Thursday, October 1, 2015

31 Days of Life Stores #1

During the month of October, I'm sharing family stories. Stories of events from long ago that shaped me into who I am today. And stories that show what a long way I've got to go ...

Check the bottom of this post each day for links to each day's story.

I was debating about sharing my earliest childhood memories for my first post in this series but then decided the best place to start was to let you know where I'm from.

Because what you came from influences a person's life greatly. And so I'm sharing a piece I wrote last winter during a Writer's Workshop exercise. I think it sums up my up-bringing very nicely in just a few paragraphs. (For those of you who have already read it, I apologize. I did add some additional thoughts)


I am from Pepsi and homemade Chef-Boy-R-Dee pizzas made by my dad every Saturday night while we watched Perry Mason.
I am from two-story old white houses in a Chicago suburb where we sat on plastic slip-covered couches then moved to a long rambling block house with crank-out Jalousie windows in the Florida countryside.
I am from trees big enough to hold tree houses and porch swings and festooned with garlands of Spanish moss.
I'm from people who tended orchards and sold watermelons, who were blacksmiths, and truckers, and worked in factories with a little waitressing on the side. I'm from the Winns and the Haslauers with more than a little Isom and Chamness thrown in.

I'm from playing games around the table with my Granny and brother. Bingo, Fish, Arfners (Authors) and Candyland were our nightly entertainment. And when I got older, Scrabble!
I'm from those who just have to say one more thing even when it will only make things worse. I come from a family that wants to do what they want to do WHEN they want to do it (and not a moment before). And God's grace encircled us even through the bad times.
From "I'm late, I'm late for a very important date," to "It's beddy-beddy time for Jerri Leetle Lea."

I'm from Pentecostal worship with Southern Baptist roots. I'm from grace before meals, bed-time prayers, and God's grace encircling us through good times and bad.
I'm from wearing your best to church every Sunday morning after spending the night with my hair rolled up in pink sponge rollers. I'm from looking your best whenever you step out into the "puglick" (public).
I'm from southern Illinois and beans and cornbread with plenty of apple butter thrown in. I'm from stories around the dinner table with lots of sweet tea.

From the family table every night with the evening news running in the background. Every little bit, we'd have to hush because Dad was "trying to listen to the news here."
From the first time my daddy met my mama working in a restaurant, my story was set. My mama introduced her cousin to my dad's brother. A double elopement of my parents and my aunt and uncle followed. My closest childhood friends were my double cousins.
I'm from a family that developed a hatred of snow and cold weather so we packed up and headed out of Chicago, Florida bound. My uncle and aunt and cousins came, too. We were a caravan of U-hauls, station wagons and boat trailers loaded up just like the Clampetts heading to Beverly Hills. Grandma Sybil was a part of our group but she most assuredly was not a "granny." She was a very classy lady. And God's grace followed us and encircled us through good times and bad.

I was a transplanted Yankee who learned to live in the South where "Yes, ma'am" and "No Sir" was always the proper response. I'm from parents who believed you should behave yourself in school. Their job was to provide my basic needs, my job was to be a good student. If we children got in trouble in school, it only meant getting in trouble at home.
We are a clan of good intentions who love intensely but have trouble showing it, who believe in standing behind your "people," who never step out into the "public" unless you can put your best foot forward. We're back-row sitters who sometimes can be the life of the party - when we want to be.
And God's grace encircled us through good times and bad.
The takeaway I want to remember from this story of where I'm from is the part, "God's grace encircled us through good times and bad." Our family is very human and we've messed up. Big. Time. But God was always there anytime we wanted to reach out and grab on to Him. Let any future generation of my family (or your family) remember He is only a prayer away.
This post is #1 in my series, 31 Days of Life Stories. Hundreds of writers are linking up at the 31 Day Writing Challenge hosted by Crystal Stine. There is a wealth of information on many topics. Go visit and see! I'll be posting under the category "Inspiration and Faith."

Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13  
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19
Day 20
Day 21  
Day 22
Day 23 
Day 24
Day 25
Day 26
Day 27  
Day 28 
Day 29
Day 30
Day 31


Karla Cook @ Roads to Everywhere said...

Great start! I like the "I'm from..." approach you took. I've written up many of my childhood memories, but I've never done an exercise like this. I think I'll add it to my writing prompts list. I lived in so many different places growing up that I never really know what to say when people as where I'm from, but I could come up with something like this, I betcha. Thanks for sharing!

betty said...

Seems like you came from "good roots" and so true with your statement about God encircling you and your family. Looking forward to reading your stories this month :)


Tori Leslie said...

I love your story. I think you described your family perfectly and I loved reading about where you're from. Looking forward to the next story.

Sandi said...

"...Their job was to provide my basic needs, my job was to be a good student. If we children got in trouble in school, it only meant getting in trouble at home."

A LOT of wisdom in this!

Denise said...

wonderful story.

Anonymous said...

Very well written story of where your from!! Enjoyed reading this part of your story...

Lux G. said...

That's a powerful beginning. And I so love the photo you used. The color is wonderful.