This was a wonderful writing exercise. The template is here
I am from the back yard hammock that was hung between two trees at every campsite we ever stayed, from white keds and chewing gum and paper plate art.
I am from the ranch house on Rancherias, where you could sneak out of the playroom and no one could hear you. From the house with the 40 fruit trees in the back yard, red and green grape vines, the best vegetable garden on the street and a live christmas tree we planted that grew to be 10 feet across.
I am from the weeping willow and the mountain wildflower, the daisy and the dandelion, from the wind in the pine trees, and the sun on the rose bushes. From the hot dry desert, the brisk mountain side, and the windswept beach.
I am from daddy's hash, and loud, liberated women. From Helen:G'ma who wrote poetry every day of her life, and lived more lives in a silver bullet than most live in a house.
I am from home made prom dresses and campfire songs. From Carmen:Nana who had the softest hands I've ever held and Manuel:Tata who died before I can remember him but he called me Gabriellita and sang me to sleep.
I am from the pointy elbows used as weapons, and the "talk loud and fast or you won't be heard", from "she did it!" and "not me!". From the phone in the hallway where you could hide under the desk and talk unnoticed but with 3 sisters that was always unlikely.
From "don't put your elbows on the table or you'll kill the table fairies!" and "don't forget to brush your teeth and say your prayers". From camp songs sung round the dinner table and love notes in your red tupperware lunch box.
I am from liberal catholics with day old donuts and bad coffee, with drums in the choir and rock n roll music. I am from "catholic school girls are as bad as you think they are", and sunday school teachers with a hangover. From made up sins for the confessional and crushes on altar boys. From the occasional Latin mass and the heartfelt sounds of de colores.
I'm from Arkansas, Mexico, Germany and So Cal. I am from chili rellenos and capirotada. From avocados for breakfast and lunch and dinner. From In N Out burger and Thrifty's ice cream (square and only 15 cents!). From my mom's chicken fajitas and my dad's plum jam.
I am from my mother who married the boy next door, even though she turned down his date offers for years; my father the boy who had a crush on his neighbor, and would go next door to borrow the encyclopedia while she practiced ballet; and the parents who have been married for 42 years and still love each other every day.
I am from the round white table stuffed full of photo books, still sitting in mom's family room, that almost every baby has crawled through after removing piles of books. From the boxes of G'mas writings that Aunt Beth lovingly copied for all of us, telling us her truth, her life, her adventures. From the Story of Ed, the honest memoir of the man who is my amazing, loving father. I am from my mother's old trunk filled with prom dresses, ballet costumes, and cheerleading outfits older than any of us, musty with age but they never ceased to fill a rainy afternoon with fun.
I am from many places, many people, many things. I am me.