Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where I'm From





Inspired by the always inspirational Mary, in turn inspired by Meggie who was inspired by Molly.


I am from dirt roads and gravel streets. Soaring pine trees, azalea bushes and dogwoods. I am from long growing seasons that last from February until October. I am from boiling hot summers spent barefoot outside with dips in ponds and rivers to cool off. From delicious fresh blackberries and hot boiled peanuts. Sweet iced tea, fried eggplant and low country boils topped off with fresh peach cobbler. Muscadine or Scuppernog grapes eaten off the vine. White-tailed deer and gopher tortoises, cotton, alfalfa, soybean and tobacco fields, cows, pigs, chickens and goats. The land of Martin Luther King, jr and Ray Charles. Birthplace of Coca-cola.

I’m from hand-me-downs and parents who went without new clothes, new shoes and new cars so that we could have more of the things we wanted: Nikes, stone-washed jeans, leather jackets and neon shirts. I'm from new Easter dresses and bonnets and white Sunday shoes with lace-edged socks. Hand-made costumes, dresses, blankets and doll clothes. Sunday mornings spent in Sunday School followed by a big family dinner.

I'm from Scottish, English, French and Italian ancestors. I'm from grandparents who lived in the great depression. My paternal grandmother made diapers from flour sacks and fabric salvaged from the textile mills. She could make 2.5 diapers from each flour sack. She made biscuits without a recipe. Her name was Addie. Her mother's name was Addie and her grandmother's name was Addie. I’m from a paternal grandfather who was quiet, never still and always took me with him to the post office to get the mail. He died when I was 4. I still miss him.

I’m from my mother’s father. A tall, thin redhead who was always dressed neatly and talked so softly you sometimes couldn’t understand him. I’m from this man who once threatened to kill a boy who bullied my mother. From my mother’s mother who kept our cookie jar full and smelled of Jergen’s lotion and Jean Nate body splash. Who was trim and blonde and gave birth to a daughter while her husband was at war.

I'm from a teacher and a college drop out. If I close my eyes I can feel one of my mother's hugs. I can see her dark hair turning peppery then gray. I remember watching her read. Asking a question and waiting for whole minutes until she drug her eyes away from her book to answer. She stayed up late working on science projects that we left to the last minute. I'm from a father who spells enter “inter” because that's the way it sounds. A man who built the house I grew up in with lumber from his father's lumber mill. From big bear hugs and gruff “I love you’s”.

I'm from a bed shared with my sister and a bedside table stacked tall with books. From cold hardwood floors and a warm fireplace and no air conditioning. From hot sticky nights in front of an open window with the sounds of night life outside lulling me to a sweaty sleep and cold nights with the heavy weight of layers of handmade quilts piled on for warmth and crisp air chilling my nose.

From friends I've known since Kindergarten and teachers who taught my parents and siblings before me. From very strict etiquette: “yes ma'am” and “no sir”, “may I be excused” and thank you notes written for each gift received. I am from the Southern U.S.A. Whose past is filled with good and ugly, but whose beauty astounds me each new day and whose future I see in the eyes of my children.

** Mary did a much better job. I didn't stick to the template at all. I'm so not a rule follower! **

17 comments:

Rob said...
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Melinda said...
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soozadoo said...

I love this! I absolutely love it, I wish I could hear it read in your (imagined in my mind) sweet Southern Drawl.

alice said...

Arn't these great, though? I have read so many of late, and been inspired to my own. I am loving the reads. Yours is terrific!

M said...

Lovely Melinda, just lovely. I can really imagine your home and your past.

Stomper Girl said...

This is lovely, and such a great way to get an insight. I'm with Sussanah I want to hear it with a southern drawl...

Precious Pink Pumps said...

This is my favourite post of yours. You had me with the first sentence and I hung to every word until the very end - felt like I was watching a movie as I read. I am such a visual person. Your words really took me there. Thanks for such a beautiful post. Promise me you will print this out for your kids x

Fairlie said...

I am just loving all these "Where I'm from" posts. Have full intentions of doing one myself...when I get around to it.

I particularly liked your last line. It says it all really.

Team SAK said...

What a great blog entry giving us all a little window into your world.

kirsty said...

I'm reading and re-reading all of these. So gorgeous(with or without the accent)!

bluemountainsmary said...

Oh my dearest HA

I want you to delete that last comment re mine. Please.
I read this whole thing with tears in my eyes and wonder at the beauty of what you had written.

I am so glad you wrote this beautiful piece.

I have been away - that is why it has taken so long to comment.

Aunty Evil said...

Nice. You did a good job. Don't let me hear you say otherwise.

Or I'll punch ya.

peppermintpatcher said...

Amazing to read familiar things- heat, cool breezes - and things completely unfamiliar too - white tail deer and gopher headed tortoises. It read like poetry from first word til last.

PS you know coca-cola? I'm impressed

Ali Honey said...

Thanks for writing this Melinda, it had parts familiar and parts unknown, for me. You are the first person to mention quilts in their I am From.

kristen said...

what a beautiful blog page!!!!
Kristen

Yolanda said...

I think we have similar backgrounds. Where in the south are you from?

Melinda said...

Thank you for your lovely comments. This was so interesting to do and I really enjoyed it.

Yolanda, I'm from South Georgia. A very small town named Metter. I now live in Statesboro, home of Georgia Southern University.

And I do have a drawl.

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