JusJoJan – Jan 30 – Finished


The month is almost over. We are almost finished with JusJoJan. It was a fun way to blog this month. I had hoped to be a part of the prompt selection but each time I tried; I was too late. This last weekend my friend texted me to tell me Linda  had opened up the comments for prompts, but I was not at home. I figured I would not be able to participate in offering a prompt for JusJoJan. Then, much to my surprise, when I came home and logged in to my computer, there in front of me was the golden ticket. I happily joined in. So today the JusJoJan is my selection, finished. 

I will admit I had a motive for wanting to use the prompt finished. As mentioned previously in a post I was challenged to write my own poem inspired by “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon. She reads her poem here:  http://www.georgeellalyon.com/audio/where.mp3

I had completed a couple of prewriting activities I found online. I brainstormed ideas but I wanted my poem to be completed without a lot of editing or changes. I wanted the finished product to be a real reflection of my childhood. These are the thoughts that arose.

Where I’m From

I am from a never-ending clothesline showcasing my life’s tattered garments

From pitchers of Kool-Aid and brown bags filled with popcorn

I am from bedrooms filled with fear and loneliness

I am from the bottlebrush tree dropping leaves and staining clothes which caused anger

I am from the fenced backyard that separated me from friends

I am from the scary wash drainage system behind the house that you feared might drown you

Whose racing water screamed foreboding warnings

I am from a house with stray dogs, stray cats, and strangers

From Bonnie, bio-dad, and a multitude of stepfathers

I am from don’t tell Grandma, do all your chores before going to bed

From because you’re the girl, and I said so, and because they’re boys

I am from the serenity prayer on the wall, but not understood

From playing outside until dark, and from education will save you

I am from Philip and Tessa

From formal dinners with liver and borscht

From Holocaust memories and depression survivors

I am from hospital stays, stomach pumps, and drilling gums with no Novocain

I am from outside the screen door, ding-dong bell, and prank phone calls

I am from destroyed treasured trinkets, talking birds who never spoke, and annoying brothers

I am from “Always know you are responsible for yourself,” and I was

I shared my poem with my trusted friend, and she asked how it felt to write out my thoughts.  I admitted it was cathartic though challenging. My first thoughts were not happy ones. Nor were they fun to remember.

She challenged me to write it again focusing on the good things I might remember. To be honest, the second version was much more difficult. My go to childhood memories are filled with traumas. I was grateful for taking the time to remember there were joys and special moments.

Where I’m From

I am from the yellow rotary phone on the wall attached to many party lines

From warm towels and freshly laundered sheets

I am from a table where we always ate our meals together

I am from freshly mown grass that begged to be run through

I am from stacks of school library books waiting to be devoured

I am from the tall chain linked fence that protected me from the wash

That kept me away from the outside world

I am from strays once unwanted, now loved

From Mom who was always there while the rest came and went

I am from your grades are good, stop talking so much in class,

From because school is important, and do as I say, not as I did

I am from save your money and peaceful reading times alone in my room

I am from Grandma and Grandpa

From special loving holiday meals

From sharing Jewish heritage and customs

I am from teacher’s pet, best reader awards, and neighborhood safety

I am from lots of writing letters, journals, and stories

I am from saving bottles, ten cent thrifty ice creams, and donuts from the bakery truck

I am from “Always know you are responsible for yourself,” and I was

I am glad I finished the writing challenge. I like both versions of my poem. I am grateful for who I have become. Perhaps I shall finish a third version of my current life experiences.


15 thoughts on “JusJoJan – Jan 30 – Finished

  1. Hi Lauren this is wonderful! Such amazing depth and feeling. It’s so good that your friend suggested you write about the good memories too . Both poems make a whole. It must of been hard to write, so much to convey.
    Thank you also for a great prompt.💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Willow. Poetry is not usually my genre of choice. The lesons that have been developed for her beautiful poem provided a great guide.
      It was hard to write, but a good experience none the less.
      I look forward to reading the way others respond to the prompt.


    1. I am glad I was able to participate. Both poems are indeed my reality. It has been fun to read all the bloggers on Linda’s site that responded to the prompt. Typically I read one or two that are new to me. But I felt the desire to read all that responded to the prompt today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. These, my favourite lines from each version of this poem:

    I am from a house with stray dogs, stray cats, and strangers
    I am from the yellow rotary phone on the wall attached to many party lines

    Liked by 1 person

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