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Porch Flowers

April 11, 2011

My boyfriend, Drew, went home this weekend and came back with arms full of fresh produce and these flowers for me. Aren’t they beautiful? They’re LSU colors now, but Drew is hopeful that they’ll be a” Saban arrangement” and turn crimson and white eventually.

If we’re good friends, I may have told you that I really love this poem before:

“I had everything and luck:Rings of smoke
blown for me; sunlight safe inside the leaves
of cottonwoods; pure, simple harmonies
of church music, echoes of slave songs; scraps
of candy wrappers-airborne. Everything.
Mother and father, brother, aunts, uncles;
chores and schoolwork and playtime. Everything.
I was given gloves against the winter cold.
I was made to wear gloves when I gardened.
I was made to garden; taught to hold forks in my left hand when cutting, in my right
when bringing food to my mouth. Everything.
I had clothes I was told not to wear outside;
a face you could clean up almost handsome;
I had friends to fight with and secrets, spread
all over the neighborhood; the best teachers
white and colored. I’m not making this up.
I knew that I had everything. Still do.
– G.E. Patterson, “Autobiographia”

I think it’s a lovely piece because I often forget how fortunate I am. Earlier today, my sister and I were discussing the challenges of having had an unusual childhood.  I didn’t live in suburban America for a large part of mine and not only have those European experiences affected me profoundly, I also didn’t grow up reading the Berenstein bears or watching tv or celebrating Halloween (my family celebrated Reformation Day, complete with the nailing of papers with Martin Luther’s 95 Theses onto a door in whatever church we happened to attend at the time). I still haven’t watched Pocahantas. Because of all this, I don’t get a lot of references or share a lot of childhood experiences with people my age, and that is uncomfortable sometimes. That said, I wouldn’t change my upbringing for the world — I’ve experienced many things most people never will (how many other Americans do you know who have lived in a Communist block building in Romania?) and because of all that moving, my family is extremely close and I consider the three of them as some of my best friends. I was encouraged to read and to love school, and that’s something that I hope never ends. When it comes time for me to have my own children, I hope that I will be as loving and supportive as my parents have been and continue to be.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Linda Shook permalink
    April 16, 2011 8:08 pm

    These flowers are so beautiful but not nearly as lovely as the person you are!

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