Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Where I'm From.... My Way. Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - a little late.

Last Saturday, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings posted another of his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenges

This time, to write a poem! 

Not an easy thing to do, even with the help of Fred First, from Virginia, USA who created a template for 'Where I'm From..." poetry. Follow the links in Randy's article to see another example and the template. Several people have taken up the challenge. You can follow their links in the comments on Randy's blog.

It's taken me a few days to get to this and then a day to write. I wanted to join in as the theme certainly goes with some of the family history writing I've been doing privately this year. In February, I participated in Lynn Palermo's Family History Writing Challenge which gave me a boost. She offers courses you might like to have a look at too.

View from Little Mountain, Vancouver, Canada; published by Gowan & Sutton Co. Ltd., #169. Mailed from Vancouver to Victoria, 1948.

Here's my version of "Where I'm From..."

I am from Vancouver, Canada, from a smaller, slower, foggier Vancouver, one with a brash young face, poorer pockets but brawn aplenty, if not always sense or tolerance. Downtown daytime trolley cars, small shops and department stores, bargains and groceries, in many languages. Night time neon lights up the streets; shoppers hustle home, rough areas best avoided, but on Granville Street, movie theatres, and in Stanley Park, Theatre Under the Stars, TUTS, a yearly summer treat! 

I am from ‘the Coast’, salty air, greener trees, bigger blossoms, usually wet if anything, mountains high, and a geographical puzzle. Vacations are train trips to the ‘interior’ or ferry trips on the Salish Sea to the ‘peninsula’ or the ‘big island’, the home (temporary) of politicians talking progress and (permanently) of the ‘newly wed and the nearly…’, oops! those retirees, many from the prairies, far far from the Coast. 

I am from jam on French toast, roast beef on Sunday, kippers in the back yard, pork n' beans at the beach, and always fruitcake and pudding at Christmas. But fresh buns and butter only at my Na’s.

I am from a bridge over a ‘false’ creek, nothing rural, a clanging, jangling, hissing landscape of industry, all its parts as familiar as the swans and pretty paths and bridges in the big park by the salt chuck. Another landscape entirely, even there the city harbour in the distance importantly busy with overseas cargo and arrivals.  

I am from a house with shiny floors, a dining room well used for sewing and book work and crafts, and secret rooms upstairs. And me, hiding behind my grandparent’s old couch reading, while Mum calls, “Go outside. Get some fresh air!”

I am from tall tall trees, dogwood and cherry blossoms, holly berries and irises, and roses, all colours, tame and wild.  I am from chalked sidewalks meant for hopscotch and skipping rope, and stern or smiling families off to shop or church. 

I am from Islay and County Cavan, Linlithgow and West Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, London and Somerset. Gilchrists, Carmichaels, Rogers, Whites, Derhams, Adams, Humphries, Irwins and Moffats, Woods and Heeleys, Saggers and Staines, Scotts and Pollocks. 

I am from ag labs, innkeepers, ropemakers, entrepreneurs, royalty (or their servants), cooks, teachers, bailiffs, shepherds, pirates, beekeepers, farmers and weavers, parlour maids, bricklayers and gardeners; fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins aplenty. By turns tired, stubborn, brave, sad, adventurous, glad, forward thinking – none yet forgotten. 

I am from a world a little less familiar but never unknown. The Geographic, a bedtime picture book; an old encyclopedia set our Google.  No Internet, no TV! Still radio always lively – music, stories, speeches – ‘talk radio’ later, arguments abounding. And a library in a beautiful city building with columns so high, marble stairs, stained glass windows – one of Scott - welcoming, not forbidding.

I am from an unlikely pair, a Captain and a Major, the coast and the prairies;  a child of doers, both comfortable at home, but always thinking of their world; both from families used to fun and frolic, but all too aware of epidemics, war and too early death.

I am from tin and faded photographs, a corner bent diary, a worn out birthday book, tarnished silver spoons, loved novels, dented tart pans, worn but useful carpentry tools, and happy to be so. 

Written May 2020, M. Diane Rogers

Malkin Memorial Bowl, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Venue for many events, including Theatre Under the Stars from 1940. Postcard unmailed; published by The Coast Publishing Co., Vancouver, B.C. 


Janice M. Sellers said...

Wonderful imagery! I can see and feel the worlds you describe. Thank you for a lovely poem! And I love the pirate reference!

Monet said...

I like your poem! So evocative of the richness of life!

Randy Seaver said...

Beautiful, stunning, so many memories. Thank you for sharing.

M. Diane Rogers said...

Thanks! It was a fun challenge - once I got going with it. Brought back memories for all of us.

GeanniusBB said...
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GeanniusBB said...

Evocative imagery of your Vancouver - trees & plants, a picture of a coast home with a prairie partner.

Molly of Molly's Canopy said...

What a unique idea to tell your story in poetry. The imagery conjures up a sense of place and your impressions evoke a sense of belonging there. Well done!

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

Wow - really beautiful, M. Diane! As others have said, the imagery was amazing! <3