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Friday, June 17, 2016

Ode to Grandmas


Silhouettes of  some of my, now grown, babies.  Yikes!



Some women sit alone,
(of which I may or may not, be one)
all day in kitchens,
remembering the
sounds of the small voices
of those who played at their feet.

(Or fought, depending on the day or minute.)






Once crowded minutes
which were full of:
words,
noise,
squabbles,
housekeeping,
quick smiles, quick tears,
quickly emptied to stillness,
over the years.

(dog barking, is not the same, thought it does break the quiet, unfortunately)

Women working,
waiting, wondering where
other's babies,
who visit, are.

More;
small voices,
quick smiles, quicker tears,
which quickly enter into the heart,
and take up residence.

(glad these babies go home, to return, again)

Paradoxical by nature, love.

In order to truly grow,
one must give it away,
so it will return.*




* the trick of parenting, if indeed there is a trick, is to have your children grow up into adults that do not need you, but want you. Or as I like to say, could survive in the wild (of life).

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Light Bulb: I do not mean a new idea.

 
Something I made long ago, and of course,
has nothing to do with anything I have written here.


It is true.
A light bulb has
eluded me for ages.

Metaphor?
Perhaps.

But, at this moment,
my forever friend,
is attempting to change it.

Love personified (as it it very late).

Tools:
Lamp
Mirror
Manual
Screwdriver (useless)

Patience along with---

Ingenuity at work.

SO far,
I am validated.
It may well be
impossible to remove,
and install a new one.

Which is,
kind of like most things
in my life that need repair right now.

All require patience.
All require ingenuity.
All have to be done with love.






Saturday, May 28, 2016

True Stories




The only events I have manged to be early for, listed in order of occurrence are:
One of my babies, all grown up. 

1. My own birth

2. My second child's birth

3. My third child's birth

4. My fourth child's birth.

The events I have been late for, listed in order of occurrence:

1. My wedding

2. Picking up my first child from nursery school on the first day of school.

3. Picking up my third child from her flight from the airport.

4. Taking my second child's flight to the airport

All of these have a story, which of course, now seem very funny, at the time, not so much, I will share the early events, and maybe at another time the late ones. The early ones, were totally out of my control, the late stories, well, maybe not my best moments.

1. My own birth: I was born on the front lawn of the hospital on a warm June evening, six weeks early. I was the fifth child, so that may have accounted for the speedy delivery (to borrow a phrase from Mr. Rodgers).  So my poor mother brought me into this world just outside the front door of the maternity entrance to the hospital.  When she received the bill from the hospital, listed on it was a charge for the delivery room.  My mother was incensed. The bookkeeper at the hospital response was, " but it was such a mess, and the clean up was awful, and there isn't a line item for that kind of situation so we just called the delivery room."  I do not know what my mother's response was to this as she has never  shared that part of the story with me.  What she did share was this: an elderly woman from our church, who called every one "kid", said to my mother the next time they met, "Kid, the funniest thing happened the other day. I was vising Gertrude at the hospital, and a lady was giving birth on the front lawn, imagine that!"  My mother's response?  "you don't say, how funny" never cracking a smile.

2. My second child was born six weeks early in September. After visiting the doctor in the morning with my husband, and the OB saying to my husband, it's okay for you to go into work, it will be a while, and my husband taking me to my mother's with a fifteen month old in tow, I waited.  I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally at 3:00 pm I dialed the doctor's office and said my water is leaking a lot, and the doctor saying, get in here, and not being able to reach my husband, my step-father drove me to the hospital.  When we got the front door and I let myself out of the car, my step-father waved and pulled off before I could hardly get the door closed.  There I was, a waterfall with child.  I walked into the hospital, walked upstairs to the maternity ward, dripping all the way, and was admitted.  Someone finally found my husband, which meant he arrived about an hour and a half after I was into this process of having a baby, and when the nurse looked at him and said, "it might be a while, maybe you should go get something to eat" interrupted by me saying, "if you go, don't come back." Maybe not my finest response, but, there you have it.

