Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where I'm From.

Warning: Extraordinarily random post ahead.
Literally where I'm from.

Today I was thinking about my "Top Ten" and had nothing popping into my head worth listing. I put it on ice and decided to wait to be inspired. Well. . . .I didn't get inspired to make my top ten, but I did get inspired.

The inspiration came from a "blog meme" that I learned of while reading one of my favorite blogs this week and again today.

Before you ask what in the expletive-of-your-choice a "meme" is, I'll tell you. A "meme" is like an idea, a theme or a topic that somehow gets thrown out there that then goes viral. Well, not really viral per se. . .but an idea or thought that gets passed around. In the blog-writing world, a blog meme is something that prompts a topic on a blog. (Thanks for that definition, Ann!)

As it turns out, there's other memes, too. An internet meme might be that same email that everybody and their mama keeps asking you to forward to five thousand people, or some youtube video that no matter where you go, seems to be embedded in somebody's site--and that you just can't stop looking at.

Kind of like this one which I find equal parts horrible and hilarious:


My blog-friend (and author of the aforementioned) happens to be both a real blogger and a "stay-at-home-humorist" and she was the one who humored me with this . . . blog meme. . that she used for her last post. This meme--wait, can't we just say "theme?"--is called "Where I'm from" and its origin lies deep inside of a touchy-feely poem by George Ella Lyon (who I admittedly just heard of today but who does seem kind of cool.)

Okay. The way it works is that you make your own version of "Where I'm From" by including details applicable to you. Ann (the stay-at-home humorist ) shared this link that kind of explains how to do it in detail. (Thanks again, Ann.)

Yeah. So I read the details, reread Ann's post, felt inspired and decided to do it (since when it came to the top ten I had nothin.')

One of the things the description said about this exercise is that "the prompts have a way of drawing out memories of the smells of attics and bottom-drawer keepsakes."

Well. . . I don't know about all that, but I do know that Ann (the stay-at-home-humorist's) super witty version did make me laugh . . . . .and want take a crack at it. . . .

So here we are. Today, I bring you my version of "Where I'm From." And yeah, yeah I know today is supposed to be the Top Ten. . . but a girl has to go with her inspiration!

Drum roll please. . . . . .


Where I'm From: A Throwback Love Story
What you know about Chinese jump rope?
What you know about ice cream man?
What you know about Radio Raheem?

Where am I from?

Man. . . I'm from street lights that come on at dusk and butt-whoopin's if you don't get in the house before they do; from Skippy peanut butter and Welch's grape; from fried baloney sandwiches, Ramen noodles, and "breakfast for dinner."

I'm from green stucco houses sandblasted with precision, from one tree per lot, and from shorts on Christmas. I'm from metal swingsets that squeak from the rust that rubs off on your hands and pants but that still work just fine, and from go ask your mama if she can "loan" me a cup of sugar and some buttermilk.

I'm from "hot peas and butter!". . . from double-dutch on the corner from sun up to sun down with the good phone cord, from Chinese jacks, Chinese jumprope, and Chinese chicken salad. I'm from cornrows by my homegirl Bernetta complete with beads and tin foil on the end that let you swing your hair back and forth; I'm from sizzling Blue Magic under pressing combs in the kitchen and "hold yo' head still 'fore I burn you!"

I'm from Tom and Jerry, Schoolhouse Rock, and "Michael Jackson is on Soul Train!" I'm from "Damn! Damn! Damn!" after Florida lost James, from "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" and getting socked in the eye real hard by a boy in my second grade class for calling him "Kunta"-- as in "Kunta Kinte" from Roots.
What you know about "Damn, damn, damn?"
What you know about Kunta Kinte and Chicken George?

I'm from concrete everywhere but beaches and mountains close by; from running after ice cream trucks that drive way too fast for kids to be around and sitting on the curb eating Now'n'Laters, Jolly Ranchers, and big fat dill pickles.

I'm from Rapper's Delight, La-di-da-di, backwards rollerskating, mean German shepherds named "King," and neighborhood drill teams. I'm from fights on the last day of school, from pop-locking at recess, beatboxing and breakdancing on cardboard boxes and yawning at sightings of Bloods and Crips.

