Tag Archives: Family

I am from…


Where are you from?

Close your eyes and think back to your childhood home or somewhere you felt safe as a child – picture yourself there – think about what you are doing, seeing, and hearing. What toys are you playing with?  What will you be eating for dinner?  What sounds do you hear?

I recently did this visualization and then completed a fill-in-the-blanks poem (Mad Libs style) entitled “I am From”.  The task was during a meeting I am on the Board of Directors for – Girls on the Run, Utah.  GOTR is a 12-week after-school youth empowerment program for 3-8th grade girls that inspires them to be joyful, healthy, and confident, and weaves in practice for a 5K run. The poem will be included in our coaches training.  We want the coaches to think back to their childhood and try to put themselves in the shoes of the girls we teach.  We want to help them remember what it is like to be 8 – 13 years old, with all the hopes and dreams, strength and vulnerability, concerns and joy that comes with it.

After closing our eyes and taking ourselves back to our past, we were given 5 minutes of quiet to complete our poems. Then we read them aloud to the group. We smiled as we recognized similarities of people having played with the same toys as us, enjoyed the same food, or partook in similar family traditions. We absorbed the information and learned a little more about each other, where we came from, and what makes us unique.  As I read my poem I felt a lump in my throat, and it seemed many of the others experienced the same reading theirs. The poem transported us back in time to the children we once were.  

I believe the idea to include the poem in the coaches training stemmed from a poem written by George Ella Lyon called ‘Where I am From”, which can be read here.  Many people have taken this poem to write their own versions you can read one here and here. (The final link includes a template to write your own).

I was touched by writing my poem, so I expanded mine to include more memories and experiences.  It was fun to recall these childhood memories with my parents, siblings, and friends.  The poem could make a great gift for Mother’s or Father’s Day.  I would love to read similar poems written by people I know.  Why don’t you have a go at writing your own? Where are YOU from?

“I Am From” by Lydia Kluge 

I am from a red brick house with black Tudor beams,
from a garden filled with bright flowers, fruit bushes, and a roaming tortoise,
I am from a magnolia tree with soft white and pink petals,
whose limbs and branches felt so familiar as we climbed and swung from them,
and from a silver birch in which my Dad built us a tree-house, with small rectangular steps and rope handrails.

I am from furry teddy bears and comforting muslin cloths called ‘fluffies’,
from playing on our slide, climbing-frame, and swing-set,
(on summer’s evenings in pajamas after bath-time – just a little longer before we go to bed),
I am from blue plastic billy bumpers, from trikes, bikes, and roller-skates – round and round on the concrete path,
from shiny conkers and piles of crisp fallen leaves,
and from my Dad mowing the lawn with his push mower.

I am from laughter, conversations, bike bells, and cat meows,
from revving engines and shiny cars,
I am from Bob Marley’s reggae, Motown, and popular hits – cheerful music filling the kitchen,
from my Mum singing as she returned from work and cooked us meals,
and from dancing with my sister in front of the TV to the weekly edition of ‘Top of the Pops’.

I am from summer camps and guide camps, new activities and sleeping in tents,
from bunk beds and bed time stories – our Mum sitting in a chair by our side,
I am from homework and solving problems, from paper-rounds and black ink covered fingers,
from family bike rides and walks at Nonsuch park, collecting pine-cones for my Granny’s fire,
and from finishing each activity with a warm cup of tea.

I am from Christmas meals with lots of dishes and even more people,
from warm buttered crumpets, pasta (my brother’s favourite), and roasts every Sunday,
I am from my Grandmother’s crispy potatoes and my Grandfather catching our hand in his,
from home-grown fruits and vegetables, lovingly peeled and chopped, and made into crumbles or homemade ice-cream,
and from playing board games and cards after dinner with family and friends (my competitive nature coming out).

I am from school uniforms – grey striped ties and navy checked kilts,
from shiny red gym shorts winning relay races,
I am from crossing a road with a friendly lollipop lady and running for green buses,
from driving to see relatives – summers with our Aunt and Uncle: country walks, dogs, piano,
and fun at the beach with our Cousin – sandcastles, donkey-rides, Granddad’s tricks and Nana’s fig tree.

