Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Am From . . .

 Last weekend, when we visited Ft. Collins, our daughter-in-law, April, and I were talking about home keeping. Their #4 is due to arrive mid-January (granny happy dance inserted here) and we were commiserating with one another over the age old topic of housework. It reminded me of all the books I own about this juicy subject.  April asked if she could borrow this one and also if she could take a look at my file box that goes with it.  Reviewing my former project brought many good memories to the surface.  Thanks, April-dear!
 My sister-in-law read this book and suggested it to me almost thirty years ago now!  Yikes!  It really is a funny book!

 Here's the file box that goes with it.  The jobs are divided up into daily, every other day, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and every other month.
 I must say, while judging my card file, I pronounce my twenty and thirty year old self quite ambitious.
 I was happy to see that I had some sound priorities.
 I remember that I REALLY missed my parents.

 A verse that has been on my heart lately was on my heart all those years ago.  I like thinking about my wifely and motherly day-to-day doings.  I was a very happy homemaker even though I felt utterly buried by the workload.  We survived and thrived at the same time.  I think April will enjoy looking at the file box.  I must reassure her that it DID not turn out to be the answer to my flighty, attention deficit, (lazy) problems related to household efficiency, but she is MUCH more responsive to systems and VERY MUCH more organized than her mother-in-law.  

At school, we've been writing "Where I'm From" poems.  Here is the original by George Ella Lyon:
I am from clothespins, from Clorox and carbon tetrachloride.
I am from dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I am from fudge and eyeglasses,
  From Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
  And the pass-it-ons,
from perk up and pipe down.
I'm from He restoreth my soul
 With a cottonball lamb
And ten verses I can say myself.

I'm from Aretemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost 
 to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box 
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded--
leaf-fall from the family tree.
Here are the prompts to get them going with their details (from Creating Highly Motivating Classrooms For All Students)
Write down:
- items found inside whatever you called "home" when you were a child (for example, bobby pins, stacks of newspapers, coffee mugs, ash trays)
- items found in your yard if you had one (for example, hoses coiled like green snakes, dog bones, broken rakes)
- items found in your neighborhood (for example, the corner grocery store, the "home-base" tree)
- names of relatives, especially ones that link you to your past (for example, Uncle Charlie and Aunt Selma)
- sayings (for example, "If I told you once . . .")
- names of foods and dishes that recall family gatherings (for example, matzoh ball soup, black-eyed peas, tamales)
- names of places you kept your memories (for example, diaries, boxes, the family Bible)

You should try writing an I Am From poem!

Here are some of my favorite lines from the students' poems:

I am from "it's WAY past your bedtime!" (they are, after all, only eleven years old!  Cute!)
I am from fighting with my grandma over the remote.
I am from the cold metal of my tuba and the sweet melody of the piano.
I am from the noise of the washing machine and dryer.
I am from good cooks and humble and nice people.
I am from candy-colored hairbands littering the bathroom counter.
I am from the park, blanketed by bumble bees.

I have to share with you the prize-winning poem written by a quiet boy.

I am from the smoke from an ashtray.
I am from the door decorated with KEEP OUT stickers.
I am from the TV broken and laying like a rock in the garage.
I am from the tree stump, all abandoned.
I am from the rock pinned down by dirt.
I am from the "cleaning" arguments and the endless "try your best" speeches.
I am from Uncle Bubby's surprise visit.
I am from Nana's Royal Buffet of Pie.
I am from the stool that holds a photo.
I am from boxes of mementos hiding under a hurricane of pictures.
I am from a picture cracked and laying on the floor.

He won a burrito.  The look on his face was precious.

When women (and men) are keeping their houses, they are making memories, establishing unique environments, and giving children poetry contest material!  
Our daily doings are FULL of importance.
Where are you from?


Lisa Richards said...

Oh, Pom Pom, I absolutely LOVED this post.

The little file box full of housekeeping hints reminds me of where I used to go to read tips on how to clean your house a little at a time. In fact, I had planned to see if it was still around so I could get tips on keeping my new home a little more clean. I too have a problem with paying attention to housecleaning. There are so many other more interesting things to think about! :D (Books to read, pictures to draw...)

The little boy's poem was so touching. I'm glad he won the burrito! You are a great teacher and the book you mentioned, "Creating Highly Motivating Classrooms for All Students", sounds fascinating!

My 20 year old daughter just said, right out of the blue, what is a "pooh" anyway? She must have seen Winnie-the-Pooh somewhere. I'm going to Google that question!

Have a wonderful day! I have an outline to write down for my Literary Argument Research Paper on Emily Dickinson. It's harder than I thought to come up with something to argue about! =:-0

Courtney said...

Love the poem activity. It's always fun to find good poetry writing techniques for the classroom. I'll try it out on my students soon! Thanks!

Sherry from Alabama said...

It's so neat that you kept that card file! It's a wonderful peek into your life. I'm familiar with one of the authors of that book ~ Pam Young ~ because of Flylady took their system and broke it down into small baby-steps to make it easier to work. I wish I had known about one of these systems when my children were younger and I was in the midst of homeschooling them!

I substituted in grade 4 again this week. I've also been volunteering in a kindergarten class. I especially love the kindergarten class and plan on helping out once or twice a week. Thanks for your encouragement!

Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

Farm Girl said...