3. My third child was born twenty-five days early. It was the coldest day in January, so I felt the need to go shopping and get a few baby gifts to be sent to friends that had produce new progeny as of late.  I still feel sorry for the young girl in the local children's store. The reason is, as she was wrapping up the gifts, my water broke. I mean really broke. I had a sneaking suspicion she was the one that was going to have to clean that mess up. I paid for the gifts and left to find out that 40 below zero and your water breaking are not a good combination.

4. My last child was also born twenty-five days early. My husband still accuses me of breaking the water with my knitting needle, but this simply is not true. I had been to the local children's store in the morning to send a few baby gifts as our friends seem to be children progeny almost as quickly as we were, but lucky for them, my water waited until I was home.  (They just didn't know about the bullet they dodged).  The water broke so loudly on that very warm May day, my husband, who is a good person, while washing windows, putting screens up, heard it several rooms away.  The arrival was forty-five minutes later, and happily for us all, at the hospital, in a delivery room, not on the front lawn.



Monday, May 2, 2016

Open Window

Proof positive, things have changed


The curtains are open today.  A sight I have never observed in the thirty years I have lived here. Mrs. B is now in a cubicle home, in a town ten miles away. As it is morning, the sun must now be shining on a floor not use to seeing natural light.  I wonder, does the carpet plead for shade? For of course, the wood floors are carefully covered in wall to wall wool carpet, or does it revel in it, like a sleek cat finally finding warmth?

On her moving day, I walked over through the wet, rainy day to visit her one last time as my next door neighbor. Her carefully cared for living room was covered in boxes, papers, and used gift bags all looking like a tornado had arrived, and stayed without welcome.

She was perfectly coiffed. She was assuring herself, as well as me, this was all for the best, though it was difficult to leave, she wanted the place in town, but it was too expensive, so this really was best.

I reminded her of when we first moved here, her mother, her little dog, Pepe.  She remembered how her first home was above her father-in-law's grocery store in the next town, and they only spoke Italian. The building of her home, how happy she was to have a house to raise her children. A boy, then a girl.  Her hearing aids in today, allowed for the conversations that in the past had eluded us.

All the while her son and daughter-in-law packed boxes reassuring me they would find really nice renters for the house. This intertwined with how much better this will be as they are't able to be there all of the time, and ...

Mrs. B's erect body slowly folding into a chair, slightly shaking, causing me to fight the tears, as I said, I will come visit you, bring my grandson, all the while wishing somehow I had more to offer. Her face lighting up, while tears leaked out, saying how much she would like that.

As I took my leave, after carefully writing down the address, phone number of her new home, along with the son's number, I walked  home, slowly in the rain, which seemed only fitting as my tears were falling in the same steady stream.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fencing in Words>


Not glamorous, but the view I have had for thirty years...

April is coming to an end, May is around the weekend, and I am herding words onto a blank page. Baby is asleep, dishes wait, with no remorse, in the sink, with crumbs of  breakfast clinging, while I contemplate the silence of my sanctuary.

I have lived in this home for thirty years, while my neighbor, Mrs. B has lived in her home for fifty years. Today, she is moving into a new home, at least new to her.  Did she see this day coming or was the advance one of  stealth?

As I type this, I am able to see her solid brink house built by her husband with Italian hands.  Mr. B has been gone, though she has often said, she still expects him to walk in for a few words to bicker over, probably ten years. He was erect, walked with tiny steps on tiny feet, used a ham radio, groomed his yard with a manicurist care.

I think they prescribed to my husband's Irish gran's school of neighbors, "High fences make good neighbors.", though there wasn't any fence, just honeysuckle bushes, routinely trimmed one a year , with much care and a string to maintain the equal height as he cut along the row. He had an engineer's precision, and a temperament that did not interfere with his goal.

Sometimes, he would offer sage advice to our children, "wear shoes, missed a stripe with the mower, or clip the peonies after they bloom." Which, of course, surprised them as normally he was the silent one. Mrs. B on the other had, was the talker. She had worked in the bank where the children had savings accounts.When we would make our sojourns into that staid, silent establishment, to deposit money, but really to receive a tootsie pop, they were always surprised to see Mrs. B and always caught off guard when she knew who they were, for they, in their hearts, believed they were invisible to her when at home playing in the back yard. Funny how that is.


