Thursday, February 26, 2009
I am joining Kelli for Show and Tell Friday again. Go here to see more wonderful treasures. The above drawing, with poem overlaid on it, is framed and hanging in my home. You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it enough to read the poem.
I drew the picture and wrote the poem several years after having visited my mother’s birthplace in Aurora, Nebraska, during a family reunion there in 1984. I wanted to honor my mother’s wonderful storytelling ability and the generations of family historians she represented.
The drawing is of the house where my mother was born in 1929, and lived until she was seven or eight years old, when her family was driven by the “Dust Bowl Era” to move to California. The cellar door, between the bay window and the tree, was open to allow for quick access during an approaching dust storm or tornado. The windmill was a very necessary piece of equipment for a farm in those days to pump water for irrigation.
Each of the stanzas of the poem represents a different segment of time. The first three are from stories of my mother’s early life. The first is her very earliest memory of waking up in a house quieted by everyone else being outside doing chores, and her toddling to the kitchen to find something to eat. The second is a few years later, being fearfully sequestered in the cellar during a dust storm, and her father returning to the family with a mouthful of dust to assure them that it was the hay mower turning over that caused the crashing sound, not the windmill. The third was the painful transition of a Nebraska farm girl to the glitz and prejudices of life in North Hollywood, California.
The fourth stanza represents a transition to her adult life in the Rogue Valley of Oregon, where she is retelling the stories of her early life and of her ancestors. Many a Saturday morning with “plate-sized pancakes” were spent in those reveries! Although by that time my grandparents were gone, and we lived far from most of my mother’s other relatives, my mother had a way of making them come alive. If one of them came walking through the door right now, I would know them instantly!
The fifth stanza represents the time of the family reunion and visiting the homeplace. In the light of the atmosphere and landscape, the history and the personalities that had been attached to it were palpable realities!
The structure of each stanza is similar. The first line introduces the place and the season. The second line says something about the wind. The third line talks about eating. The fourth line mentions the attributes of the voices. The fifth line tells what they said.
Well, I hope my dissection here helps you to appreciate what this piece means to me. Enjoy!