Y is for YOU!

Oil painting on canvas of Rockport, MA

Rockport, MA ©Gail Park

You are a product of your ancestry. Your DNA, your ethnic background, maybe even your talents, quirks and proclivities can be traced back to who came before you. Start with yourself. Write your personal history. Keep a journal. The more you learn about your ancestors, the more you will know about yourself!

As Wendell Berry so aptly put it: “If you don’t know where you’re from, you’ll have a hard time saying where you’re going.”

Here’s a fun challenge to create a prose essay entitled Where I’m from. Here’s my rendition using the template of George Ella Lyon’s Where I’m From :

I am from Dutch Ovens,  from Boston Baked Beans and apple cider.

I am from the house at the top of the hill, in the unheated bedroom, with the intoxicating smell of lilacs in spring and foliage screaming, “Orange!” in the Fall.

I am from Mountain Laurels, Pussy Willows and the last of the Lady Slippers.

I am from clam bakes and rummage sales, Town Commons and church bazaars.

I am from hard-working Connollys and Kileys; I am from Candy-Man-Who-Sailed-Around-the-World.

I am from the family of hard-knocks and pick-yourself-up-and-try-again.

I am from “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” and “you can be anything you want to be.”

I am from Midnight Mass, then the Sacred Grove.

I’m from Yankee stock, Cailíns and Pilgrims, apple pies and whoopie pies.

I am from the great-grandfather who panned for gold in the Yukon, the grandparents who built their home from “hurricane lumber” and the “mail orderly of Teddy’s Great White Fleet.”

I am from blueberries fresh picked from the bush. I am from the invigorating surf of the never-warm Atlantic.

I am from a childhood of freedom to roam, explore and dream.

Pink Lady Slipper

Endangered Pink Lady Slipper @ New England Wild Flower Society

Related links:


This post is part of the A-Z Challenge 2014


About Gail

Genealogist, librarian, writer, traveler, Mormon
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge, Creative Writing, Family, Genealogy & Family History, Good Old Days, Life Lessons and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Y is for YOU!

  1. Sammy D. says:

    Gail – this one brought tears to my eyes. It is such a gentle, life-affirming way to describe who You are. I’ve not seen this template before or any of the writings coming from it. I look forward to writing my own and encouraging family members to do the same.

    “In the unheated bedroom” and “intoxicating smell of lilacs” could have come right off my own page. Incredible!

  2. Leanne Ross says:

    Love the quote from Wendell Berry and it is so true.
    I’m going to use the template with my daughter (and myself) as a homeschool writing project. What a great idea.
    Thanks for the post (and for finding me online).
    Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com and @LeanneRossRF )

  3. wordstock16 says:

    Thanks for sharing the template. I was so impressed by yours. You describe life with such great descriptions and I read it more than once.

  4. Susan Kane says:

    Lovely examination of who-you-are. We are the sum of all our experiences, people, and places. thanks for stopping by my blog.

  5. Wonderful post. What an amazing way to describe you and your heritage. I have found that as a parent and I watch the kids grow, I learn more about myself and my past. Family traits become visible and undeniable. It has made me look back at my parents and grandparents in a new light as well.

  6. kgh428 says:

    I I saw this yesterday and copied the entire page for our SWL program on how to do a family history (sometime this summer) Barb Kone is going to speak and I am gathering bits of info. from your blogs to give to Diane…this is one I thought was worth sharing. I am also going to bring the Connolly-Grant blue books you made for me years ago, remember?

  7. Bipasha says:

    Hi G, your A-Z project is pretty cool!

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