I am from my mom’s old 45 records teaching me the words , from Tide & Downey in our washing machine and clothes hung on a line in the backyard with strong wooden clips, and afternoons of Barbie Dolls.
I am from a 4 bedroom colonial on a private lane, back doors left open and no central AC, a high wrap around wall that you could sit on and watch the neighborhood go by every evening.
I am from red maple trees who shed their leaves and blanketed the ground in our front yard , man-made lakes for swimming on hazy summer days and small mountains of black shiny coal visible from grandmother’s backyard, while I picked green and red apples that decorated the grass and rode the see saw into the blue sky.
I am from vacations on the jersey shore and lively church picnics with beer tents , from talking too much and big giving hearts, from Sophie and Helen, from Jean Marie and Damien E and last names that end in -ski.
I am from worry warts and decorations for every season.
From keep it in your knicker sister; UNO! and don’t make me come up there!
I am from baptismal fonts, gifts of the Holy Spirit and First Friday masses, from hats, tights and new dresses on Easter Sunday, saints and beautiful pipe organ recessionals.
I’m from Scranton, Pennsylvania born and raised , Poland and Russia, from doughy sweet French toast or eggs in a hat on Sunday mornings and pierogies and fish sticks on Christmas Eve.
From cleaning our house from top to bottom on a Saturday, the smells of citrus and Clorox turning into perfume and cologne as my parents got dressed up for a date night afterwards, from notebooks filled with book reports, poems and my married name written in 8th grade cursive.
I am from big overflowing photo binders with names on the binding, from a glass table in my mother’s living room that gently houses a nurse’s cap, a green beret and a christening dress that each of us wore. From pictures that sit on every available surface in every corner of my house that I kiss as I dust them every week, from envelopes of too many pictures of too many happy memories to count, many in front of the hydrangea bush that blossomed every June in our front yard.
I am the perfect combination of my past, present and future.
I am the little blonde hair and blue eyed girl who grew up dreaming and who still believes in the power wishing on a star, who still loves big, forgives often, worries & prays daily and hugs tight.