Reposting: Where I am from


I am reposting here Where I am from, posted for the first time in February 2005, at a time when I was only starting taking photos and when I was still recovering from the psychological effects of breast cancer and radiation therapy. Why this morning? I don’t know. I just felt like doing it.

To listen to this post in French click below

I have followed Fragments from Floyd‘s assignment and written about where I am from. It took me a long time, as English is not my native language and I have mixed feelings about posting this so I hope you’ll bear with me. But here goes my attempt at WIF, as Fred1st put it.

I am from printing ink, film and newspaper, from the smell of soap and suds during the week and roast chicken and cheese-cake on Sundays, from working on open-air markets to owning a shop.

I am from the small, pink-curtained, scary-at-nights bedroom and from the long corridor with the old-fashioned refrigerator at the end, with the frightening articulated doll waiting in ambush, from the library where I borrowed as many books as was possible, and from the oblivion that came from these books.

I am from the hortensia and roses grown with horse manure, the incongruous sheep passing by our house, the long afternoons with a book on the beach, the playing cards with my illiterate grandmother

I am from the reading and studying and being stubborn, from the suffering in silence and rejoicing together around the piano, from Léa my grandmother and Fanny my aunt, and Gitta, my mother and Joseph my father. I am also from these relatives I never knew, my grandmother Feigl, and those who died in the Holocaust, my grandfather, Jozef, my aunt Rosa and my uncles David and Solomon, and also from this other grandfather who left his wife and children fend for themselves

I am from the survivors and hard-working, self-taught polyglotts who found shelter in France and settled in, from these people who wanted culture and education for their children

From ‘finish your plate, so many Chinese children are starving’ and ‘you are so cute when you’re asleep’ and ‘little girls must obey their parents’, from roaming the Louvre in winter and boating on the Bois de Boulogne lake in summer with my father, and from knitting endless sweaters with my mother

I am from being a Jew when Jews are attacked, but otherwise a practising atheist, from wondering why women aren’t allowed to sit where men can.

I’m from France, Poland, Bulgaria, my mother’s kneidlars and my grandmother’s burriquitas from my mother-in-law’s delicious tourte à l’herbe, and from travelling round the world with Roland, my husband.

From the woman who left her family and country to marry a man, changed her mind and married another one, from the woman who stayed with her mother until her relatives practically forced her to get married, from the woman whose husband wanted to marry her younger sister but married her instead, from the man who had to leave school at twelve to become an accountant, and help his mother raise his brother and sister decently;

I am from that large box which once held our dirty linen and now holds all the family memories, from things past that I am trying to reconstruct, from the family puzzle and from my inner puzzle.

I’d love to see more people trying this. You can find a list of more Where I am from here
The original template is here


16 thoughts on “Reposting: Where I am from

  1. Second time around is so powerful
    What a heritage –
    We share the printers ink, the library, finish your plate… and youre cute when youre asleep.. Must be a generational link 🙂

  2. Your WIF is so powerful, Claude, and especially good since English is not your first language. I have been thinking about doing this for 2 years, but mine would not be as fluid or as interesting as yours.

  3. Thank you SO much for reposting this, because I didn’t read it first time around. It was wonderful and so meaningful. I truly enjoyed it and much of it had meaning behind the mere words.
    I just might have to consider doing this eventually on my blog. I remember when it was going around, but I was new to blogging then and didn’t want to give it a try. Perhaps I’m ready now.

  4. Yikes. What a gift to you and to us. This is your personal power speaking from your post. Thoughts bubbling up through space and time. And memory. Oh, memory: of things, tastes, smells, people’s frailties and strengths. Oh my gosh. Gasp. Fabulous. I want more. And how gutsy you are to share, with yourself and with us. Thank you. I will return for rereading now and for gaining courage to follow your lead.

  5. New to the blogging world and just came across this. It has truly thrown me into some deep thought of Where I am From. I am going to do this for my own continual personal journey.
    Also like someone wrote “Where am I going”.
    Thank you

  6. @ tut-tut, I’d love to see you do the same
    @ endment, yes, there IS a generation link
    @ Terri, I’m looking forward to seeing your WIF on your blog!
    @ Walt, wherever the winds take me 😉 Who knows?
    @ MotherPie, maybe it would be different, but I don’t think I’d be able to do it again… It was a really special moment. I did the French recording much later, just because my throat wouldn’t allow me to do it when I wrote it, and even then, I found it quite difficult
    @ tamar, please do!
    @ Ernestine please post the url here when you write it.

  7. I also remember reading this the first time and thinking how wonderful it was. I tried making one myself, but I lost it somewhere before I could post it. I’m going to try writing another one.

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