I am from Sherwoods and Knights,
from travel overseas and seeking adventure (torpedoed boats, new jobs, new lives),
I am from hardworking and tenacious, stoic and strong,
from make do and mend, and humble and selfless,
and from morning cheeriness  “Wake-up girls, it’s a beautiful new day!”

I am from too sensitive and curbing my teenage quick tongue & temper,
from learning, growing, thinking, and reflection,
I am from a family who is kind, loving, welcoming, and tall,
from “The more the merrier” – shared meals and bringing people together,
and from these moments when family and friends become one.



Favorite Things

I spent the past few days doing one of my favorite things, which is spending time with loved ones. Well I did several of my favorite things actually, as I also traveled, went for walks and felt the sunshine on my skin, cuddled my nephew, laughed over old pictures and memories, took photos, baked cakes, tried new foods, and sang songs. My favorite things occurred on a quick trip to Seattle to see my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, who recently moved there, and also my mum, who was over visiting from England. The song by the same name, from the film The Sound of Music, became our theme tune during my trip.

My Favorite Things is one of my favorite songs to sing. I love the actress, Julie Andrews, who sings it, who not only stars in The Sound of Music, but also Mary Poppins, and The Princess Diaries, to name a few. She has a beautiful voice and wonderful smile. Hers were the songs I would sing to children on the chairlifts, when I taught as a ski instructor – “Doe, a deer, a female deer…” or “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…” could be heard drifting past the pine needles to the surrounding chairs. It made me smile when one little girl, upon hearing me sing in my British accent, asked me in wide-eyed innocence “But are you Mary Poppins?  Are you?” Invariably when I am around children, the songs come out.

Over the past few days I found myself humming or singing My Favorite Things as I made tea, or heard my mum sing it as she pottered about, and all of us would sing it to my nephew James. We like to sing in my family (well, at least the girls do). I will always remember my mum singing when we were growing up. Each morning she would skip into the room I shared with my sister, raise the floral Austrian blinds with the pink trim which she had sewn for us, and proclaim in her sing-song manner that it was a wonderful new day.

My family would sing in the car on our weekly drive to my grandmother and grandfather’s house; my parents, siblings, and I would sing to Bob Marley or Motown tapes while making dinners; we sang songs to learn our times tables; at karaoke while on holidays; and my sister, friends and I would sing at the bus stop on the way home from school. It was not always Von Trapp style songs mind you, my family humored me with Vanilla Ice’s Ice, Ice, Baby, when I was 11. The singing wasn’t always tuneful either (my sister and I were encouraged to leave a karaoke machine after a particularly untuneful version of U2’s With Or Without You), but singing made us feel good.

In the song from The Sound of Music, the favorite things include Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up with strings. I can visualize each one, something simple and pleasant, which puts a smile on your face. They evoked happiness for the character Maria in the film, when she was feeling sad. It inspired me to jot down my favorite things from my recent trip, in the style of the original song (but I took poetic license to add an extra verse):

Some of my favorite things from the past few days.

Some of my favorite things from the past few days  -picnics, candles, walks, blossom, and babies.

Picnics in paper and sun on our faces,
Playgrounds and swing sets, and skipping all places,
Candles, and birthdays, and a restaurant that spins,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Walking by water and ducks going swimming,
Chatting and hiking with my favorite women,
Blossoms on branches and the first signs of spring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Wide blue eyed babies, so trusting and loving,
The smell of fresh muffins that bake in the oven,
Tickles and giggles and laughter that rings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cuddles and cradles, and small toes and fingers,
Bouncing the baby his sweet smell that lingers,
Chuckles at midnight at photos and things,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Though I miss you, know I love you,
And we won’t feel sad,
We’ll simply remember our favorite things,
And then we won’t feel so bad!

That one is for you Mum, Madeleine, August, and nephew James. I like writing poems and sometimes include them in birthday or thank you cards for people (for some friends it has been the first poem/rap/ditty ever written for them). It puts a smile on people’s faces. What are your favorite things to do for yourself and others? I am lucky to get to do some of mine again this week with my husband and some great friends who are visiting us. I hope you get to do your favorite things soon.