I am from…

For my writing class, we had to write an “I am from” poem based on a poem by Mary Pipher in her book, “Writing to Change the World.” When I first read her poem, I was a bit overwhelmed by how personal it was and the idea of writing something that took so much inner reflection and recollection really  terrified me. But, write it I had to. And, even though I make no pretense that I am a poet, I’m kind of proud of it. So, here it is, as a way for you to get to know me and where my writing comes from.

I am from Lee and Kathy

I am from Hudson, NY on the coldest Super Bowl Sunday ever

From the Chatham Fair and Ichabod Crane “Were you guys EVER in school?”

Long bike rides through the hills and farms of Columbia County

                                                                                                         

I am from Irish-American and French-Canadian roots

I am from factory laborers and nurses, carpenters and secretaries

From WWII Navy machinists and pharmacists mates

Camel cigarettes, fishing, Readers Digest and Hire’s Root Beer floats

 

I am from conservative grandparents and liberal parents

I am from “Don’t talk politics at dinner tonight”

From no-nukes rallies and Nixon’s resignation speech on cassette tape,

Slide shows from election monitoring in Nicaragua and signed pictures of Ollie North

 

I am from a small family, me and mom and dad

I am from family vacations camping and canoeing and hiking

From bookstores and libraries and museums, concerts and folk festivals

Long car trips listening to my walkman and reading, from northern Ontario to Key West

 

I am from Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and 80’s British pop

I am from Sesame Street, MASH, Nova and Doctor Who

From Star Wars, ET, Breaking Away and Bull Durham

“For wanting things that can only be found in the darkness on the edge of town” written on the train overpass

 

I am from Beatrix Potter and Richard Scarey

I am from Austin and Bradbury, Lewis and Tolkein, and Adams

From running out of bookcases and books piled on the floor

Laughing until we cried reading Pinkwater aloud as a family in the tent before bed

 

I am from hot summer days in the creek

I am from berry picking and eating pea’s right out of the garden

From freezing corn, making jam, picking up night crawlers after the rain

Thunder rolling in as I sit on the garage door swing watching the clouds

 

I am from the smell of roast beef and perfect mashed potatoes on Sunday afternoons

I am from macrobiotic vegetarian, “What is that? Skunk food?”

From cakes baked from scratch and homemade mac and cheese

Snickerdoodles waiting for me after school, grandma’s applesauce with every meal

 

I am from fire trucks and ambulances

I am from long days and sleepless nights helping people in crisis

From generations of families serving their community

The realization of a 3 year old’s dream, the first female firefighter in Valatie

 

I am from vowing I would “never even think of dating seriously until I finished my Bachelor’s”

I am from marrying my high school sweetheart at 20 and going to community college

From having a good career even if it wasn’t the path I planned

Realizing you don’t really know the person you’ve been married to for 10 years and mom never quite saying “I told you so”

 

I am from losing a whole huge extended family in divorce

I am from raising a daughter Sunday through Thursday

From losing my mom to cancer and relearning to live with my dad

Rediscovering life with the help of my daughter and watching the circle continue

 

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