Based on the poem, “Where I’m From,” by George Ella Lyon.
Learn more about this woman, with the unusual name (for a woman): George Ella Lyon.
“In the summer of 1993, I decided to see what would happen if I made my own where-I’m-from lists, which I did, in a black and white speckled composition book. I edited them into a poem — not my usual way of working — but even when that was done I kept on making the lists. The process was too rich and too much fun to give up after only one poem. Realizing this, I decided to try it as an exercise with other writers, and it immediately took off. The list form is simple and familiar, and the question of where you are from reaches deep.” George Ella Lyon
Watch and listen to George read her poem.
Note from Marlene: I had the good fortune to first hear this poem at a writing workshop with Pat Schneider. I’ve written on this prompt many times . . . each time I feel closer to the family I inherited.
I am from . . . Prompt #52
Prom, Tonga Room, Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, 1965
It’s hard to tell from this ancient photo where Marlene’s hair ends, and the Tonga Room begins. I hope her date got lucky that night.
My 1965 prom was held at the Riviera Country Club in Beverly Hills. The golf club did not restrict jews and Groucho Marx famously said of it “I don”t think I want to join any club that would allow me to be a member.”
Most of the high schools in the L.A. basin spent grad night at Disneyland. The kingdom is not so magic at three o’clock in the morning. Of course we did not have access to the pricey stimulants that would augment our alertness a decade later. Ah… the good old days!
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