Archive for the ‘Grandchildren’ Category

Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Make a Memory

A few days ago I posted a poem titled Make a Memory and promised I would tell the story behind it. My sister-in-law, Tiz, asked me not to be too long about getting it up, especially after I told her that she and my brother, Mike are part of the story and Mike was a prime player in “the memory.”

Mike and Tiz live in Australia and last September, they visited us in Wisconsin for the very first time. I hadn’t seen my brother in far too many years and had never even met Tiz so this was a big occasion. A wonderful time was had by all but one incident stands out to me above all the others. It was a simple thing really but rich and very complex in meaning to me on several different levels.

We had gathered on the porch in the late afternoon just talking about this and that, enjoying each other’s company and my Gr-son Gabe was sort of lurking around the edges of the adults, listening to our conversation (I think we were discussing politics or something) and he had come up and leaned against me. I could see that he was trying to get closer but there was nowhere for him to sit so I invited him to sit on my lap.

Now Gabe had formed somewhat of a huge boy crush on my brother Mike and I had noticed he was trying to impress him so I wasn’t surprised when he informed me rather scornfully “I don’t sit on peoples’ laps anymore, Gramma.” To which I replied that I guessed he WAS getting a little too grown up for that but I sure wished I had known the last time he sat on my lap that it was going to be the last time. He asked me why and I said because I would have made a memory about it since I loved it so much when he sat on my lap when he was little.

At that point Mike chimed in with a comment about how important living in the present and being mindful of what is precious to you when you are with your loved ones is because you never know when the last time is going to be. We had a short discussion about that. That was probably the best–most meaningful–conversation Mike and I had that whole weekend. There was a whole lot that was left unspoken but was said nonetheless, in my opinion.

The conversation moved on and awhile later Gabe came up and nonchalantly sat on my lap. I didn’t say anything, just gave him a little hug but I knew what he was doing. After a few moments, he leaned in close and whispered in my ear “This is the last time, Gramma. Make a memory.” 

When they got home, Tiz sent me some pictures of their visit. One of them is the picture of Gabe and Daryn playing with some kangaroo boxer toys and there is Gabe, sitting on my lap. Occasionally I would look at that picture and think about sweet Gabe saying “This is the last time; make a memory” and think about writing a poem. Eventually that poem pretty much just wrote itself early one morning. I changed very little after the first draft. Mostly just line breaks and punctuation and one word.

So, Thanks Mike and Tiz.  You both helped make a special memory.

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn


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The Little Orphan Annie


James Whitcomb Riley


Little Orphan Annie’s come to my house to stay.
To wash the cups and saucers up and brush the crumbs away.
To shoo the chickens from the porch and dust the hearth and sweep,
and make the fire and bake the bread to earn her board and keep.
While all us other children, when the supper things is done,
we sit around the kitchen fire and has the mostest fun,
a listening to the witch tales that Annie tells about
and the goblins will get ya if ya don’t watch out!

Once there was a little boy who wouldn’t say his prayers,
and when he went to bed at night away up stairs,
his mammy heard him holler and his daddy heard him bawl,
and when they turned the covers down,
he wasn’t there at all!
They searched for him in the attic room
and cubby hole and press
and even up the chimney flu and every wheres, I guess,
but all they ever found of him was just his pants and round-abouts
and the goblins will get ya if ya don’t watch out!!

 Once there was a little girl who always laughed and grinned
and made fun of everyone, of all her blood and kin,
and once when there was company and the old folks was there,
she mocked them and she shocked them and said, she didn’t care.
And just as she turned on her heels and to go and run and hide,
there was two great big black things a standing by her side.
They snatched her through the ceiling fore she knew what shes about,
and the goblins will get ya if ya don’t watch out!! 

  When the night is dark and scary,
and the moon is full and creatures are a flying and the wind goes Whoooooooooo,
you better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear,
and cherish them that loves ya, and dry the orphans tears
and help the poor and needy ones that cluster all about,
or the goblins will get ya if ya don’t watch out!!! 

It’s a pity I didn’t remember this poem and post it before Halloween.  Well I did but I posted it on my other Blog and didn’t get around to putting it up over here. 

