I Come From…

Beneath my suburban soccer mom SUV driving self is a long-haired brown-eyed, often barefoot, girl who grew up on a 100-acre plus farm near the Kentucky line. I had the pet chickens, the cows, and the mama who loved to garden (and still does and who is absolutely amazing at it).

My parents divorced when I was 7 and after living in Nashville and doing the whole country club Cadillac lifestyle, my mom discovered a beautiful old farmhouse to renovate about 45 minutes north of Nashville. It was her therapy and saving grace after she and my dad split. My mom grew up in the city in Detroit and she’d always dreamed of living on a farm. Because my older siblings were all out of the house by the time I was 10 or so, it was pretty much me and my mama in the boonies, along with a few dozen animals and birds. I even named all our chickens. No doubt had blogs been around back then I would have had a blog about my chickens. I was serious about these birds, ya’ll.

I was quite tickled to receive an invite, along with several other Nashville bloggers, from Hallmark to a breakfast get together downtown recently. It was a treat (minus the search for parking) to spend some time with blogger friends, new and old. We gathered around a table for a writing exercise with some of the amazing creative folks from Hallmark.

In a rush to clean out my car I accidentally threw away my scribbled in blue ink thoughts, but I’ve taken another stab at them and it’s a very nice reminder of my roots.

Let me know if you do the same.


The house I grew up in…isn’t it amazing? My mom has built a smaller, simpler home at the edge of our property but no longer owns this house.


I Come From…
8 miles from town
The youngest of five
Dusty gravel roads
Shiny black patent leather shoes on Sunday and Love Lifted Me
Wooden church pews and Wednesday night supper
Porch swings and ceiling fans
Bare feet and braces
Jungle Juice in a carton and Roman Meal bread
Hide and go seek and kickball…tag you’re it
Hee Haw and pin curls on Saturday night
The smell of dark-fired tobacco and smoke curled around red barns like a gray ribbon
Screen doors and open windows
Quilts stitched with love
Milk gravy and biscuits
Saturday morning cartoons
Falling asleep to bull frog serenades
No Internet or iPhones
Vinyl albums and TVs with rabbit ears
Soybeans and winter wheat
Napping dogs in the shade and the thump thump of happy tails in the cool dust
Flannel nightgowns and milk and cookies
Orange Crush in a bottle and Archie comics
Honeysuckle and four-leaf clovers
Trees to climb and barns to explore
4-H and the county fair
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie and Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Love

Where do you come from?

p.s. Here’s a link to a great video Hallmark made from our group of Nashville bloggers’ posts. Thanks for the reminder that life is a special occasion.

30 comments

  1. won says:

    That is a charming house!

    I live in a suburb of Detroit. So maybe following your mother’s footsteps, there’s hope!

  2. Nelson's Mama says:

    I hail from middle Tennessee now, but nothing, absolutely nothing, makes this western Kentucky girl more homesick than the smell of tobacco being fired. Some of the best memories from my childhood are going with my Dad to check barn fires at night; I’d sit in the truck in my PJ’s at watch my Dad as he went about his work by the light of the headlights. Oh, that wonderful smell, the cold air, the warm truck…to go back to that time.

  3. Balisha says:

    Hi Jamie..What a beautiful post this morning. I especially loved the “Where I Come From.” I had glimpses of your childhood…sounds so special.The Hallmark video was fun to watch. Love your blog and your Mama.
    Balisha

  4. Kelly D says:

    That is a beautiful property and house. I grew up in Staten Island NY, born about 30 years ago, and experienced a “country” type lifestyle there- it wasn’t built up yet. There was a marsh next to my house where we picked ‘punks’ and plenty of open spaces. Now every last piece of property is built on in that area.

  5. Jessica Compton says:

    I come from the middle of the hot desert valley in central California, lived there for 25 of my 28 years. Lucky for me, I JUST moved to the beautiful, clean Montana mountains! Thankful that my son can grow up in such a beautiful place rather than the smog-filled valley I did!

  6. Jamie says:

    Love the Roman Meal. That took me back.
    Where I come from…Central Florida before Disney.
    Orange groves.
    And beaches with a speckling of people.
    No air-conditioning.
    Nobody cared for Central Florida…before Disney did.
    That was fun.

