A few days ago, I read a post on Lisa Hall Wilson’s blog in which she wrote about her family background. She asked readers to join her, using a template titled, “I am from.” My writing is taking a bit different direction (more about that next week and in my upcoming newsletter), so this post fits perfectly. To join Lisa, or to read her story, please click here.
I am from humble beginnings. Oreo cookies shared with my Boston Terrier Mugsie, riding in the back of Daddy’s ’51 Chevy pick-up down Legion Hill Road, trips to town for a blue coconut snow cone, fishing in our neighbor’s pond, and listening to baseball games every night on the radio.
I am from the simple white framed house where extended family sat around the kitchen table, the older folks talked about the “good old days,” where the coffee pot stayed full, family dinners happened every night, and the aroma of Mom’s chocolate and coconut pies filled the air.
I am from blackberries growing in wild abandon along the roadsides, from oak, pine, and sweet gum trees, and wading in the creek on hot summer days. I am from roaming the woods on imaginary adventures, accompanied by my little Chihuahua Gypsy, and where I pretended to be Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web even though I was terrified of spiders. I am from following my big brother around and helping bury a piece of his pottery in hopes that some future civilization would find it and discover something about life in twentieth century America.
I am from family reunions, playing with my cousins, and Aunt Jessie’s turkey and dressing and apple pie. I am from a time when folks sat outside on hot summer evenings and ate homemade ice cream. I am from Papaw Scott’s stately manner, Uncle Jack’s tall tales, and when we always had plenty of black pepper for Aunt Mary and ribbon cane syrup for Uncle Tom when they visited.
I am from Missouri roots that say, “show me” and “I’ll believe it when I see it,” and sometimes arguing for no particular reason. I am from the forever young baby boom generation, Beatles music, seventies rock, and M*A*S*H. I am from watching American Bandstand with my brother on an old black and white TV with a quilt draped over it during the day because one of the tubes didn’t work and that was the only way we could see the picture.
I am from family roots steeped in superstition and where they told ghost stories by the light of an oil lamp when lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and the electricity failed.
I am from a family of strong faith, where my third great-grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, my grandparents helped plant churches, my mother prayed, my daddy read his Bible, and where we always said grace before a meal.
I am from a family who valued the importance of integrity and believed in doing an honest day’s work. I am from farmers and factory workers and a time when my daddy always had a large garden. Where I would hide among the tall stalks of corn and a typical family meal consisted of beans, corn bread, and fried potatoes.
I am from Scotch-Irish heritage, descended from the first ancestor to come to America in the 1700s to North Carolina, Missouri, and finally Texas, each time hoping for a better way of life. I am from the fourth great-grandfather who fought for America’s independence in the Revolutionary War.
I am from family photos that date back to the early 1900s, doilies and bedspreads crocheted by Grandmother James, from an electric train, dolls, and Little Golden books that are carefully stowed away. I am from my mother’s treasured mementos such as locks of hair from both mine and my brother’s first haircuts, and a small wooden pencil that belonged to an uncle whom I never knew, but kept in the cedar chest where my aunt placed it.
I am the adult who cherishes these memories, is proud of her heritage, lives in the family home, and who often wonders how life has changed so much with one generation.
Where are you from?