Anyway, she is moving, which for some reason, I find also moving. She was probably the age I am now, when we moved into this house with only two children, one on the way, no knowledge of the fourth that was to come after the third. Mrs B's  mother lived with her then, a white haired woman, and because she spoke only Italian, I never was able to communicate with.

As long as I have lived here, I have never seen the shades on the east side of her house open, even today they are drawn, closing out the morning light. I have only ever been inside her house a handful of times, though she has been in my home many times. I do know she has two kitchens, which I had never heard of before meeting her. I was in awe of this piece of information as cleaning one seemed like enough work for me. Since then, I have come to know many people with more then one kitchen.

(in fact, there is a house for sale not far from me that we call 'three kitchen" and can barely constrain myself from going to the open house to see exactly how this is laid out as it is small three bedroom ranch, not a mansion, which would seem a more likely candidate to house three kitchens, don't you think?)

These last few years with out her husband have been very trying for her. I know this for a fact as she has set off her burglar alarm with abandon at all times of the day. The difficult part is, she is very, very hard of hearing, doesn't wear her hearing aids in the house, and cannot hear the alarm when is it gong off.  Alerting her to the fact it is going off, after one ascertains it is an error is even trickier.

Then, of course, her house was broken into while she was at the Italian Women's luncheon, and fear has now won the day.  Nor can I blame her.

We are connected by time, proximity, and sentences, and I will miss knowing she was there.  









Thursday, April 21, 2016

Levitating

The Patient Man, I Love


I lie awake, levitating*,
while  you slumber beside me.


My annual respiratory distress,
thankfully,
is not distressing your sleep.

This unfortunate malady,
allows me the luxury,
of meditating on you.

Once again,
realizing how your life,
has made mine possible.




*Gotta love nebulizer treatments






Monday, April 11, 2016

Coming Home

Suspended, kind of like these plants I recently saw. 
Today,
My husband of thirty-eight years
is arriving on a jet plane.

I will, in a little while,
traverse four lanes of
wilderness,
to retrieve him.

The days without him
have left me feeling
s u s p e n d e d
between
being alive
and waiting to
live.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Attempting to go Forth

A recent quilt top I have made, which has nothing
 what so ever to do with anything.

Today:
I am going forth.

Not to slay dragons,
(except maybe the ones with in)
but to retrieve the dry cleaning.

Not to change the course of the nation,
(perhaps the course of my heart)
but to uncover the dining room table of borrowed objects.

Not to rescue fair maidens or princes,
(barely myself, these days)
but Clementine (our dog) from the hole in the fence.

These days of going forth are built of little tasks,
Alone,
Just a drop.
A drop of the ocean*.
The ocean of the everyday.







(to borrow from Emily Dickinson)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

nor beautiful


Not a beauty, nor beautiful,
*I don't have a cat anymore, though I wish I did. 

but her words were.

shining spots of language,
slid along the page,
as though skating on ice.
(even though there was never ice in Mississippi)

Choreographed without
routine to a melody,
seldom heard before or since.*

If only such sentences arrived in my mail box.




*inspired by the letters of Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald read in the collection titled: Meanwhile there are Letters





Monday, January 25, 2016

given the least kindness...


Bloom of compassion

I am drawn to be
better then otherwise planned,
when given the least kindness.

Melting, softening,
sensing,
selfless sentences
springing forth...
for others.














Monday, January 18, 2016

Found Beauty



One of, my friend ,Marc Chagall's pieces...


We each have a moment,
I think,
buried,
in our minds,
held,
tenderly,
carefully,
quietly.

Which,
I believe,
is the source
of how we perceive beauty.





Monday, November 23, 2015

Watching



We wait wondering,
November morning light in my livingroom
wanting no change,
yet expecting one.

We wait while,
wondering,
how life goes on,
amid this pain.

We wait watching,
one another's
grief.

We wait willingly,
for one another,
hoping for relief.

We wait while loving,
Joan with all our hearts,
knowing we will always do so,
hoping she will always know.