My Grand-Daddy used to recite this poem to us little kids from memory.  It may have been the only piece of poetry he actually knew by heart.  It used to give me the shivers but I wanted to hear it again and again.

He gave me my first book of poetry when I was in third or fourth grade–a nice big thick book called “A Child’s Treasure of Verses.”  It was Delphinium Blue and about the size of a Reader’s Digest  Condensed Book.

It was the first book I ever got that didn’t have pictures.  And it wasn’t my birthday or anything.  He found it in the garbage at school where he was the janitor.  Grand-Daddy was always contributing to my reading addiction and was the main reason I could read at college level when I was in the 6th grade.  Bless his heart.

I spent many happy hours reading that book.  I can remember one occasion that I actually memorized something in it for a talent program and I can recall reading this poem to my brothers when I was 12 which would have made my youngest brother of three  8 or 9.  Yeah, we were stair-steps.

My Grand-son was still too young this year for this poem but next year I think he will be ready.  I hope it is a warm evening Halloween night because I will recite it in the dark with much drama and fan fare!



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I always go to Edgerton to spend Halloween with my children. Halloween is my Daughter and Son-in-law’s favorite holiday and of course my seven year old Gr-son gets hugely excited by the festivities. The wife of their best friends who live next door was born on Halloween so they have a birthday party for her as well.  Generally they take friend’s young son trick or treating with them while friends go out to dinner.

Son-in-law really gets into Halloween and goes all out decorating his front yard and porch up as spookily as possible.  His theme is a graveyard and skeletons, of course.  I generally help him out by shopping the after Halloween clearance sales for his Christmas presents and getting  him skeletons to add to his collection.

I haven’t hit Walgreens yet to see what they have but I think I want to get him a t-shirt with a skeleton on it if I can find it.  He was wearing the one he has for part of his costume this year and it is terribly faded and ragged around the edges.  Not that that is necessarily bad from his point of view, I suspect but it might be nice to get a new one he can start wearing under his mailman uniform this winter so it will have that appropriate worn out look in a couple of years.  <heh>

He alternates between being a skeleton and Jack from “The Nightmare before Christmas.”   He has a wonderful Jack costume and my daughter has a great Patty costume.  If they could get the Gr-Son to do one of the other characters instead of a super hero it would be wonderful but of course Gr-son loves the super hero costumes.  This year he was a Transformer.

Funny, I never let my kids buy costumes.  Ever.  And it wasn’t because we couldn’t afford them.  It was because I wanted them to use their imaginations and come up with great costumes the way my brothers and I did way back when.  Now you hardly ever see home made costumes and I suppose if I was my daughter I would not make my Gr-Son use his imagination either even though between his Mom, Dad and himself they could surely put together something better than that ticky tacky stuff passing for costumes.

I bought the kids a better grade of chocolates and little toys for their goody bags although I wish I had gotten them here in Madison rather than waiting until I got to Edgerton.  Russel Stover’s are NOT GOOD chocolates in my opinion!  I made good choices for all of them.  Baby T really liked her little ladybug noise maker.  She was so cute with it.

I got pictures of everything but I’m having problems with my photo program.   It’s a real puzzler.  Stinking ‘Puters!


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Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone
Oh where, oh where can he be
With his ears cut short and his tail cut long
Oh where, oh where can he be?


I am in such an incredibly good mood. Every-thing’s going my way! The Isthmus is quoting me. My Blogs are cooking right along, I’m writing daily without a struggle, I am pretty sure I have found the Dog of my dreams and I am not in excruciating pain 24/7 just 12/3 and 1/2 <snort> Actually, I think I am just finding it easier to ignore the pain because I am engaged in the world and enjoying myself.

I’m this close >< to getting a dog. It’s a choice between a dachshund/beagle mix–a Dachsle and a Yorkshire Terrier/Chihuahua mix–Yorchi. I’m leaning heavily towards the Dachsle because he is cheaper, looks just like my dog when I was a teenager, is low maintenance, and is probably less spoiled than the Yorchi who sounds like a holy terror from the way his ‘Mom’ described him.

