and general smugness.

I come from Walter Cronkite’s voice, the new Star Trek episode,

Saturday morning cartoons with Cheerios, and my kid brother Mark.

Afternoons at the beach with an AM transistor radio..

Cutting class to hang out at UCLA, pretending to be in college.

I am from Mom’s only two recipes, tagliarini and marinated mushrooms.

I am from Nana’s scrambled eggs and bacon, and banana ice cream.

I am from waking Kristine up too early, after-school employment,

sailing with Dustin, and eating raw cookie dough.

I come from race riots and war protests and sit-ins and campaigns,

And bombastic opinions from both sides of the aisle

I come from Cocktail glasses with clinking ice, my clothes smelling like parental cigarette smoke,

glass milk bottles on the porch in the morning, and fending for myself.

I’m from the endless dusty used bookstores of Downtown San Diego,

and DG Wills, Mithras Bookstore, Unicorn Theater in La Jolla.

Aromatic eucalyptus groves of UCSD then UC Berkeley, Telegraph Avenue,

The Med’, Fondue Fred’s, Cody’s Books and the Eastbay Express.

I am from La Jolla, Berkeley, Oakland, Castro Valley, Morgan Hill.

From Bakersfield, San Francisco, Healdsburg, Monterey,

From Salina, Kansas, Gadsden, Alabama, Derbyshire, Sweden

Old England, New England, Scotland & Ireland.

I am from fighter pilots, accountants, gun-runners and diplomats.

Ranchers and farmers, opera singers and government employees.

Frontiersmen, war Heroes, Mothers, teachers, blacksmiths, nurses.

I am from alcoholics, Mad Men, broken dreams and starting over.

I am from the adventurous, bootstrapping, sailing around the horn with 5 kids and $5, pushing a carted iron stove 300 miles on a rutted trail, baby born en route kind of people.

We are stubborn, both in ideals and afflictions.

And affections.

4 thoughts on “Where I’m From, a Poetic Assignment

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