Where I’m From…

I am from steaming breakfasts of golden, crispy bird’s nests with magnificent runny yolks, from impossibly weak Maxwell House coffee and pre-dawn moments of true connection.

I am from the salmony pink-shingled house on the corner, drafty, sunny, and melancholy. Three front steps, ever in need of fresh paint, slightly wobbly from the destructive frosting and heaving of the long and brutal winter.

I am from the unkempt clusters of lilacs, scattered dandelions gone to seed, tendrils of fuchsia bleeding hearts, stolen  and fragile jack-in-the pulpits, and haphazard bouquets of fringed chrysanthemums.  

I am from high school diplomas and honest work, from Robert and Max and Judy.  Vegetable gardens of diligence and abundance, encouragement and acceptance, freedom and wild brambly raspberries.   

I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt.

From uncanny paternal resemblance and from the weight of the loss of my father placed upon my childhood.  A stand in, but never a replacement.

I am from bean suppers on Saturday evenings. Cream pies, Jello salads, blue hair, and integrity and kindness.

I am from the intersection of Catholicism and Northern Baptist. Where the Trinity meets God and Jesus.  Where faith meets practice.

I’m from New England, Maine, Fairfield, tourtiere pie and sticky, chocolatey whoopie pies.  

From the legacy of my father’s senseless murder, my Pépère’s faintly beer-scented breath, his ever-present and lovely banjo, Hawaiian melodies, and his tender and loving soul.  

I am from the cedar hope chest, tiny golden key, idyllic dreams, childhood report cards, penmanship awards, and two unlikely college graduation caps and gowns.

51 comments

  1. Oh, this was lovely, dear one.

    Just…lovely.

  2. hisbell

    So you were the blue haired kid? :)

    Beautifully, eloquently written… I loved the visual description of the florals…

    And thank you for the words on my post…

  3. kris prettyalltrue.com

    What lovely poetry.

    What lovely truths.

    What lovely empty spaces you have left, into which we might pour ourselves.

    Sigh.

  4. Cyrene muminflipflops.com

    This left me wanting more! You write so beautifully!! I'm a fan. :D Oh and the sticky chocolatey whoopie pies sound divine!

  5. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you so very much, Lori.
    The act of writing it was surprisingly emotional.
    It felt nice to go back, to smell and feel those things that surrounded me as a child.

  6. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you so much for your kind words.
    I so enjoyed this prompt…it was a lovely indulgence to just sit and recall things that I don't make time to think about in the craziness of my everyday life.

  7. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you so much.
    It's amazing how much those little things influence who we are.
    When I got to the part about the flowers and vegetable garden, I was delightfully lost in memories of my grandparents.

  8. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you…for so many things. For reading, for commenting, and for being my friend.
    I write with you in my mind more often than you know.

  9. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Oh, they are incredibly delicious!
    Thank you for your kind words about my writing.
    I loved this prompt.

  10. kerrisklutter75

    I loved this prompt too. It was such a great way to dig inside and then we get to read everyone's and really feel them too.
    I've been so emotional today and I think it's because of all this great writing. Pouring our hearts out, describing our memories, smells, thoughts.
    Beautiful writing. I loved the description of your house, it was so easy to visualize.

  11. Natalie mommyofamonster.com

    Beautiful…your words dance! And they are warm and inviting.

    Thank you for pushing me to try this – I hope one day that my words will flow like yours. I enjoyed doing this because I was surprised by the feelings of childhood it stirred up – mostly happy, but not all.

  12. Cheryl @ Mommypants mommypants.com

    Beautiful. Simply. You rocked it, as I knew you would. The flower part was my favorite.

    Sigh.

  13. Amy @ NTT nevertruetales.com

    So lovely! I'm loving reading the responses to this challenge!

  14. Kay notanything.us

    "I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt."

    I love your writings! You seem to find the words that describe emotion completely.

  15. BringUpBee bringingupbronwyn.com

    Beautiful prose.

    I love you a little bit more with each post of yours.

  16. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you so much.
    I wrote this last night and found myself taken away by so many vivid memories.
    I have absolutely loved reading the other submissions…so many souls laid bare on the page.

  17. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    That's the thing about memory, for me at least…with every handful of good memories, there is bound to be an unhappy one in the mix.

