I Am From

I Am From

I am from Violet and John, Mary and Nickolai, Catherine and Mike.

From the northeastern Alberta prairie and northern lights, from snowbanks and crocuses, from stooks of grain and ferry boats on the North Saskatchewan.

I am from perogies and sour cream eaters, nalysneki eaters, holoptsi and dill pickle eaters.

I am from the alphabet kids, cousins by the dozens, Baba’s garden, and skating rinks.

I am from church socials, Ukrainian language, MV meetings, and wooden church pews.

From farmers, nurses, teachers, and an optometrist who dreamed of a better life for their children.

I am from resilience, pride, hard work, getting an education, and community leadership.

I am from “You can’t please all of the people all of the time”, and “a lady doesn’t chew gum”, and “bring slacks and cards” and “figusmuckum”!

I am from no-dancing-or-smoking-or drinking SDA’s, but Make a Million was okay except on Sabbath, from “Day is Dying in the West” and campmeetings, and Saturday night volleyball, from northern lakes, green canvas tents on rainy afternoons, and jack fish for every meal.

I am from Christmas packages from Vancouver, a 1957 turquoise Oldsmobile, bomb shelters, paper dolls, red crinolines, and “Sue Barton, Student Nurse”.

From coyotes, red-winged blackbirds, gophers, and baby ducklings.

I am from station wagons, summer trips to Vancouver, fish and chips at Second Beach, low benches around big tables and much laughter, from Noxema, four leaf clovers, a bag of candy for 5 cents, and kolbasa sandwiches.

My own life unfolding against a cast of strong matriarchs who were the shakers and movers and connectors.

Janice Melenchuk Bell

You can write your customized version of your own history using the format suggested by Mary Pipher (see below).

Format adapted from: Mary Pipher (2006). Writing to change the world. New York, NY: Riverbed Books.

[posted July 5/17]