Where I’m From

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Where I’m From

I’m from Johnson Baby Oil, lemon juice hair bleach, and swimming pool perfume. From standing on towels to protect bare feet from hot asphalt, waiting to pay Smitty the Ice Cream Man. I’m from Lilac scented, kite flying, cloud watching summers.

I’m from shoelace skate key bracelets, homemade skateboards, and bicycle wheels clacking with playing cards. From kick the can, pickup softball games, and hide-n-seek until after dark when Mom yelled for us—including our middle names.  I’m from Gold Bell Gift Stamps, candy necklaces, and Vicks Vapo-Rub.

I’m from the big house on the corner, with the blue spruce dressed in red lights for Christmas. I’m from the room in the corner, with two windows, model horses, swimming ribbons, and a pet mouse, Scout.  I’m the one in the center of the couch, Steve on the left, Nancy right, and Tonka the Siamese, in the middle. I’m from the creek that ran through woods, all the way to Hidden Lake. I’m from the Civic theatre with Tarzan, slow-pokes and ancient, popcorn-scented darkness.

I’m from sturdy Shakotko bones and Stutte high foreheads. From Lanie’s sweet smile, and Marge’s distracted love. From Nancy’s elfin face, bullheaded stubbornness, and undying loyalty. I’m from put your finger on your hand to show where you live Michiganders, hockey on TV with my chin on dad’s hip and, after the Lions losing on Thanksgiving in Tiger’s stadium, coming home to the smell of Mom’s turkey and dressing.

I’m from Angry God Baptists, singing in the choir, and the golden-nave church I thought I’d be married in, and never was. I’m from Russia and Saskatoon, Livonia, and Petoskey, pirogues and pasties. I’m from shit on a shingle, milk toast, tuna casserole and Jiffy Pop.

I’m the keeper of treasures: photos, Christmas ornaments, and Toto’s Styrofoam Reindeer from Kindergarten. From Nancy’s library, to her ‘I Love You’ charm around my neck, keeping a promise all these years she’s been gone.


  1. Bruce on July 21, 2022 at 5:56 am

    I was there in my parallel world for much of that on the other side of Farmington Rd. sharing many of the same life experiences with you. Odd how we ended up, decades later migrating from the northern border to the southern border with multiple stops in between, living 20 minutes away from each other. Our parents are most likely looking at each other, shaking their heads and uttering “God Help Texas!”.

    • Laura Drake on July 21, 2022 at 6:02 am

      I know, Bruce, how crazy is that?! And I’m so grateful you’re back in my life…
      Now, about that lunch we’ve talked about – let’s get it on the calendar!

      • Eby on July 21, 2022 at 10:00 am

        Love it❤️

  2. Winona Cross on July 21, 2022 at 8:08 am

    Stunning post! You and I share so many of the same memories.

    • Laura Drake on July 21, 2022 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks, Winona – fun to look back, isn’t it?

  3. Julie Parker Neal on July 21, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    I am from Livonia too – Livonia, NY though. Finger Lakes region. Crossed through Canada to go to Flint, MI many times when I was doing an internship there. Love this blog post, Laura!

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