Today, we’re writing about grandparents. We’re focusing on becoming one, being one or one of your grandparents.
Alternatively, write a “grand” poem. A grand = $1000, it’s a kind of piano, it’s a stand-up person, a mensch. Grand Canyon, the Grand Hotel, Grand Theft Auto… think outside of the cube-like cardboard container!
65 thoughts on “JULY P.E.O.D. MEMOIR CHAPBOOK CHALLENGE – JULY 9: GRANDPARENTS”
I hadn’t thought about those darn goats in years!
As Yet Untitled
My grandma lived in a two bedroom
shiplap house that was halfway up
the biggest hill in town.
She sold parakeets and canaries
in the big bedroom. She slept
in a little room off the kitchen.
Grandma had rabbits. Every Sunday
there was one less — cooked them
in a black pot on an iron stove.
There was an old rusty Ford, buried
axel deep, behind the chicken shed.
The goats stood on it.
I could jump on the Ford’s roof as long
as I didn’t scare the goats, and it was ok
to plant dandelions in her veg garden.
My other grandma wore a fur coat.
Perfect. I had a pair like that too
Your ending carries quite a punch. Love your memory descriptions!
Love the details and the comparison of the grandmothers with the last line.
LOVE the detail in this. Memories so thick. Very well rendered, Marilyn.
I didn’t see that one coming. Wonderful.
Wow, what a pair!
PER IL MIO POPPI, by Walter J Wojtanik
Teach me aged one,
show me the ways of life!
I am very young and you are
here to guide me in this world.
Times they are changing,
yet it is all so new to me.
I depend on you to be.
Teach me aged one.
Soon you will become
too old and I will be
prepared to care for you.
Show me the ways of life!
I cherish your gentility.
You have given me so much
and I wish to give to you now.
I am very young and you are
most deserving to be cared
for and celebrated. I am
elated that it was you who was
here to guide me in this world.
*PER IL MIO POPPI (For My Poppi)
Yes, yes, and yes
… and YESSSSSSSSSSSS!
Would that we all have the same attitude toward the aged.
in a perfect world, Connie. it would be great!
In such a world….
Caring and tender, Walt.
are not needed.
Small, quiet kindnesses
are more useful.
Don’t mess around.
Whatever you are doing,
do the hell out of it.
Recalling my first
there is nothing to
Wonderful words as usual! You always leave me with such a peaceful feeling, no matter the topic, no matter the ending.
“Small, quiet kindnesses are more useful.” I love that thought.
Some recollections aren’t worth remembering, Daniel. your worded wonder keeps rolling along!
Yes, better to make new memories.
My old granny waxed wanton and free
and was busy as bees, usually,
but if into her body
went a sip of hot toddy,
she became just as calm as could be.
I so enjoy your rhyming snapshots. Sometimes poignant, always fun.
I am soooooo enjoying these challenge pieces, Bill!
Fun poem. Had to look up soporific. Good title.
Another ten, William!
Another winner, William!
This challenge is special to me since my grandparents raised me. I believe to this day that God made it happen the way it did because of the prayers of my grandmother. And I believe that I am a better man, a better husband, a better father, and a better grandfather because of my grandparents. This is just a small glimpse into my grandparents and what they did for me and what they meant to me. Hope you enjoy.
