WHERE I'M FROM - THE AUSSIE VERSION

Taking up the challenge to describe 1960's Australia and then the 2021 version, using the "Where I'm From" poem template.

WHERE I'M FROM - THE AUSSIE VERSION

I don't know about you, but I find that there are times in life when something resonates with you on a heart/soul level and because of that it sticks in your mind for the long haul. One of the little things that captured my interest a few years ago was a poem written in 1993 by George Ella Lyon entitled "Where I'm From". 

I think I liked the "feel" of how she wrote and the images it evoked for me - and it challenged me to want to write something similar for myself.

WHERE TO BEGIN WITH WHERE I'M FROM

What I love about the internet is that it has an answer for almost every conceivable question and when I Googled how to write "Where I'm From", up popped several templates to guide the potential poet in the right direction. I used the one I found HERE to get me started when I made my first attempt back in 2017.

George Ella Lyon encourages people to write their own versions of her poem and also to use it as a jumping off point to try something new. I've now done both.

WHERE I'M FROM - THE FIRST VERSION

When I wrote my original version back in 2017, I stuck to her format and created a little life story based on my childhood in Western Australia - family snippets, little memories, and recreating some of that Aussie feel from the 1960's. 

WHERE I’M FROM (1)

I am from long Aussie summers, and Vegemite spread over buttered white bread.

I am from a brick house in suburbia, a quarter acre backyard, wooden post fences, and clothes flapping on a Hills hoist line.

I am from towering eucalypt gum trees and spikey double gee prickles that stick in the soles of your thongs.

I am from little fibro beach houses, and “my favourite granddaughter”, from Stevenson and Rhodes, and from Faye and Mal.

I am from story spinners and compulsive collectors.

From children being seen and not heard, and left to run wild.

I am from lapsed church goers sending their children to Sunday School to do the right thing.

I’m from Scots and Poms who settled Down Under, eating chops and three vegies, and mooshing icecream in our bowls for a treat.

From times spent riding buses when shopping with Nana, carrying the grandfather’s old tobacco tin filled with small change, and the blocks of Cadbury chocolate they bought to sweeten our visits.

I am from a cardboard paged album with black and white photos, filled with hot summer days and small family moments.

From old brown dogs, and young innocent faces.

From freedom and space, and memories still treasured.

That’s where I’m from.

Where I'm From - Australia in the 1960's

WHERE I'M FROM - THE SECOND VERSION

Recently I was challenged to describe where I live without using visual aids. The "Where I'm From" poem came to mind again and this time I tweaked it quite a bit to try to give a feeling for where I live now and how my home and surrounds feel. 

WHERE I'M FROM (2)

I am from Australind, tucked away near the coast in the southwest of Western Australia.

From a childhood in the city, to choosing a life in the countryside - with space for our children to grow and run free.

I am from the only two storey house in my street – facing public open space that reminds me of the acreage where our children were raised.

A place with room to breathe, friendly neighbours, quiet walk paths, and a wide blue sky.

I am from a small country suburb that backs onto a river and native Australian bush – with cool breezes blowing in to relieve the hot, dry Summers.  An open vista, people who know me, and a life I love.

I'm from the city but chose to live in the country – with the gift of open space, and a quiet life of contentment.

From a man who shares my love of that quiet life, and who works from an office upstairs.

I'm from a house with room to be together and space to be apart; from a love of minimalism and lack of clutter, all kept clean and well tended.

From sunlight streaming through windows on balmy days, and warm lamplight to read by on cool Winter evenings.

I'm from Western Australia, born and bred, and have found my place to call home. With no desire to follow our children to the city, or to chase after a bigger or brighter life.

I’m from a house that has become my home – shared with a husband I love, and two furry cats.

From a house that has too many bedrooms and too many bathrooms, that sometimes feels a little large - until those rooms overflow with visiting children, grandchildren, love and laughter - then it feels just right.              

That’s where I’m from.

Where I'm From - Western Australia 2021

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

I hope that gave you a little glimpse or two into life in Australia - from 50+ years ago, and from today. I'd love you to try your hand at something similar and see what memories rise to the surface as you delve back into your childhood days. 

RELATED POSTS



Taking up the challenge to describe 1960's Australia and then the 2021 version, using the "Where I'm From" poem template.
Taking up the challenge to describe 1960's Australia and then the 2021 version, using the "Where I'm From" poem template.

