Cynthia, Wil, and Mary all partook of this wonderful writing exercise. Their resulting pieces were beautiful, magical, deep… And, well…this is what I ended up with:

I am from station wagons, from Kool-aid and Turf-builder.
I am from the three bedroom, one bath ticky tacky box
with the swath of weedy lawn; from lightning bugs, june bugs,
and mosquitoes the size of small birds.
From nights near as hot as the days, spread-eagled on sticky sheets, crickets creaking, horns honking,
trains rumbling and whistling in the distance…
I am from Snow to the eaves, jewel-studded ice storms,
and green-black thunderstorms with sideways rain

I am from bright red tulips, honeysuckle berries,
and worms on the driveway after a cloudburst;
From daisies, tiny wild strawberries, “Queen Anne’s Lace”
and crashing the kite into power lines.

I am from “look what followed me home from school”
and never having too many animals; from Taffy, and Rusty,
and Sunny, the yellow-headed parakeet, who could say
“Happy Birthday” but only when he thought no one was listening….

I am from the women who shuttle the carpool, punch the clock,
scrub the toilet, then climb into the bottle, the herb,
or the fantasy to quiet the noise in their heads
and the men they choose to rescue, or who choose to rescue them

From “when you meet the right one, you’ll just know”
and “Your dad was a virgin when we were married…”
I am from the dutiful eldest daughter who paired off,
home made and pro-created at the appointed time,
and the other four who didn’t.

I am from the tearful Catholic and the stoic agnostic;
the rope stretched taut between belief and unbelief,
pulled one direction, then the other…the eternal tug-of-war never won.

I’m from pioneers of urban exile; before the country clubs,
the soccer, and the rolls royces.
I’m from the first McDonald’s and the last Tastee Freeze.

I am from the great mouldering box in the upstairs closet,
roaring twenties studio sepias stacked on
shiny square instamatic shots discoloring with age.
I am from the five stair-steps, the Christmas trees, the campfires,
and the blurred mountains captured from a moving car.

I am from the unlikely union of a country boy and a city girl,
brought together by Hitler and Hirohito,
and the neighborhood of compromise that kept them both sane…almost.