Nostalgia · Prompts

Where I Am From

I’m from a lifetime of Marks and Spencers underwear, from last season’s clothes bought on sale and from the dizzy limit of wealth being enough spare cash to buy a jacket from Jaeger.

I’m from a favourite cousin’s hand-me-down sailor dress, and from a family of women who each in turn convinced themselves that they never suited a hat, even for weddings.

I’m from flat open countryside less than half a mile from home.  From bicycle rides and mud pies and potatoes burned on campfires.

I’m from long-abandoned industrial yards broken into to provide us with the most dangerous of playgrounds, and from new houses that sprung up eventually and brought strangers into the town.

I’m from a girl next door who scared me by telling me that unfolded sticks of chewing gum would cause sudden and certain death, and from a girl two doors down who made me feel brave when I realised how frightened she was of thunder.

I’m from travelling the two hour journey to the beach at Scarborough in the middle of winter just to watch people dodging the waves.  I’m from sheltering from the rain on Cornish beaches in high summer when it ought to have been roasting.

I’m from the sounds of laughter and the smell of cigarette smoke drifting through to my bedroom when Aunty Margaret visited on Christmas Eve.

I’m from gambling with pennies at Boxing Day card games, and from fights with my sister after rainy-day rounds of Monopoly had gone on too long.

I’m from “because I said so” and “we don’t do that in this house”.

I’m from from Battenburg cake, Yorkshire puddings and a grandmother who indulged us with Heinz baked beans instead of vegetables on Saturday lunchtimes.

I’m from blackberries and rhubarb being free and freshly picked, and from salmon and peaches coming only in tins.

I’m from from Live Aid and Blue Peter Appeals.

I’m from showtunes and brass bands and learning to play the piano by ploughing through the Beatles Complete.

I’m from Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones and Nick Carraway, and from my grandmother’s month-old passed-on Woman’s Weekly magazines.

I’m from a scrapbook made in the last year of my teens, and from the yellowing clippings of childhood achievements carefully cut from the local newspaper.

I’m from a box of my memories kept on top of the wardrobe, and from a suitcase of my mum’s dreams tucked away in a corner of my spare room that holds the blonde curls of my first haircut and every Mothers Day card I’ll ever send.


I came across this a couple of days ago and thought I’d attempt it myself.  There’s a template to follow here.  I’m not used to writing poetically, and I’ve departed from that structure quite a bit.

Now featured at Mama Kat’s writing workshop – there are some great versions over there too.

41 thoughts on “Where I Am From

  1. I absolutely love this on every level! While I don’t “know you”, I get a sense of who you are from reading.
    I am inspired so much that I just might have to do this

  2. Visiting from SITS – so glad I did. This brought back a lot of memories of my own. I love how you write this – what an amazing voice you have!

  3. I do this poem with my class each year, and I do have my own. It really tells a lot about someone. Yours, included. Great job!

    1. This is a lovely idea for working on with a group. I really enjoyed doing my own, but I’ve also been following the idea around the web and finding lots of others. It’s great to see how different people interpret the idea.

    1. Thanks, Debbie. I’m so pleased I came across yours last week – great inspiration, and this is one of the posts that I’ve most enjoyed writing since I started blogging.

  4. ~~~Beautiful. Absolutely Beautiful peice of writing.

    “I’m from the sounds of laughter and the smell of cigarette smoke drifting through to my bedroom…”

    —Best post I’ve read all week.

    popping in from LBS…

    i will be subscribing. I loved this.

  5. Ha ha – love this, I’ll definitely have a go at it – but with a twist. I love your blog too – so whimsical and delightful. And that getting on 40 thing? Don’t you know it’s the new 30?

    1. Excellent! I’ll look forward to reading yours.

      Not sure about the 40-being-the-new-30 thing. I’m really starting to feel old now. Hoping for a burst of life-begins enthusiasm!

  6. Oh, I loved this. And I loved that you pushed beyond the template and added all that you needed to. I felt there was so much more I could have included. I love that you did.

    That hat bit? Made me laugh. So good.

    And do we all have a blonde curl tucked away somewhere? I know I do. And now, I have a curl lovingly preserved from my own child. Cycles, huh?

  7. I enjoyed this prompt, both reading and writing it. “I’m from a girl next door who scared me by telling me that unfolded sticks of chewing gum would cause sudden and certain death” is such a good reminder of how gullible we are as kids. Great job!

  8. What a lovely piece! I spent a big chunk of my 20s living in the UK, in the Bridget Jones era, so this brought back some memories quite vividly. M&S underpants – I never bought knickers from anywhere else when I was there.

    1. Ruth, I’ve just read yours too – it’s lovely.

      Of everything I’ve written on my blog, I think that writing this one has to be the most enjoyable piece I’ve done – it’s such a lovely journey of remembering to go on when putting it all together.

  9. I love it! When I was student teaching, I had my 6th students write “I Am From” poems, and I put them all together in a book. It was a fun assignment. I need to write my own “I Am From Poem.”

    I found your blog through Mama Kat’s A Year in Blog Posts prompt.

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