Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Where I'm From"

Inspired by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche and George Ella Lyon

I'm from the Steel Mills of Gary, Indiana where black soot
covered my bare feet in the hot summer months
when I could see the chimneys of fire from the steel ovens.

I'm from a three room apartment on 6th Avenue
where I lived with Momma, Daddy, and my brother
in the same building as my aunt and cousin, uncle, and Baba.

My memories recall Miller Beach and sand,
thunderstorms with lightning, and wading in the waters
that streamed down our alley, sailing our homemade boats.

I'm from a school that went from Kindergarten to 12th
that held the teachers that saved me
with their lessons that taught me to love words.

College lead to teaching and finding true love
and miraculously giving birth to three sons
that lead to four grandchildren and two granddogs.

I'm from a lifetime of jobs--cake decorator, bottle washer,
Bargain Box Assistant Manager, secretary, trainer, substitute teacher,
22 years of teaching 7th graders,
and 2 years of retirement that have lead me
to still love words. 


  1. This is beautiful but what touched me the most..."lead me to still love words". Was Baba your grandmother? My mother's first name is Barbara and when the first of my three children were born, my mom announced she didn't want to be called grandma. So the first and remaining two shortened Barbara to Baba. Baba is now 92 AND no one better call her Baba but her grandkids. I will try to be inspired by you...I would like to write a "Where I'm From".

  2. Love how this poem continues to feed other writers and provides a way for us to get to know each other.

  3. This is so well written- I read it aloud for my family to hear your words. Well Done!

  4. I think when you love words once, you always love words. You cannot get a divorce from words, and your words live on when you are gone. Maybe this is another post...
    Thanks for that wonderful glimpse into what makes you you.

  5. I found out things I didn't know about this...a poetic way to tell who you are and where you came from...oh's a poem...and it's beautifully written. ! I'm going to have try this.

  6. This made me remember your memory of playing on the porch at that apartment house, right? What a great, succinct poem. I love that you moved through the years in it, starting in that sweet childhood time, with the bare feet covered in soot from the mills, then finishing with today, retirement. Always love your poems Tam.

  7. This is so well-written Tam. I was going to tell you which part I especially loved or connected to, but I couldn't. Then I realized that it's because all of it as a whole makes me feel more connected to you.

  8. I agree with Ruth, very well crafted. I do like the sailing homemade boats and teachers who saved you. It's a beautiful glimpse of you.