Childhood entertainment when the service went too long
Carried in my mother’s purse
with Juicy Fruit gum and a silk handkerchief
A magnetic pair in a little white box
Imaginative fun for one little boy
Today is Quadrille Monday (only 44 words) at d’Verse. De asked us to write about magnetism in any way we chose. I was taken back to pre-school days when my mom would carry the magnetic Tricky Dogs in her purse to entertain me at church. I loved playing with them. If you put the like poles together they would spin around and connect from opposite poles. They were great entertainment for me.
Sixty years ago, when I was twelve, we loved to go sledding in the moonlight. The bright full moon shone down on us as we sailed down the hill, past the mail boxes, on our sleds. All the neighbor kids joined in for a fun evening in the cold. Those were great times.
Mem’ries of snowfall
Bright Wolf Moon shines down on us
Sliding down the hill
Photo: from our family album
Frank Tassone asked us to write a Haikai poem that alludes to the Wolf Moon in January.
I walk through the cemetery of my childhood
visiting old friend’s stones, long engraved;
unchanged through every season.
Each stone’s name brings back a special memory;
Some much more memorable that others.
“O, there you are my favorite stone of all
You haven’t changed a bit in fifty years
Honsaker tombstone do you remember
How we walked your ledge in the dark
On summer Sunday evenings after church;
And, do you remember when my friend Jimmy
brought a girl to make out in your dark shadow;
What a wonder you are // the largest rock on the hill.”
“You don’t know how confining it is to remain unchanged;
Year after year watching the living and the dead pass by
Oh. how I long for the freedom to move and rise above
like the birds flying overhead.
I remember you and all your friends with great nostalgia;
Your laughter and happiness lifted my spirits.
But now, all that is gone and I sit here // alone // rock solid
Waiting for the end of time.”
I leave them all behind as I walk back to my car
feasting on memories frozen in time.
Photos: Dwight L. Roth
Amaya, at d’Verse, asked us to look at the use of apostrophe in poetry. I always thought that an apostrophe was just that little mark you use when writing a contraction. Today, I learned it is much more than that when used in poetry. It becomes a form of personification, injecting and addressing what is not there as though it was a living being. I think I got that right!? I chose a tombstone that I remember very well.
Join us at: https://dversepoets.com
When I was growing up, one of the perks of being a preacher’s kid was that people in the church often gave us things. This helped to supplement what little income my father received. One of my fondest memories was getting a big loaf of homemade bread on a Sunday morning. Bertha McCann and Katy Townsend were two women who made the best bread I ever tasted. One day, when I was ten, I was raving about Katy’s bread. I expressed interest in learning to bake bread like that. She said when I was twelve, she would teach me. I remembered her promise, and when I was twelve, she helped me bake a batch of bread. My bread never quite matched hers, but I was very proud of my accomplishment!
Fresh warm homemade bread
Topped with butter and jelly
My best summer treat
Photo of my first batch of bread: From our family album
Our prompt today at d’Verse is food! One of my favorite food memories is homemade bread.
Age does disturbing things to some minds. Alzheimer’s disease leaves many feeling like their memories are only scattered pieces. Life no longer makes sense, as short-term memory disappears. Stress levels increase and shut down. Confinement can become necessary to protect the person from wandering off or putting themselves in harm’s way. Some still remember the distant past and days of childhood. Happy and traumatic events from the past get repeated over and over again. Questions to visitors are repeated over and over again as well. It is very sad to see a person deteriorate in this way.
Aging rusts the soul
Life scattered like lights and doors
Falling leaves hide rust
This is a picture of the Little Golden Book that was read to me in the early 1950s! The story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff has stayed with me all these years. The old grouchy Troll who lived under the bridge was outsmarted by the three billy goats.
Today at d’Verse, Frank asked us to write a Quadrille of 44 words using the word Troll. I immediately thought of this story from my childhood. It is one I remember enjoying over and over again, when I was four or five years old.
“Who’s tripping over my bridge,” said the Troll.
Childhood memories conjured up with great fondness
Courage and confidence displayed by small and large
The ugliness of this storefront
Does not diminish the long-held memories
Of climbing those steps as an eight-year -old.
Lunch hour at our elementary school
Gave us time to cross the streetcar tracks…
To go to Serafino’s store to spend a nickle or a penny.
Inside a big case with slanted glass
Allowed us to view all the many choices
Every variety of candy tempted our tastebuds:
Fireballs, cinnamon sticks, and Sugar Daddies
Licorice tubes in a box, wax teeth, candy cigarettes
Necco Wafers, wax bottles of sugar water in a box
Good and Plenty, red licorice, and candy bars…
So many to choose from for our little minds
Yes, the store may be closed
…and boarded up
But the wonderful joy of climbing those steps
Still brings a smile to my face.
Memories see things as they were
Not as they are
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Today on d’verse Mish asked us to look at the beauty in ugliness. We are to write a poem showing a different perspective on what most people would consider ugly. This Fall I went back to my old elementary school and saw it was now a home where someone lived. This is the store where we used to go at lunch to get candy, if we hand any money to spend. It is now boarded up and looking pretty bad. But the memories are still there.
This is the prose piece I wrote that was included in the Old Mountain Press winter anthology called Celebrating the Holidays.
Chocolate Drops and Hardtack
Growing up in a preacher’s family meant that I got in on all the background preparations that went on at Christmas. This was especially true when getting ready for our annual Christmas program.
We lived in a poor coal mining community of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Christmas program created a special time for everyone, especially the children. They knew that after the program ended everyone got a special treat to take home.
A week prior to the program my father shopped for all the goodies that went into, the Christmas boxes. He came home with a variety of candy, English walnuts, and Brazil nuts. We all participated in the job of sorting the candies and filling one hundred boxes.
The small cardboard boxes came flattened and needed to be pushed into a rectangular shape and closed on one end. The long narrow side had a string inserted so it could be carried like a miniature suitcase. On the outside were colorful pictures of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, the Shepherds, and the Wise Men. The boxes were about the size of an Animal Crackers box of the past.
On Saturday we all gathered around our big dining room table and began filling the boxes. Into each box we put a couple of chocolate drops, some colorful hardtack, English walnuts, Brazil nuts and Hershey Kisses. We folded and locked the flaps together and carefully packed them into several large cardboard boxes.
As the program commenced, the atmosphere grew tense with excitement. Parents watched their little ones recite their piece, all dressed up in housecoats and holding shepherd staffs. When the program ended, my father announced that we had one last thing to do. Several adults passed out a box of candy, a big red apple, and a big navel orange to everyone.
The service ended and we all went home with a treat and a smile.
*********************************************************************** Printed in the Old Mountain Press winter anthology 2017