The idea for this post comes from a crowd-sourced poem created by poet Kwame Alexander from 1400 poems on the topic of “Where I’m From” sent in by listeners of “Morning Edition,” a morning radio show on NPR. Here’s my version; you might try writing yours.
I come from:
♥ immigrant Dutch and English families joined in 1909, greeted with home town dis- approval, but proudly lived out.
♥ a white cross in a graveyard in France dated April 5, 1945; sorrow, tears, longing, grief and broken dreams.
♥ days and nights in a home filled with frightening anger, stiff silences, and confusing behavior – and worst of all, feeling unwanted and ignored.
♥ multi-generations of teachers, musicians, and athletes, and heartening examples of public service: an agent for the Indians in west Michigan, service men in WWII, a state senator and lieutenant governor, dedication to non profits.
♥ millions of tall and proud red, yellow, purple, orange, and multi-colored tulips filling tulip farms, front yards, downtown planters, boulevards, parks, and elaborate plantings with hope and joy.
♥ Tulip Time festivals in May, Dutch costumes, parades, Dutch dancing, Dutch folk music – and “if you ain’t Dutch you ain’t much.”
♥ the crashing waves of Lake Michigan, sand dunes, pink, orange, and red sunsets.
♥ blueberry bushes, strawberry plants, grape vines, carefully staked leafy tomato plants, rows and rows of green and yellow beans, purple lilac bushes and delicate pink and white fruit trees joyfully bringing in spring, and roses bushes artfully climbing trellises viewed from Grandma’s desk.
♥ Honey Bunch, The Bobbsey twins, Nancy Drew, stuffed bookshelves in libraries and living rooms, the Book of the Month Club, newspapers, magazines (decades of National Geographic) – reading, reading, reading!
♥ church twice on Sunday, Sunday school, youth group, catechism and, always, choir practice!
♥ The Hallelujah Chorus, Onward Ye People, Amazing Grace, Mary, Did You Know? Crown Him with Many Crowns sung in congregations and choirs; Johnny Mathis, Elvis, the Everly Brothers, the Righteous Brothers, and the Temptations; sheet music of WWII love songs and ballads stacked on the grand piano and vinyls of patriotic marches on the turntable.
♥ expectations of college degrees and beyond (I’m all in), conservative politics (sorry grandpa, no can do!) and Calvinist theology (sorry mom, I don’t totally fit there either).