If you'd like to know when I write a new post, I'd love you to click HERE for email updates.
 And feel free to share this post by clicking on a share button before you go.
Or, alternatively, why not follow me on Facebook?
Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive
My childhood in 1960's Australia

50 comments

  1. I truly need to sit down and have a go at this...maybe some time when I'm a tad less hectic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can add it to your retirement bucket list Jo :) x

      Delete
  2. I loved hearing you read this Leanne, and I loved reading it again and reflecting on it futher. You have done an awesome job with this. It truly does speak volumes! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Donna - maybe the Aussie accent helped make it more "real" when I read it?

      Delete
  3. Both versions sound lovely Leanne -- perhaps I'll try this exercise for a future blog post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to see you have a go at it Janet - you have such an interesting and colourful past - transforming it into a poem like this would be fascinating to read.

      Delete
  4. I love both your poems Leanne. The first one sums up how it felt to be in Australia in the early days. A very similar upbringing to mine in NZ. Life seemed so simple back then!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christina - some of my US friends said it reminded them of their childhoods (when I shared the first one in 2017) so maybe a 1960's childhood was pretty similar in most Western countries? I hope so because life was very simple and carefree back then.

      Delete
  5. I loved both versions of your "Where I'm From" poems. We got to know you and your background a little bit better and also got a glimpse of life in Australia. Children were left to run wild where I'm from too. I think kids today are missing out on something. Maybe some day I will write a Where I'm From poem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laurie - I hoped it would give a little look into life in Australia back in the "good old days" and in the "now" - especially the non-city version of where we've lived for the last 30+ years. I'd love to read yours if you ever give it a go x

      Delete
  6. Both are fantastic. The serendipity is sweet: I'm feeling unmoored and rudderless. Remembering where I come from is likely to be a help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Empahla - I think when we stop and pull out the little nuggets of the places and times that have brought us to where we are, it grounds us and gives us a surer sense of self - maybe it's time to do your own version of Where I'm From?

      Delete
  7. These are lovely and I like the poetic nature of them. Really love this idea and I might have a go at it myself! Thanks for sharing both versions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat - you'd be great at this because you're really good at drilling down to what makes you tick and what's brought you to where you are. I'd find it really interesting to read your take on a poem like this.

      Delete
  8. leanne, these poems are lovely. Even though we live a world apart, I see many similar connections between our lives, both growing up and now. With a few tweaks, your poem could also be my poem. Minues the vegamite for sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michele - you non-Aussies never quite get the joys of Vegemite I'm afraid :) And yes, I think there'd be lots of similarities - particularly from how we were raised "back in the day" and allowed so much more freedom than kids have today - we were very fortunate weren't we?

      Delete
  9. As I told Erica after reading her poems and thoughts, I feel like a kindergartner trying to run with the big dogs, the big bloggers whose words, images and experiences are so varied and rich. I can't keep up!! Going to try my hand at this but not sure I will share the results. Your two poems are so descriptive, each in their own right. And both saying the same thing...that you love your life and your home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leslie - I think you'd be surprised at how good you'd be at something like this - because there are guidelines and it's not too "out there". I always enjoy your descriptive posts of your home and family, so I'm sure you could nail this with no trouble at all.

      Delete
  10. This was such a great exercise Leanne and I'm grateful to you for sharing the template which I had a go at doing in a recent post, as you had inspired me! Your words show us your world so many thanks for sharing it with us. It really is a lovely way of describing your world. My post can be found here and I'll make sure I link up to yours now. https://debs-world.com/2021/02/17/wordy-wednesday-where-am-i-from/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb - before I even published this, I included a link to your post at the end of my "Related Posts" section because I enjoyed it so much and really liked how you tackled the theme. I love the commonalities and the differences that come from picking little snippets of our lives to share - and it was so much fun to do wasn't it?

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the link to my post Leanne, I love our blogging community for sharing each other's work so freely :) Such a fun exercise and I have pinned to my group board.

      Delete
  11. A great exercise to do Leanne and you certainly are a clever poet.Reading your first poem reminded me of where I'm from with lots of similarities. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue - I think a lot of us shared similar upbringings back in the 1960's and poems like this bring little flashes of it back to remind us where we came from and why certain things are still important to us. I bring our grandgirls a chocolate each time we visit - because it's something my Nana did for us (a small family tradition created from a happy memory).

      Delete
  12. I agree with “Where I’m From” resonates. It is much more than a place and an address. I find your two versions very intriguing. “Mooshing icecream”.....I recall the phrase, and the actual mooshing. The “....cardboard paged album with black and white photos....” Poignant, flash backs for me. I LOVE this!