    I'm so happy that you participated. I absolutely loved your final product. I could feel your emotion just leap off the page.

    And thank youso very much for your kind words, Natalie. :)

  18. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    My grandmother had a flower garden and the process of gathering these memories up took me back to afternoons spent choosing flowers for bouquets. Getting lost in that memory was truly a gift.

    Thank you…

  19. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you for your kind words, Kay!

  20. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, my friend.
    I'm so happy that you tried your hand at the prompt. :)

  21. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, Amy!

  22. I love that you touched the negative briefly, and followed with a positive. I'm still battling my demons, so I left them out. Ha. Gorgeously written, and welcome to The Red Dress Club. Thanks for being willing to guide us.

  23. I'll love this. "I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt." So much in our beginnings, our genesis. Thank you for sharing yourself with such honesty and beauty. You have a true gift!

  24. Rebekah C. thoughtfulmomma.com

    This is beautiful.

  25. Kellie azharkers.blogspot.com

    Beautifully written. Made me remember my parents cedar chest filled with all out things from childhood. I really liked "I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt."

  26. Gorgeous & filled with emotion. I especially love the floral descriptions; they are written with such detail and love.

  27. Candice fashionablyorganized.com

    Wow, that actually brought me to tears. It was really great! By the way I'm from the inherent guilt too.

  28. I really loved reading this. Written beautifully with so much emotion. Love the line "delayed gratification, and inherent guilt". Love how you can convey so much with very key and descriptive words. :)

  29. Ratz ratz-whatcanisay.blogspot.com/

    I bet you did…. these things dust up in our memories and prompts like these tend to clear the cobwebs and gathered dust… this is some exercise

  30. absolutely lovely

  31. ksluiter

    this is beautiful! I actually do a writing assignment VERY similar to this one with my ninth graders…maybe I should post the example I wrote for them about me. I haven't looked at it in a LONG time!

    Yours? beautiful woven with joy and pain and hope.

    Lovely. Just like you.

  32. ericka alabastercow.com

    oh man, this is a good one. but this line "I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt" took my breath away simply because it's shockingly cold and truthful after such a beautiful opening. and then you continue to play on it each time you mention your father. i thoroughly enjoyed this.

  33. Kirsten nilsenlife.blogspot.com

    "freedom and wild brambly raspberries." – such a simple juxtaposition, and oh-so-beautiful at the end of that section. I love how it is both metaphor and literal all at once.

    this was really excellent stuff.

  34. BLR Graham olahmomma.com

    Beautiful!

    Following your lovely blog.

  35. This is such a beautiful post, and so intelligently written, it's simply breathtaking.

  36. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you so much for your gracious words. :)
    I really loved writing this post.

  37. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you!

  38. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you. That line was one of my favorite parts.
    I still love the scent of cedar…it brings me back to my childhood every time I smell it.

  39. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you so much. I loved writing it.
    I miss you!

  40. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, Angela!
    I can still see those flowers in my mind…my grandmother used to grow every flower imaginable.
    I loved the days we spent gardening together.

  41. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, Candice. That inherent guilt is tricky stuff, isn't it?

  42. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you so much, Melissa. I can't tell you how much your comment means to me.

  43. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    I would love to read that, Katie!

    Thank you for your kind words. You are a wonderful friend.

  44. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, Ericka.
    A compliment like that? Coming from you? Amazing!

  45. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, Kirsten.
    Thank you ever so much!

  46. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you…

  47. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, my beautiful friend.

  48. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    That's kind of the story of who I am … for every negative, I will list a handful of positives, because those are the things that I choose to focus on.

    When you're ready to do battle, you'll know. And we'll be here to read.

    Thank you for coming by and for making me feel welcome in The Red Dress Club. I'm so happy to be a part of such a talented group of writers.

  49. CDG

    Lovely as always, Nichole.

    my favorite line?

    "I am from the unkempt clusters of lilacs, scattered dandelions gone to seed, tendrils of fuchsia bleeding hearts, stolen and fragile jack-in-the pulpits, and haphazard bouquets of fringed chrysanthemums."

    I can see it. Perfectly

  50. Oh. Breathtaking.
    "I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt."
    Yes.

  51. wow absolutely beautiful! what a lovely glimpse into who you are.

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