They stepped into my life when my dad stepped out
Mom had too many problems with too many of us
My older brother had moved out two years before
And now I wanted so much to join him
A two week summer vacation before the 1st grade
I quickly fell in love with the simple country life
No sharing beds, fighting, or smoking babysitters
That is, if we had a babysitter in the first place
When Mom came down for me to take me home
I had no intention of leaving this wonderful place
So I ran and hid in my grandmother’s garden
From there snuck my way into the woods
I could hear Grampy Earl and mother talking
He said they would let me stay with them
After all, my brother needed someone to fight with
Surprisingly mom agreed to sign me over
Grampy Earl became the father I never had and
Gram became my much needed prayer warrior
They raised me in love and gave me so much
By example they both showed me how to live
Oh, we were dirt poor, but I didn’t know it
I had what I needed and much more than that
A warm home, my own bed, and food in my belly
But most of all I had the best grandparents ever
The years in the country passed one to the next
In the meantime mom made a complete turnaround
Dad never did wake up from his selfish stupor
Some people just aren’t meant to be parents
My Grandfather was an extremely godly man
I don’t think I ever heard him say a bad word
And Gram was the glue that kept things together
Especially when Grandpa started having issues
To church every Wednesday and twice on Sundays
I was introduced to Jesus and He became my Lord
A Bible was always open as Grandma would read
The message of the Truth and the Life and the Way
When I was a Freshman my Grampy Earl died
He told Gram he loved her as he did every night
Quietly he rolled over and drifted off to sleep
I know when he woke he was standing at The Gate
Twenty-eight years later Gram took the same trip
I’m sure they’re both waiting on me to arrive
Oh, the lessons the taught me I’ve held on for life
And passed many on to my kids and grandchildren
Now I’m Grampy Earl with grandchildren to love
And I do and I will for as long as I live
It’s an honor that not all are able to claim and
I thank my grandparents for showing me how
I’d forgotten you were raised by your grandparents, and the story of hiding in the woods.
This fills me up, it does. And you and I are a bit on the same page today.
I so enjoyed reading this, Earl.
A poignant take, Earl! My grandfather helped raise me so I know the love that your writing displays. Better men we surely become thanks to them!
Wonderful story of love and compassion.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Having devoted grandparents made my childhood something special. Holidays were spectacular, with wall-to-wall cousins and outstanding meals — Irish on one side; Italian on the other. Summertime meant choosing a cousin to spend a few nights at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I suppose you probably knew, but we were kind of given free reign, and ice cream and nonpareils rained freely. Those were fun years of my life. I miss the years, and I miss my grandparents.
I don’t miss them like my kids miss you. We didn’t have the special closeness my kids had with you … the kind where they weren’t sure they could ever live without you. The kind where they spent their lives fearing the inevitable. The kind that took special grace from God to go on in the wake of losing you both within 35 days of each other. The kind that begs, “Just one more day. Just one more conversation. Just one more hug.” The kind that made their lives richer for the living, a bit shattered in the leaving, and grateful for every shared moment.
A love worth the loss.
This is who I want to be
To my granddaughters.
© Marie Elena Good, 2019
Really great one, Marie
Thank you, Connie.
Hit post before I meant to. Thank you Connie and Bill.
Truly awed by your haibun, Pard. From bits and pieces shared Across the Lake, I am familiar with these exceptional folks. A beautiful piece!
❤ to you, Sir.
Thank you. ❤
An Introduction to My Grandparents
I grew up in hilly Pennsylvania countryside
close to both sets of grandparents.
Born nearby in the mountains
in what is now the State Game Lands.
Twelve years older than Grandma.
Spit tobacco. Tightly squeezed our hands.
Grew the best strawberries, lots of them.
Used a rake handle for a cane.
Once worked on the railroad. Liked to tease.
Dad used to tell the story of Grandpa
asking Dad what he wanted on his sandwich.
When Dad said, “Anything,”
Grandpa put Noxzema on it.
Born in the hills of Kentucky.
A large, kind woman who wore housedresses.
Her glasses magnified her eyes to look like an owl.
Liked to go to church and play the organ.
Had a big collie named Laddie.
My sisters were my baby sitters, but once
Grandma Shannon came to our house
to stay with me, while Mom was somewhere.
When Grandma did the dishes, I found a towel
for her. She wondered why Mom kept them
back in the hall closet. I didn’t know what to tell her.
I still don’t know why Mom kept them back there.
Lively with a twinkle in his eye, whistled bob white.
Came up to visit in the mornings with candy in his pockets.
Took us on hayrides with his tractor pulling a cart.
Laughed like Santa, “Ho, ho, ho!”
A carpenter, he smelled of sawdust and hand lotion.
One time, I tagged along with him
when he went to a farm to buy a chicken.
They chopped its head off and it ran.
From then on, when someone used the phrase
“like a chicken with its head chopped off”
I knew exactly what they meant.
Pappap grew up on a cotton plantation in Alabama.
He and his brothers picked cotton.
One day, to make their quota,
they stuffed Pappap in one of the cotton bags.
They all got in trouble for that one.
Grandma was born in England and now I
have the picture of her at three years old
when she came over to the United States.
