Where I come from

I’m not American, but I appreciate the pride that unfurls on July 4 in the Land of the Free.  I feel that pride surge in my own heart for my Land of Beauty; at least for the way it was back in the day.

A few months ago, I came across Elizabeth Brewster’s poem “Where I Come From” and decided to give it an island-girl twist.  Here goes:

I come from McKnight by way of Africa and Ireland
Flying to a tiny island at age five on BOAC from London 

I come from cops and lawyers, 
Blue- and white-collar folk who came up the hard way

I come from loud Herberts and less-loud Hectors, 
From singing “Fall On Your Knees” in the living room on Christmas Day and
Dominoes being slammed on tables, toilet paper on hand

I come from peering out Nanny’s bedroom window late at night,
Intrigued by revelers heading home after the dance “up de hill”

I come from Mr. Hancock shouting “Ice Creme” on Sunday afternoons from behind his cart of frozen delights
From Bathtowel and Barkie staggering in the street early morning, singing calypso with liquor-laden lung power

I come from dusky sand and seaweed floating in the ocean, 
From choirs of crickets heralding the evening and
Rain pelting zinc roofs at night 

I come from a people who read voraciously
From crochet lessons from one grandma and sewing classes with the other

I come from Ms. Herbert’s penny bread and Ms. Baby’s Black Cat chewing gum covering my front teeth

From breadfruit, silk figs, guinep, and mansiport, 
Raisin roll, coconut tart, and cake from Amory

I come from merit badges and first-place honors, and a love of language

I come from laughing with friends in the living room for no apparent reason
From playing dodging hoop and rounders and Na-Na-Thread-de-Needle 

I come from Mom’s shopping lists and Dad’s quiet listening
From going easy on the butter to make it last justabitlonger

I come from the intense scrutiny of small island politics, with its exhilarating wins and crushing losses

I come from where God planted me … Sugar City


  1. I can still hear the dominos CRUSHING the table and rattling opponents! 'Plenty bath must share when games playing' lol I love it… and miss it tremendously! 🙁

  2. LOL! That's the truth, girl. We can't help but miss it. Home is home, no matter its challenges.

  3. Anonymous says:

    AliPus, loved it. You really covered everything in McKnight.
    I excuse myself from the "loud Herberts" I am a Powell ! Lol


  4. @AnonymousCuz, that's your story and you better stick to it! LOL!

  5. Enjoyed the poem!…don't know the original but liked this one!

  6. @Ngina OtiendeThe original is good too, Ngina. Check the link in the blog to read it.

  7. Well you're kind of American since you live here 🙂 So you get a free pass.

    SO why is it HOT out and i'm procrastinating on going to this BBQ my husband wants to go to. I just don't feel like it

  8. Anonymous says:

    You nailed it…except that you didn't mention me, your classy ladylike cousin. I remember your arrival in SKb at age 5, what wonderful times we all shared then and continue to share now when we get together.

  9. @AnonymousWe sure do, cuz! The good times continue to roll!

  10. @MichelleI accept the free pass, Michelle! LOL!

    I'm not leaving this house today, so I feel you on not wanting to go to a BBQ. After not having air co last weekend, I'm revelling in it this time around!

  11. That was beautiful Ali! I am glad to know more about you! 🙂

  12. @ShannonGlad you enjoyed it, Shannon. It was fun to write and took me on a great trip down memory lane.

  13. Sheron Treasure says:

    Lol! Interesting! I can relate!

  14. That was so amazing Allison. I guess when we get together We never really have talked about where we are from. Even though our past are so different I think it’s wonderful how God has brought you and I together to be friends and sisters in Christ. I love you so very much. Thank you for sharing. I love you my friend. Marilyn

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