Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Anthem of Ancestry


Anthem of Ancestry
(The I Am meme)

I am from gentle ties that bind; from farmland and baked bread and small, sturdy hands; from goodness and grittiness, grounded in virtue and faith.

I am from Johnson and Peterson, Jansson and Persson; from Albert, Amanda and Annie; from Brita and Lars.

I am from the golden glow of stars on sidewalks, orange-laden boughs and seascaped sunsets, fast freeways and slow summer days. I am the city of angels, gardenias, bougainvilleas, and rose bowls.

I am from long visits and shared stories, from creativity and inspiration, from tightly held pencils with notebooks and journals to fill.

From books yet unwritten and songs to be savored and sung.

I am from poets and pioneers, from Hope is the thing with feathers and Do what is right, let the consequence follow.

From a landed grandfather who traded green fields, the midnight sun, and comfort for a new religion, an unknown nation, and humility.

I am from Come, Come, Ye Saints and All Is Well; from honey bees, lemon trees, and carefully planted roots.

I am one lake away from Stockholm, good growing ground for a tree of life whose leaves branched the ocean to Idaho, swept the Golden State from San Fernando Valley to the Bay.

I am from rhubarb pie and Swedish pancakes, raisin cookies cooling on the rack, baking powder biscuits smeared with honey, peppermint tea, chicken and dumplings in the pot.

From stove-popped corn, drizzled with a whole stick of butter, and freshly-made taffy to pull.

I am from Gustaf Albert Johnson, coaxing dolls out of pinewood to light a daughter's eyes, hands steady for the carving, releasing hidden treasures with his blade. From George Edward Anderson, recording Mormon history, embracing life and people with a lens that loved whatever beauty filled it. From little Myrtle, who died because the doctor valued his weekend more than her life and felt her appendix could certainly wait until Monday.

I am from a bow-wielding mother, Gagliano in hand, sending strains of In a Monastery Garden to my soul; a sister seated at the baby grand, myself a whirling dervish as she played.

I am from music and laughter and Saturday morning house cleanings with Johnny Mathis blaring in the background. From dance class and street tag and double dutch jump rope and jacks.

From summer road trips over BIg diPin rear-facing seats, Dad succumbing to shrieks, putting pedal to metal; from squiggles and hand jives, late-night diner dives, Dairy Queen, Zuma Beach and Mom's sweet, frozen grapes laced with sand. From date shakes, taquitos, and root beer in tall, frosty mugs.

I'm from hills, lakes, and valleys my eyes have not seen; from countries I may never visit, except in my heart.

I am from all the people before me and all who will follow, from sisters and brothers far dearer than others could be. From late walks and deep talks; emotions, complex and profound. From aunts, uncles, grandparents, words (thoughtful words) and intelligence, grounded in truth or uprooted in folly.

I am from sacred traditions and long-held beliefs; from bone-deep loyalties and lasting legacies; from mistakes, made and mended. My life has been tethered and anchored by love that survives.

{the legacy thrives} 

The above "heritage" meme was introduced to me by Friko's World.
Thanks, Friko, for a good idea and a great example to follow!
(There's even a template if you'd like to create an I Am poem of your own.)

for more A posts, click below


SarahBeth said...

This is a lovely look into you, your life and your heritage. Beautifully written!

Lola said...

Such a thoughtful reflection on where we come from and what makes us the people we grow up to be!

Brian Miller said...

i love these poems....people always put such cool stuff in here ...i am from old hymns & front porches....each of yours is a very cool layer in becoming you as well...

EG CameraGirl said...

So beautifully written, Sue. How proud - and you should be - of your strong roots.

~T~ said...

So much goes into making a person. And so much can come forth. Wonderful!

Leovi said...

Very nice pictures, colors clean and crisp, with many nice details!

Judie said...

As you frequently do,you have brought tears to my eyes, Sue. What a gift God has given you!!

storybeader said...

neat to think sit and think of what ancestry means to us! {:-D

Granny-Guru said...

what a beautiful family poem

My name is Riet said...

How beautiful that is . Love it all.

Catherine said...

This is great. Brought me to reminisce about my own family legacy and life.

Betty said...

I enjoyed that very much. I've been trying to find the motivation to get back into genealogy again. Thanks.

Brian Miller said...

i haven't written one...not properly at least....but i will put it in the rock tumbler and see what comes out...smiles...have a great weekend

Stef said...

I love this!

Pondside said...

How did I not see this come up right away, Sue. It's a beautiful piece of writing, a moving tribute to your heritage. I don't often get teary at the keyboard, but here I am - teary.

Gail said...

What a stunningly beautiful heartfelt piece!

Grandma Honey said...

Poor Myrtle! My Uncle died in a similar way....he was only 9 months old and he had some kind of stomach flu but there were no drs available till Monday....which is when he died. It was too late.

Your Mom cranked up Johnny Mathis while you cleaned? Ha! Love your Mom!

I really like what you put together here! This was packed with stuff. What a legacy.

LeAnn said...

You certainly do have a gift; a priceless one. As I read through this wonderful post I was taken away to thoughts of my own life. We are from the same generation. How I loved listening to Johnny Mathis in the background. You have such a heritage and I enjoyed reading this one today.
Blessings and hugs!

Jenny said...

I am always astonished at how amazing you are.

This was an awesome look into your life!

Thanks for linking.