This post was previously published on my blog almost a year ago. But because today is ironically the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and because of Hurricane Isaac, I wanted to share this again. And I’m praying for no flooding.
(I found this writing excercise via Galit Breen’s blog, These Little Waves, and she got it from Mama Kat. If you’d like to give it a shot, you can find Mama Kat’s template here. Based on the original poem-Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon.)
I am from heaping plates of Camellia red beans over rice with andouille sausage, from Haydel’s King Cakes long before they had cream cheese in the middle, and drive-through daquiri shops that sell by “go cup” or the gallon.
I am from the two-story red brick house on Livingston with a pea-gravel driveway and lots of lush landscaping. I’m from ligustrum and birch trees, liriope, and Confederate jasmine. I’m from snowball stands, beignets with powdered sugar and the Roman Candy Man.
I am from rivers and lakes with long names, St. Augustine grass that’s hard and crunchy under bare feet. I am from a city of steamy summers that lacks four seasons. I am from a city where the levees hold back muddy water, where alligators lurk and moss hangs in heaps from ancient oak trees.
I am from Baskin Robbins on Friday afternoons after school and lots of anxiety; I am from Best, Hicks, Guten and Margoles. I am from a cat named Mateus, a stray dog named Zoe and a beloved Yorkshire terrier named Darby. I am from several buried goldfish and two parakeets named Jack and Jack.
I am from Tums takers, list makers and Monopoly players. I’m from “MYOB!” (mind your own business), “Be on your best behavior,” and “Who Dat!”
I am from Judaism, from Bubbe Sarah who lived in Russia. I am from little religion, but always the desire to learn more, be more, and do more. I am from the six million who perished in the Holocaust. I am from those who will never forget.
I am from New Orleans, Milwaukee and Millington, Tennessee; from crawfish boils, shrimp poboys and bagels with lox and cream cheese. I am from Mardi Gras, Bud’s Broiler, voodoo dolls and plantations.
I am from Grandma Frances who birthed four sons and lost one in a car accident; from Grandma Betty who struggled with bipolar disorder and lost the battle with her demons; and from my mother, Julie, who went back to college in her 40s and completed grad school while juggling three kids, a gay husband and a divorce.
I am from silent home movies, photo albums with yellowing pages, and pictures in frames. I am from baby books stuffed with souvenirs, and silver cups and rattles with my name engraved on them. I am from white baby shoes with scuffed up toes and worn laces.
I am from love, laughter, and lots of memories.