Writing Me: Where I’m From {Hyacynth}

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.

Where I’m From is a Community Writing Project inspired by this prompt. We’ll be hosting a link up coming soon so we can all read about the places from which we each hale. 

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24 responses to “Writing Me: Where I’m From {Hyacynth}

  1. Your life sounds like a sweet Midwestern fairytale Hy. It ebbed and flowed, The love is palpable through your words, imagery, and memories. I loved getting to know “where you are from” just a little more. You are such a good person. This was such a wonderful piece of writing. love ya, friend! :)

  2. Parts of it were Midwestern bliss … so I rolled with it and focused on the better and best pieces of growing up. The beauty of this prompt is that most of us could go so many different places with it, you know? I could have focused more so on the city-dwelling of my first few years and the infusions of time spent in Chicago Heights, a rough area, visiting my father. But, alas, when I think of home, I think more of cornfields now than skyscrapers and rough neighborhoods. Thanks for the compliments, Alita. Love you, lady!

  3. love this one!!!! Very midwestern, indeed.

  4. Extremely, right? I spent lots of time running away from my small-town past, but I’m coming to embrace it.

  5. How beautiful. I love the visual and the emotional reactions this creates.
    What an interesting thought. Where are you from? Hmmm, I will have to think about this one.

  6. Thanks, friend. I would love to read yours! We’ll be hosting a link up pretty soon. :) I’m sure you’ll have a hard time writing yours because you have such a juxtaposition in terms of background, too! But it’s fun to reflect and try and blend everything together.

  7. This was so beautifully written. You’re one of my favorite writers.

  8. Love this ebb and flow of your history!

  9. I loved how the imagery of golden flows through the whole piece just as the grain flows in a field. Well done friend, well done!

  10. this just adds to my desire to know you IRL. :)

  11. I could read these all day. I’m definitely going to have to find the time to write mine now.

  12. oh, there’s an ache behind your lovely word pictures. i love these exercises and cannot wait to swap stories in person. xo

  13. I just love this! I LOVE how this gives me a window into my bloggy friends.

    One of my favorite parts….

    “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.”

    Beautiful poetry….

  14. As a midwest girl, this warmed my heart and made me smile. Your descriptions are lyrical. *sigh*

  15. I love how you used the “amber waves of grain” and I love the imagery of journal pages penned under nightlights at midnight. What a lovely piece!

  16. So much overlap in where we are from. The Midwestern thing which you could not convince me to trade. And the moving from fire and brimstone to a God of grace. But this….Walschlaeggers….I love! Now that is a name of color and history and substance!

  17. Wow! Just amazing! I don’t think I can add anything more from all the above comments but I loved every line of your piece. Your writing is so intentional and full of beauty.

  18. Don’t know how I overlooked this one. :) Came back to read all the Where I’m From posts and here was this gem. You are quite a writer…super inspirational. I love reading your words.

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