  7. Laura Hegfield says:

    I love this post…I’ve been following your mama’s blog for maybe a year now and she is one beautiful human being…I know you must be too as apples never roll too far from their tree. Your poem is just beautiful. I’m so glad I stopped by.

  8. Freda says:

    Lovely to meet you on your blog (via your mom) – you have a lovely and creative “voice” and I look forward to coming back to check out how you are doing. I love your energy and enthusiasm, it reminds me a bit of how I was myself 30 years ago.Every Blessing

  9. Angela Michels says:

    I love your I come from list! I cannot believe you are 42! You look SO young! Absolutely beautiful!

  10. SHIRLEY says:

    Love the sound of frogs, when sittin on porch, country fair (here next week), sound of truck on dirt road, deer in yard, apple pickin days, thanks for the remind, AR country girl.

  11. ginette4 says:

    Wow what a beautiful country home, I grew up in the country but as an adult I had to move to the city to work, boy do I miss the country life, we had a ball walking in the bush, going fishing and making huge fires at night

  12. Stephanie Phelps says:

    Outside of your parents divorce I love your childhood. I live in GA and also grew up on farm although I grew up on an dairy farm we still had the chicken and pigs and loved it. I had a pig that we played soccer with so I can totally relate when you say you named them. I wish I had it in me to be creative enough to be a blogger!

  13. Stacy says:

    Your childhood home was made so beautiful by your mother. This is a touching testament to her job as a mom and to your ability to express your memories. For a while, we lived outside of Alpine, Texas on the side of a hill/mountain. When we sat on our front porch in the evenings, we could see javalinas parading in the distance. My sister and I spent many hours outside, and we collected rocks and caught horned toads. I miss those lazy days sans internet and cable tv!

  14. Kimberly B. says:

    What a beautiful picture of your house and property. You have an amazing gift for painting a mental picture with your words. Although I didn’t grow up on a farm, I have many of the same memories as you. Thanks for sharing!

  15. tom says:

    jamie –
    so glad you posted this! i’m always amazed at the stories such a simple exercise can tell. i just received participant feedback/links from the LIASO Tour, which wrapped up last week in DC. i really wish our crew could’ve stayed on longer in Nashville – it was such a great morning! hope all is well with you – take care!

    tom

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  18. Cousin Ronnie says:

    Hi, Jamie –
    Guess it just runs in the family as what you wrote about chickens could be said of your great-great-grandmother, your great-grandmother, and many other members of our family.

    Like yourself, I grew up surrounded by chickens, geese, turkeys, guineas, and ducks. And they all had names as well. We got into the chicken business, when our neighbor, Mr. Jones, gave us a bantam mother hen, Myrtle, along with a basket full of her newly hatched bantam offspring: Matilda, Arnold (named for our pastor), Henrietta, Gurdy, and Gretchen. Myrtle lived for over ten years and was the matriarch of the chicken yard. Motherhood was her calling. I think she lived in the nests, puffing her feathers and giving you that don’t touch my eggs look and cluck, whenever we went to gather the eggs. Every so often, we’d let her raise a new batch of chicks and we kept them separated in a little coop, till they were big enough to fend for themselves. Everything was hunky-dory the first week or so, until the babies began to grow and peep-peep-peep…peep-peep-peep…peep-peep-peep nonstop at which point we’d open the door to their cage to find Myrtle squatted down behind it and “YAHHHH” she’d make a break for it and jump out. She would immediately start scratching the dirt, however, calling her babies to come join her, so she could teach them how to look for food.

    Gurdy was one of her firstborn and particularly special. She hurt one of her legs, early on, and walked with a waddle, like a duck, for the rest of her life. Gurdy loved cheese and to come into the house for a visit. She also loved to swing. We’d put her in the tire swing or on the porch swing and she’d just sit there and let you push her back and forth. One winter I walked in the hen house and knew she was dying. I fixed a huge box for her in my bedroom, beside my bed, and took care of her till she died.

    Myrtle and Gurdy are just a couple of our feathered family members whom we cared for and loved for almost twenty years. Though their time in our lives were brief, the precious memories associated with all of them will last a lifetime and, hopefully, beyond.

    Cousin Ronnie

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