Where I’m From

My maternal grandfather, my parents, siblings and myself in the early 60’s

I am from jackrocks sparkling through the dry red dirt, soapstone quarries filled with water for swimming or fishing, -just don’t get hurt, from grapes growing on the vine to be turned into wine, ,  from Spam fried up for dinner and playing in the woods until dark with no thought of harm, drinking from the babbling brooks and roaming the farm.

Piles of soapstone
grapewines in the field at the Old Homeplace

I am from the small wooden house down in the hollow, rickety in its age, fallen into disrepair with no one to fix her, lopsided stone foundation
crumbling beneath her and the “johnny house” out back and Sears/Penney’s catalogues for toilet paper.

The old outhouse in the background to the right side of the picture

I am from the lilacs growing around the outside wall, the Queen Anne’s growing in the fields – bursting with delicate beauty that you can’t touch because you’ll get those danged chiggars but you can’t help but touch because of their intricate beauty and end up lying in your bed at night scratching your skin off – wishing you hadn’t given in to its seductive call.

I am from Sunday dinners at Big Mama’s house and those Harris hips over which we all grouse, from Lester Carter, Estes Harris, Grannies Sally and Annie, and Reeses, Johnsons, and Nashes.

I am from the don’t trust strangers because they just want to harm you and even if they do I’ll still let them come in and stay for supper because that’s what we do – to do otherwise would not be hospitable and we are Southern and that is our nature.

From you have to go to bed when it storms and pull the covers over your head so the lightening can’t find you and you can’t go out after dark by yourself or Yum Yum will catch you and eat you alive, we all know that’s true.

I am from not celebrating holidays because it was evil but we will do it anyway because if we don’t tell anyone they won’t know.  I am from never knowing what was really true, from fear of dying before you reach adulthood because the world is going to end but never fear because if you do what you’re supposed to you will be saved but all your friends will die because even though they are your friends, deep down they are bad people because they don’t know the truth. God forgives and forgets your sins but we don’t so it’s okay if we shun you for some imaginary sin. I am from never knowing what was really true therefore never knowing if I was good enough to be saved.

I’m from Walton’s Mountain, home of John Boy and the Carter’s Old Home Place and the Monacan Indians who roamed this land long before we stole it from them.  I am from corn bread and fried chicken (the ones who were clucking around the back yard the morning before you ate them), kale and collard greens, mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuits made by Big Mama’s hands.

The Old Homeplace

From the grandmother who dabbled in black magic and made her kitchen table walk, the father who was a dowser and a rabble rouser, who knew how to use a still and had a strong will, and the grandmother who died before she got to see her children grow up, and the great grandmother who traveled the countryside birthing babies and setting bones for a live chicken or cold water in a cup.

My paternal grandparents (Big Mama) & my parents (at my parents wedding)
My maternal grandparents Estes and Elizabeth Harris (she passed away in her early 30’s)

I am from scrap books and photo albums hidden in a closet for safekeeping and photos covering the walls and almost every surface lovingly displayed for all the world to see the  beautiful faces of those you have loved, those you remember and those you cannot forget, priceless artifacts, proof of your enduring love.

This post was brought to you by Mama Kat’s Almost World Famous Writer’s Workshop and prompt #2.) Where I’m From. Copy this template  and fill in the blanks. (inspired by our Bloggy Boot Camp Writer’s Workshop).


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
This entry was posted in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Where I’m From

  1. suzicate says:

    Lots of lovely images and some bitter truths, but in essence that’s what life is about.

  2. I really need to hear more about your grandmother making her kitchen table walk!

    I chose this prompt too and also talked about my Big Mama and cornbread.

    Loved your description of Southern nature. So true!

    • pegbur7 says:

      That’s an old family “tale” that I wasn’t witness to but those involved swear it was true! Kinda glad I didn’t see it firsthand! My family is unique if nothing else! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. jdaniel4smom says:

    I love your part of the world. I went to school in Farmville, VA. What memories. My grandparents kept catalogs in their outhouse.

  4. Ron says:

    What a faaaaaaaaaabulous post, Peg!

    LOVED, LOVED, LOVED your photographs!

    That one of the grapevines in the field is stunning!

    “I am from the don’t trust strangers because they just want to harm you and even if they do I’ll still let them come in and stay for supper because that’s what we do – to do otherwise would not be hospitable and we are Southern and that is our nature.”

    And having lived in the South for 20 years, I know that to be true. There’s nothing like Southern hospitality!

    Thanks so much for sharing, my friend. Really enjoyed this!

    Have a terrific Thursday….X

  5. Wow! I love how this prompt captured so many amazing details and feelings and thoughts from your childhood. It was really pretty, and poetic, and interesting for me to get a glimpse into an upbringing so different from my own. Stopping by from Mama Kat’s.

  6. Katie says:

    This is beautiful, the pictures and the poetry. I actually did this from another post in June. Maybe, I should link it as well to today’s prompts. very nicely done, I know so much more about you.

  7. Grams says:

    I really liked what you had to say in this post about religion and fear and shunning. Powerful stuff! I love this prompt.

  8. terrepruitt says:

    Oooh, this came out really good. Love it!

  9. Kristen says:

    Wow! This was amazing! You should seriously think about turning this into a novel. Something like “Half Broke Horses” came to mind as I read this. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. It means more than you know! And with writing as wonderful as this…you’ve got yourself a new follower 🙂

  10. Wow… I came from such a different place that I loved reading yours and feeling exactly the words you wrote. I loved this prompt from Mama Kat… thanks for sharing yours!

  11. Galit Breen says:

    I love the way you revealed here- one step, and one photograph, at a time.

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