I am from amber waves of grain as far as the horizon stretches, from John Deer tractors and garden-fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes shooting out of the fertile black farm soil in my grandparents’ backyards.
I am from more houses than can be counted on two hands but most memorably and most longstanding, I’m from the creaky stairs descending to a basement bedroom of a quaint white house flooded by both morning and afternoon sunlight, always drenched in song lyrics and laced with harmony and melody.
I am from golden corn stalks towering above my head, lush, green hostas lining my mother’s flower beds and fresh hydrangeas cut from the backyard bush and transplanted to a vase on the kitchen table.
I am from biscuits and gravy on Christmas morning and thick copper-penny hair, from the Testas and the Walschlaeggers, from Nona and Papa Ross.
I am from the thoughtful, slow words of four doting grandmothers and strong, opinionated dialogue around the dinner table.
From she bleeds words onto pages and she’d be so pretty if …
I am from brimstone and fire and Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. And, later, from saving grace, promises of a Creator who spoke the world into existence and who knows every hair on my head.
I’m from St. James Hospital, Chicago Heights, Illinois and fine sand gently sloping into the shallow, clear water of San Benedetto del Tronto, from home-made strawberry rhubarb pie and sautéed spinach with frutta del mar.
From the time when my then 10-year-old father almost set my grandparents garage ablaze, the day my mother, then 17, lost her favorite Bruce Springsteen shirt to the mighty undertow of the Kankakee River while canoeing through Rock Creek, and the hushed memories of a grandfather who trudged through northern Africa during World War II.
I am from a basement stacked with boxes, all lined with baby books and newspaper clippings, first haircuts and captured pictures from sunset chasing, overflowing with journal pages penned amid the soft nightlight glow of more midnights, more years than can be easily counted. From picture collages hanging in the upstairs hallway of my grandparent’s home, dusted, permanently on display, preserved for the eyes of the generations that want a little help in remembering and also those who will soak up the images, considering them blueprints for the houses they are building, maps headed straight to where they are from.
Hyacynth writes about motherhood, faith and organic living almost daily at Undercover Mother.