I am From


September 27, 2013 by Beth Hess

I am from one glass of orange juice (unless it’s your birthday), homemade party hats, and saucy budget steak. But I never felt deprived. I am from playing outside until dark and sitting on freezing wooden buckets while the ice cream was cranked. I am from running down the sidewalk with a blanket cape and baseball cards in bicycle spokes.

I am from Main Street parades with tractors and school festivals with cake walks and town parties with vats of boiling corn. From a place so near the middle that half the town wears Cardinal Red, the other Cubbie Blue.

I am from doodling on church bulletins while Dad passes out Velemints. And watching a pastor sweat over his pulpit. And Sunday-night sing-a-longs that sear into my spirit that I am from “Just As I Am” and “What a Friend we Have in Jesus.” And hide-and-go-seek games at dusk where The Cross was Home Base.

I am from Indy Cars on Memorial Day Weekend and football on Monday night. I am from the cheap seats at Busch Stadium and the top row of Horton Fieldhouse.

I am from Banana Laffy Taffy and Steak ‘n Shake Chili Mac and Avanti’s Gondolas and Monical’s Pizza.

I am from Easter hams and Thanksgiving turkeys surrounded by a crowd. But Christmas mornings that last all day with just our family of four. Where the unwrapped gifts stayed in circles around the tree for days and a stray piece of tinsel would show up well past New Year’s.

I am from the backseat of a station wagon driving hundreds of miles each summer. License-plate-gaming and pop-up camping our way from the middle of the US all the way to the Grand Canyon. And Maine. And Walt Disney World. Except the summer we went to Africa. Where I learned I am from material extravagance compared to my Ghanaian friends but not the least bit more joyful.

I am from canoe trips and bonfires. Tonka pies and hotdogs on too-short metal sticks. From smelling like smoke when you crawl in the sleeping bag and waking up to sizzling bacon.

I’m from Brady Bunch after school and our goofy homemade snacks. I’m from the peach room Dad built just for me and the cassette recordings of WBNQ. I’m from basement slumber parties and carpools and babysitters who become family and cutting through the neighbor’s yard to get to school.

I am from “you’re a good writer” encouragements in 11th grade. And the kick-off of my journaling habit. From the words that were born from me Every. Single. Night. for the next 10 years, and semi-regularly since.

I am from more than I deserve.

Grace. Amazing.


This writing prompt is courtesy of the I AM FROM Syncroblog at SheLovesMagazine.com. It is perhaps my favorite writing prompt ever … and I love the stories that have come from it. Check out the other contributions or consider submitting your own.

6 thoughts on “I am From

  1. Michaela. says:

    “Except the summer we went to Africa. Where I learned I am from material extravagance compared to my Ghanaian friends but not the least bit more joyful.”
    This sounds like it shaped you so much. I wish everyone had these journeys in their youth.


    • Beth Hess says:

      It really did shape me, Michaela. As did everything in this post and everything I forgot to post. Sometimes we forget how important where we come from is, even if it’s not an easy story. Thanks for stopping by.


  2. So lovely. I remember Velemints, too! Loved hearing where you’re from, Beth.


  3. Oh girl, you had me at Banana Laffy Taffy — YES! And I choked on my mouthful of water at cassette recordings of WBNQ! HA HA HA!

    Certainly, we are of a similar place … and that has become even more evident in the grace that is the subject of our latter years, although so tangibly felt as we look at all that is behind.

    Thank you for writing this, Beth. I hope you’ll link with SheLoves … it would be a welcome contribution. 🙂


    • Beth Hess says:

      It’s amazing really isn’t it … to feel your childhood is so ordinary only to look back and see it as extraordinary. I did link with SheLoves. Thanks for the push, Kelli, in more ways and wonders than you may ever know.


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