Always sick, she sat in a big highbacked chair
like a throne. I played at her feet while Mom
helped Pappap take care of her.
One day ambulance people hauled
Grandma off on a stretcher.
I squeezed against the stair railing
for them to get by. Later, Dad held me up
to see her sleeping in her casket.
Pappap had a ladyfriend named Mrs. G.
They never married, but he drove the fourteen miles
to her house every evening (almost till the day he died)
and didn’t come home till the middle of the night.
My aunt said no one should ever buy his car because
it would drive back and forth to Johnstown by itself.
I really had it good to get to know my grandparents.
My kids only knew theirs from short trips to
Wyoming and Pennsylvania from Colorado,
except for a three-year period we moved back to PA.
Now single and in their 30’s, I’m still waiting
for them to get with the program.
This is so warming to read
Bill says warming, and I will add charming. Seems like characters in an unforgettable storybook. ❤
These stories (poems) are comforting quite telling. So much love passed through generations. Warming indeed!
Really enjoyed reading this, Connie!
Family gathers round Grandma’s braided rug
When the Christmas clock tolls midnight
Santa has come and gone
No need to wait
To unwrap presents one at a time
Till all are gone, tree
Grandma says she’s tired
Let’s go to
I thought I had posted this already . . .
Worth reading again, Darlene.
She was not grand, this humble woman
No large house or fancy clothes
Her fashions hadn’t changed since the ‘30s –
Black shoes that tied, with a sturdy heel,
Marcel waves in her hair and a cotton house dress
Modest and frugal, she never forgot the years of struggle
She baked and canned, made soup and dandelion greens
And shared all she had with neighbors in need
Yet she was a wise and compassionate example
For all the generations that were fortunate enough
To learn from her
So very typical for a Depression lady. Wonderful.
Very nice, Candace.
She sounds wonderful!
I love reading all these grandparent memories! I don’t have many of my own grandparent memories. My poem was written about my husband’s grandmother, who we lived next door to for many years.
I can’t seem to leave this one alone.
My Grandma Wore Mink
The sheets. The folded towels.
Even the pink toilet paper
was scented lavender.
She wore every base and treble
note of purple. Lived in it.
She smelled of Avon.
Grandma added spoonfuls
of sugar to string beans,
made dumplings so soft
angels wanted to sit on them.
Crystal long-stem glasses
are for kids, too, she said.
Grandpa stayed in his workshop.
Wore a paper bag on his head
to keep the sawdust out of his
hair. He kept yellow pencils
in his pocket — also kept one
tucked above his ear.
My other grandma could pluck
a chicken and milk a goat.
Let the memories flow, Marilyn.
pink toilet paper scented lavender. That is quite something.
Thinking about Grandma’s braided rugs brought me a new realization
Grandma’s rugs were works of arts
She used latchhooks before they were “in”
Red canaries flew through sun-filled skies
Bluejays rested in a spring-green tree
Underneath my feet an autumn forest grew
In brown and rust and gold
Next to it a quiet lake spread
In muted greens, blues, and greys
–My mother painted once upon a time—
My rugs don’t match Grandma’s
And I can’t draw like Mom
But I color with paints
They’re works of art
Brought to life with brush pens
My pictures hang in rooms
Colors, my family, and me
Love this, Darlene.
Grand Hotel – 1932
Despite lush, plush furnishings
and manner, the Grand Hotel
had secrets that befell
individual guests, ranging
from melancholic, to fearful
to dead. Barons were gamblers,
ballerinas–aging prima donnas.
Accountants dying, money flying,
cheaters, fleecers, Kings
of Industry sans scruples,
with stenographers as their willing
pupils. Ah, the grandness
of a hotel–waiters scurrying,
hurrying to meet needs and whims
of guests. Tuxedos, gowns,
and exotic dinners for under-
handed sinners. Do not be fooled
by fancy trimmings. Pass by
the Grand Hotel with a fond
wave, and continue on to a less
luxurious place. All is never
what it seems.
The Grand Hotel always reminds me of “Somewhere in Time”. My Dad obsessed on that movie. Twenty years without mom made him wish it could happen. I love this poem for that reason and so much more. You captured something special there, Sara!
Thanks, Walt. I love that movie and its eccentric characters.
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