I am from Chevy cars, from Camel cigarettes and ashtrays.
I am from a home with one heating vent that was raced for every winter morning to giggle at the warm air billowing under our nightgowns.
I am from the strawberry fields and corn stalks and the weeds on Potato Hill.
I am from praying around a crucifix every night and home-made clothes, from Mom and Dad and the five children that came after pretty little Helen.
I am from bathing in a metal tub out back in shared water and singing in the kitchen while we did the dishes.
From 'the look' that summed up what Mom was thinking and '...they're not laughing at you, they're laughing with you...' -Dad's saving wisdom.
I am from the big church with the stained glass windows and confessional booths, from memorized prayers and many lit candles, from kneeling up straight and a pretty white communion dress, from statues that saw your every move and sermons that left me wanting more.
I'm from Ohio, decades after Austria and Italy, perogies, kolaches and Easter Cheese.
From the little boy Bimbo and his charismatic singing, and the quiet girl who loves to dance and won bowling trophies and the secrets we'll never know.
I am from stories never told and photographs in boxes, from memories contrived from perception and smiles that hide forgotten fears and troubles, yet tell of the strength to face tomorrow.
~Helen Williams c 2010
This poem is for participation in an autobiography poetry contest by Chrysalis. Contest ends tonight at midnight. See details here: http://chrysaliscom.blogspot.com/2010/02/autobiography-poetry-contest-reminder.html