Oh Pom Pom you always make me think. Isn't that what good teachers do? :)
I liked the little poem your student wrote and I am glad he won.
I really don't know what I would have done in those early years of my life if I didn't have Elisabeth Elliot on the radio to tell me what to do. Her poem Do The Next Thing kept me sane. Having little ones and trying to get a shower and all of that not to mention trying to get food cooked and the house clean and laundry done.
So much work.
It taught me lots though.
I will sit and try that writing exercise.
It sounds nice.
Have a lovely weekend my dear friend.

Elizabethd said...

What a touching poem, so glad he won. It must have taken courage to write so openly.

magsmcc said...

I cannot believe that Lisa Richard mentions Flylady! I'm here to stand firm and not be bullied- Attic 24 has gone all Flylady and is in one daily hour transforming her home- I looked at Flylady today- one hour- hoover every room in one hour, even if it is just the middle? Oh my! I must visit this Lisa and see if she is not exerting herself! The Jesus time with boys- we managed it in the summer, but not much since... Here I come, Lisa! I am from dust bunnies, and cobwebs, and curtains that I realise are starting to fade at the edge. I am from colouring pencils, and sharpeners, and abridged versions of classic tales. I am from damp leaves and cold blue skies and air. I am from gracious, generous, wise kind lovely sharers of their words!

wayside wanderer said...

This, dear Pom Pom, is one of my All Time Favorite posts by YOU. Wow. It is rich, but subtle. The last line wove it all together perfectly! And that little boy...can we ALL send him burritos? His words tugged at my heart...they are vividly descriptive, but yet, a little....sad (except the Royal Pie Buffet...but that might be my diet talking).
I loved the peek into your past mommy life and am excited how your grandmommy life is ever exxxpaaaaanding!

Betty The Wood Fairy said...

What a lovely peom your young student wrote. I think it is excellent that you are a hoarder, you keep such interesting things, the card index is a little bit of you - the new homemaker, and now you are passing it on! ...I am from the woods, I am from rain soaked walks and early mornings, I am from shortbread and nutella spread, I am from paint brushes and silk, I am from a steep hill and Exmoor heather, I am from apple orchards and pebble beaches, I am from... deep within. Bettyx

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Oh, I love the boy's poem and am so glad he won the burrito! Beautiful poem. I have to tell you: I met George Ella Lyon this summer, and she was wonderful. Very down to earth and fun to talk to. I wish I could have talked to her longer than I did (we were at the American Library Association meeting in New Orleans). I didn't know she was the originator of the I am From poem. I've seen many versions of this poem over the years, and it never fails to move me. It's such a wonderful way to get kids writing.

I want a box of index cards telling me what to do! I love the idea of ordered housekeeping--housekeeping as an art--though I rarely live up to it.


Gumbo Lily said...

Pom Pom, I loved this post! How neat is it that your DIL asks you for help and guidance in keeping house and home for her family. She knows that you've "been there, done that" and she must know how. I enjoyed peeking at your cards.

I did not keep house by book or notecards even though I tried. It just didn't work that way for me. My life was always "on the fly" and so was my housekeeping. Everyone in the house pitched in and we all lived a fairly tidy life. Not perfect, but good enough.

The poem "I am From" is amazing. I love it. And I think it's such a loving way for a child to write about where he's from....even when it's not all roses and sunshine like your poetry winner showed us. He did a terrific job and I'm so glad he won.

Bless you, Pom Pom.


M.K. said...

Oh Pom, this is one of your best posts yet! Just love the way you tied it all together. A poem like that is like a box of underbed memories, wrapped in papers of memory. Beautiful.

MamaF said...

Oh my PomPom this post was so so lovely and sweet, I'm even a bit teary :)You're such a dear person,your husband, your children and grandchildren and your students are really lucky. And us friends ( even if far away as i am) too.
Thank you so much for sharing.
We'll be leaving in a couple of days for the 'yellow home' I've never seen. I'm a bit scared,keep me in your prayer if you feel like :)

Have a blessed new week!

Happy@Home said...

Yikes! Can it be possible that it's been almost 30 years since the Sidetracked Home Executives book came out? I remember how funny those two ladies were. I'm impressed that you went as far as making the file box. I read the book, but never followed through to that extent.
I love the poem idea you are using in school. The little boy who won the burrito did a wonderful job. I would have loved to have seen the look on his face.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I had wished I had grown up during the years of Home Ec taught at school - sewing and cooking! Now we have to seek these classes out as adults :) I love your filing system - such a great idea - reminds me of those tear-off daily calendars.

ann said...

Housekeeping is so overrated for those of us who work. I do love to keep my house, but I only have so much time and energy these days. I have hired a housekeeper. The one Good Thing about M. Stewart is that she has restored dignity and respect to the art of home making. Your daughter-in-law will enjoy and perhaps and even need the little box of notecards. And, a great idea to get children to write about themselves. I love the poem.

Plain Ol' Vanilla said...

Oh my goodness Pom Pom,

I still have my copy of SHE! The original cards? No, but I remember my very own ambitious self back 30 years ago. I'm still kinda ambitious but not quite in the same way.


The Provincial Homemaker said...

What a wonderful legacy your old card file is to your current self and a great gift for your daughter-in-law. I am on the hunt for the Sidetracked HOme Executive now.

Shey said...

such beautiful poems Pom Pom, keep writing I enjoy reading your posts so much and seeing your pictures. =)

The dB family said...

Fun poems!! I'm going to have to see if I can get my older girls to write a couple. I think they might be intrigued by this.

I am of the more attention deficit homemaking. That's why I'm doing my 22 days thing. It actually holds me accountable.

Blessings, dear one!