Thursday, September 22, 2011

Writer's Workshop: Where I'm From

I am from television shows before and after school, from onion snacks and pizza bagels bought at Kosher City. I am from always stealing the Doritos after my brother opened the bag.

I am from the warmth of a living room so full and inviting. The feel of plush carpet between your toes. The curve of the couch as the best place to fall asleep.

I am from the grass, the weeds and the caterpillars, the trees, the sky and the night. I am from the ice cream truck in the summertime. Freshly bathed and sitting on the porch while watching baseball while we waited.

I am from my father's whistle heard around the corner. From my mother playing Triominos with me whenever I stayed home sick from school.

I am from drives to New Jersey and stops to get fresh corn on the way and a father who rarely cried. I am from learning to float from a man named Bert while visiting my Nana in Florida. From listening to 8-tracks in the back of my Aunt's car. I am from Aaron and Golda and Pauline and Harry.

I am from the strength beyond words and endless support. With or without tears.
From potatoes growing in my brother's ears and my mother never using her real name when she had to return something.

I am from temple on the High Holy-days. Walking and never driving. From carrying my father's tallit bag home as we walked together. I am from picking apart Babka to break the fast, and fighting with my brother over the cherries.

I’m from Brooklyn, New York, Israel, Germany and Poland. From my father's matzo ball soup, noodle kugel and vegetable cutlets. And my mother's Jewish meatballs and sauce. Her chicken parmigiana and baked ziti. I'm from Chinese food on Friday nights. The diner on Saturdays and Italian on Sundays.

From the (U)SS Constitution sailing from Israel, docking in Italy, and finally making her way to the US of A. The life of a young boy on board a boat with his mother, sister and father. I am from the Grandfather I have never met.

I am from a family who sings. Often and loudly. And dances with abandon whenever we can. From dancing with my Aunt to the sounds of Rise in the living room. My childhood best friend by my side. 

I am from grass parties and looking up at the sky together. From Jack Wagner concerts and West Side Story. From sitting on my best friend's stoop every Fourth of July.

I am from old, frayed photo albums shelved under the TV in my parents' bedroom. From old home movies on the projector in the dining room, played up against the wall in the dark. I'm from those silent memories where grandparents played with children. Me. Holding me close or smiling proudly as I flipped across the old orange and black carpeting.

I am from love.

This post is in response to one of the prompts today at Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. Check it out for yourself here and forgive me for whatever liberties I took with the template.


  1. I had to come read because I KNEW this would be good! I love whenever you write about your family and NY :-)

  2. You write so beautifully, and I can feel such emotion in your words when you talk about your memories. Next time I see you, I think you should show me how your family dances. ;)

  3. I really love how to paint pictures. How wonderful to dance and sing and sneak Doritos!

  4. This is SUCH an awesome post! I love it. The thing that popped in my head is "I am from a father who never cried until the day he gave me away to my (ex) husband" Perhaps my dad had more wisdom then the rest of us! :)

  5. This is totally amazing. What a great take on it! I love this for the cultural details woven in with memories of the things you did as a child that are simple and beautiful.

  6. Oh this is so beautiful. I love your last words of "I am from love"! Thanks for letting me know more about you :)

  7. I love reading about where you're from...'cause I'm from there too...and you owe me Doritos Sista!!!

  8. I love reading about where you're from...since I'm from there too...and you still owe me some Doritos my Sista!!!

  9. Yes! This was awesome. Anyone from a line of Brooklyn, New York, Israel, Germany and Poland has me completely intrigued from the start.


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