    And, now to read “Second Version.” Soooo much good here. “....gift of open space.....quiet life of contentment.” I briefly wonderabout our spacious home, yet it gets filled a few times a year with friends and family (before pandemic and it will again.) I feel so much of you, Leanne, in both versions. Not just a place with an address......a home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erica - your care and encouragement shines through in your comment - and yes, it's funny how words invoke memories isn't it? I can actually see my parent's photo album in my head with it's cardboard pages and those little stick on corners that held the photos in place (long before the plastic sleeved versions of today). And yes, a house can feel big, but when you know it's that way because there's room for family and friends, then it's worth that extra bit of cleaning etc so there's space for everyone to feel welcome - that's truly "home"

      Delete
  13. mmm. Much food for thought there. I loved reading these and congratulate you on your creativity and honesty as well as creativity. You know what you want, where it is and how to have it. I do not share that certainty....yet.
    Thanks so much for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, we are #11 and the optional prompt is Floral. Hope to see you there and in the meantime, may you be well, may you be safe and may you be content. Denyse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denyse - I think life often takes us on journeys that make us question when we'll finally feel settled and have "arrived". Selling your home probably lengthened that journey for you, but you've created your "home" exactly where you are, and eventually maybe there'll be somewhere even more settled - the future is bright my friend.

      Delete
  14. Beautiful and inspiring! I am going to try this for myself over the weekend. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christine - I'd love to see what you come up with - you'll have to share it on your Facebook page x

      Delete
  15. I SO love this, Leanne!
    I used to teach a similar poem to my 7th graders, but I never tried it myself. I plan to save your post for future reference and some day soon, I will write my own "Where I'm from" poem to save as part of my legacy project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Molly - it would be perfect for a legacy - little snippets from childhood memories are always special to those who read them later. I love that it evokes a picture and also that our stories have commonalities and also their own uniqueness.

      Delete
  16. What beautiful imagery comes to mind with both these poems!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joanne - I think they give a little glimpse into life in Australia - both now and back then - simpler times indeed!

      Delete
  17. A lovely poem. I first heard this in grad school and have had lots of students write these. It's a great way to get to know someone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish someone had gotten me to write this when I was a child or a teenager - it would be interesting to see what I'd have come up with back then. I wonder how many of your students kept their poems?

      Delete
  18. Both versions are lovely, Leanne. I like how contentment shines in your second version. Thank you for sharing where you're from. #WeekendCoffeeShare

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Natalie - you're right about the contentment - life just feels so "right" atm - nothing is really irritating or stressing me anymore - living in peace is so pleasant!

      Delete
  19. I LOVE this....I'm going to look at giving it a try...I really enjoyed your descriptions and could picture each thing or curious what they were since I live in the States. Thank you for sharing. Visiting from Weeekend Coffee Share.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kirstin - I'd love to see what you come up with - other bloggers commented on my first attempt that their childhoods had a lot of similarities - even though they were in the US - I guess the simplicity of childhood resonates in us all.

      Delete
  20. Very beautiful and inspiring. I am bookmarking your post, and will return to give it a try. I enjoyed both of your versions. Thank you so much for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maria - I hope you try your hand at writing one, I'd love to see all the different versions that other bloggers would come up with if they gave it a go. The little insights into your life would be so interesting.

      Delete
  21. Replies
    1. Thank you so much - if you're in NZ then I imagine there would be points of similarity - especially in the first one about childhood :)

      Delete
  22. I love that! I think it's funny that when I saw that you were doing an Australian "Where I'm From," I immediately thought that it had better include Vegemite! And it did, so I was not disappointed...

    My daughter wrote a "Where I'm From" poem as an assignment in her English class. It was interesting to see what she remembered from her early childhood, since we moved from the snowy woods of rural Michigan to the Houston area when she was 6.

    Bethany @ Happily Loco
    http://happilyloco.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bethany - no Aussie childhood is complete without vegemite :) It was a fun exercise for me to see what little snippets of my childhood featured (and the importance of my grandparents) and then to see what connects with my heart where I live now.

      Delete
  23. Hi Leanne, I love both versions, they could be part 1 and part 2 of the same poem. I haven't tried writing one myself, yet, but I plan to, when the time is right. I feel quite sad when I think about where I'm from, as it's changed so much since my childhood it's so hard to believe it's the same place. Have a great week, Leanne!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl - I think we all move on from who we were in our younger days and it's hard to look back sometimes when things have changed so much. I love that we go on to create new and more authentic lives for ourselves that reflect who we are and what's important to us - memories are lovely, but being truly happy in the "now" is even better x

      Delete
  24. Hi Leanne - Thanks for sharing this. Never knew about this. I should try my hand at this. I have book marked this post, so that I can come back later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pradeep - it would be so interesting to read your version of this poem - I imagine your childhood and life would be very colourful and interesting to read!

      Delete
  25. That's very cool! And so clever, I love your version(s).

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.