I'm from family meetings, color coded chore assignments, and "Wake your behind up 'cause this kitchen is a mess"; from a pack of beef jerky for good grades and "Don't tell Daddy we got our progress reports, okay? 'Cause you got good grades and I got just okay grades, but not okay conduct and I really don't want a whoopin'."

I'm from Mudear, Sugar, Bunny, Skeeter, Boot, Chief, Pipes, and Bodena; from first, second, third and play cousins and from cross country road trips to Alabama in the back of a wood-paneled Plymouth station wagon.

I'm from "What did I say?" and from "the look" that made you close your mouth; from little penguins sewn onto homemade shirts in places curiously similar to alligators.

What you know about a double belt?

I'm from the Church of "Do Your Damn Homework and Clean Up That Damn Room"; from the "Every Blue Moon" ministry and the Figure-It-Out-For-Yourself Faith, and from "So what if I learned The Lord's Prayer from Prince's song "Controversy"--at least I know it!"

I'm from "I expected more out of you", "I'm so proud of you," and "I never expected anything less of you." I'm from standing ovations, T-ball coaches, PTA presidents, and "No, I can't skip class with you guys 'cause my daddy on the School Board."

I'm from consistent and predictable, from steadfast and selfless, from airtight hugs and kisses on the lips. I'm from historically black college graduates that seem exactly like the Huxtables and first ones to go to college that seem nothing like the Huxtables. I'm from perfect imperfection and a drive to always shoot for the stars that always was driven home.

Who me?

I'm from love. Yeah, man. That's where I'm from.

What you know about tinfoil on the end of your braids?

Hmmm. . . . that was actually kind of fun. Kind of like attic smells and bottom-drawer keepsakes even.

So tell me. . . . where YOU from? And no, Mom (aka the-typo-and-grammar-po'-po')-- I didn't mean to say "Where're" or "Where are" you from--I mean to say exactly what I said. Which was:


I can already think of several people whose version of this I'd LOVE to hear. . . . what you got?


Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . . Digable Planets "Where I'm From"


  1. LOVE love LOVE it. Funny and lots of details that grabbed my heart.

    Now when we're talking Jolly Ranchers, we're talking the STICKS right? They were 10 cents each plus one cent tax.

    p.s. Bernetta was frenemies with my girl Chelsea. We'd call her Bernadetta to piss her off, but I was always a little afraid she'd kick my ass. Also, she used to laugh at my thumbs--especially when they had red nail polish on them. In her defense, I got some punk-ass thumbs.

    xoxoxo Thank you for the many many shout outs.

  2. Come on, girlfriend!! You know I was talking about CHERRY STIX for 10 cents! Not to be confused with STYX the band. . . . .

    Ooohhhhh and we used to stick them IN the pickle. . .kind of like a sweet and sour party in your mouth!

  3. I try and try to explain Hot Peas & Butter to people... they are always confused. LOL!!!

    I love it. Cuz that's where I'm from, too!
    Spunky Onions

  4. ok- for real- this might be my favorite post EVER.
    lovin' it- feelin' it- having lived a similar - paler version from across the coast at the same time- girl i love you! it took me back- and it made me laugh- gems in this- you are 'kid- dyn-o-mite!'

  5. Okay, Kris! Your turn to do it next!

  6. Ok. This was hilarious. And the best thing is that I could relate to 95 percent of these things despite being from the deep deep country ass south as opposed to the hip ass Cali. ('Cause you know we all thought our cousins from New York and Cali were "the hippest and the mostest.") But I'm still a black woman born in the 70's and this is where we're all from!! Love it!

  7. Don't know much about, "Where I'm From" but after I realized the DPs did "Rebirth of Slick," I gave it a listen for like the first time in 15 years. Brought me right back to my NYC days. Thank you:)

  8. I'm from the EXTACT same place your from. Representing from the "Woods of Ingle" :)
    But I need help in teaching my kids that it is not "Now AND Laters" it is "Now'N Laters". And I thought my mother was the only one who put foil on the ends of braids. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Oh! I have never heard of Hot Peas and Butter. That must have come from the Monarch side of the Wood. The Sentinels didn't play that :)

  9. I'm from summers at MawMaw's with my cousins. Watching "Today's Special" and eating chicken nuggets from McDonald's...Loved this! :)

  10. Ok, here's a northern version:
    I'm from a place where "going to the beach" meant swimming in a lake and "going to the lake" meant boating. I'm from covering all the windows in plastic in the fall so the cold air didn't come in as much, the wonderful woody warm smell of the house being heated by a wood stove, breathing the cold outside air through the mask of a woolen scarf tied over your mouth and nose, laughing as you sit in a sled being pulled through endless open fields by a snowmobile. I'm from visiting my grandma in the Twin Cities and feeling very cosmopolitan when we took the bus to the Dayton's in downtown Minneapolis. I'm from moon boots and jelly shoes, rainbow magnetic belts, sunburns that turned to tan every (late) spring, cheap plastic swimming pools because few people bother to have real ones, being cold every Easter because the dresses were always sleeveless, indoor Easter egg hunts, and trying to stuff a dress into snow pants (because in kindergarten I wore a dress every day, even in the winter). I'm from roller rinks and having my mom set my hair with socks to make my hair curly. I'm from a place where people oohed over my dark brown eyes. I'm from soft-spoken, stoic scandenavian relatives and parents who never ever said it, but still loved me unconditionally. I'm from knowing what was expected of me without anyone having to say it.

    Loved this post! Thank you so much.

  11. OMG, y'all!

    Neil, you know you're from getting kicked off of school buses and Fleetwoods! That and Rhoda's homemade cooking!

    Shannon, hot peas and butter? Worst game ever! One kid hides a belt and the others go look for it. Whoever finds it first--I am not kidding--subsequently BEATS the crap out of everyone with it all the way back to the base. Then that
    person hides it. . . . .sigh.

    Deborah! OMG where you're from. . . . .the best! Love the part where you tucked your dress in your snow pants! Thanks SO much for being such a great sport! You made my day with that!!

    T- MawMaw sounds rad!

  12. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this.

    I'm from winters where it rains all day, and summers where you burn in 10 minutes. I'm from walks in the Waitakere Ranges, and on Bethells, Muriwai, and Piha, the black sand beaches of the West Coast. I'm from fish and chips and ice creams at Mission Bay, and swimming and playing in the fountain.

    I'm from jelly shoes and gumboots, and blue Bananas in Pyjamas sandals. I'm from plastic Noddy and Friends lunchboxes complete with cheese and Marmite sandwiches. I'm from Barney beach towels. I'm from stripey leggings that were the epitome of cool. I'm from replying to the kids TV shows, and asking Dad if they can really hear me through the TV screen.

    I'm from Pokemon cards and jelly bracelets, and electric shocks from plastic slides. I'm from raincoats and splashing in puddles, and 'No you cannot go swimming without sunblock on!' I'm from hopscotch and handball and Around The World.

    I'm from vegetables on dinner plates for 'colour scheme', and 'No, you can't have chips/fizzy drink/juice because its not a special occasion!' I'm from doing homework otherwise Mum will 'have your guts for garters', and I'm from working hard for good grades.

    I'm from waiting for the sheep to finish crossing the road before the car can keep moving on the way to the bach, and the stink of silage that makes you roll up the windows. I'm from sea views and eating fruit straight from the orchard. I'm from a five minute walk from the house to the beach. I'm from digging for pipis in the sand and then barbecuing them back home. I'm from eating salty oysters and sharing a fork with Dad.

    What you know about that, y'all? :)

  13. I loved this post and read it all the way through, laughing at times and recognizing a lot of it, too. I think that I might have had the same exact pair of glasses -- or spectacles -- or goggles -- as you in the one photo, but I'm a little bit older. Mine looked nearly exactly like those, but they were rose colored with rose colored lenses. Good god.

    Inspirational -- I'd love to try it --

  14. Oh Lucy! I love knowing that someone in New Zealand (aka "My New Zealand Lucy") regularly reads and comments on this blog. But this? This was your best ever! LOVE, love, love it! Thank you for that glorious glimpse into what it's like to be where you're from--New Zealand! Awesome!!!!

    Elizabeth---you SO have to do this! It is really, really fun! Oh my LAWD--and rose colored lenses? REALLY? So funny!

  15. I love this post. Please don't take for granted that you came from love, because I came from hate, courtesy of an inhuman Holocaust survivor who happened to be my mother.

  16. Anon--I won't. . . .I promise. Thank you for your honesty.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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