The Yorchi is cute as a button but he is four years old and has never been neutered so he’s full of piss and vinegar. It sounds as though he has been spoiled rotten and needs some serious obedience training. I could DO that but do I WANT to? ummm NOT if I don’t HAVE to. There is also the cost. He will cost twice as much as the Dachsle who comes with a kennel and all of his toys and stuff.

I really like the Yorchi’s ‘Mom’ who is my son’s co-worker. And I think I will feel bad if I say no because she really really wants me to take this dog because she has such a high opinion of my son that she thinks *I* would be a great ‘Mom’ for her baby sight unseen. That is so flattering and I am so proud of my son for being such a nice guy that people think *I* must have been a great mother. That is so cool but he deserves so much credit for making the right choices in life when he could have very easily taken the wrong path.

For all the care and heartache
Life has brought to me
One precious gift has made it all worthwhile
For heaven blessed and with great joy rewarded me
For I can look and see my own beloved son

My son, my son just do the best you can
Then in my heart I’m sure
You’ll face life like a man

My pride and joy
My life, my boy
My son, my son

Vera Lynn

The song quoted above is a little misleading since I have a daughter I am also immesely proud of. I have spoken of her before in this Blog. My children are indeed my pride and joy. I have trouble expressing that sometimes. Intellectually I know that what I am about to say is crazy thinking but it is always there in the back of my mind that if things are going too well for me and mine and I express my happiness and pride in my life it will somehow be destroyed.

I need to get over that fear big time because it is putting such a damper on my relationship with my children. I love them so much but showing that love has become so difficult, I am literally subconsciously afraid that *I* will destroy THEM. Maybe by saying these things out loud on this Blog I can dispel that fear. How much more public can I get?

Oh, BTW, Thanks Mom and Dad for installing this huge fear into my ego, id or super ego or WHATever. Lovely.


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A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.

Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)

What happened to my WYSIWYG editor? I have this strange coding menu at the top of the text entry box. This is rather intimidating. Oh well, I’ll soldier on.

The time spent with my kids this weekend was pleasant. My Grnadson is growing like a weed and is nearly up to my shoulder. He is only seven. Handsome young man too. I’m not prejudiced or anything.

The baby is cute as a button. She’s at that age when babies are really becoming interesting. My daughter and I got down on the floor with her and put toys just out of reach so she would get up on her hands and knees and try to crawl to get them. She has the commando crawl down pretty good so daughter is working with her on a carpet that is rough and not so much fun to do the commando thing.

She is going to be a chatter box. Her little mouth was going the whole time, making clicking noises with her tongue and little jabber babblings. When son-in-law came in the room she squealed with delight and I would almost swear she said Daddeee but I’d have to hear it again to be absolutely certain.

I made a pork roast with potatoes and carrots Friday in son’s crockpot. It turned out really good. Son has a really nice crockpot. He needs a good set of pans and I will teach him how to cook. I think I will give him my big cast iron skillet if he wants it.

Nephew gave me a book by Chuck Palaniuk to read “Survivor“. It’s his favorite novel. I think I might have read this before but if I did it’s worth giving it a second read. I really enjoyed “Fight Club.” Nephew is such an anti-intellectual intellectual. An anarchist, I believe.

I want so much for him to educate that fine mind of his but he was not raised to value a formal education. The company he works for would pay for his tuition and I keep telling he could get his basic general credits out of the way at their expense but he doesn’t want to take basic general classes. He wants to march into Philosophy 303 and start arguing iwth the Professor. ARGH!

Oh well, he is who he is and I love him dearly. He can be like me and go to college in his 30s and appreciate it all the better for having waited until then.


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We’re off to see the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
You’ll find he is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz! there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz! there was The Wizard of Oz is one because,
Because, because, because, because, because.

Lyrics by EH Harburg, music by Harold Arlen “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

I’m off to see my Grandchildren tonight. My nephew will pick me up sometime between now (9:15) and Midnight and take me to Edgerton. He works odd hours and doesn’t get off work until 8:00 PM. It works out good for me because then I can sort of stretch that rule the building management has about not leaving pets alone for more than 24 hours out a little.

I don’t like to leave Patches alone for much longer than 24 hours but she does fine for 36. She’s more than happy to see me when I get home though. I got the paperwork necessary to get permission to have a dog in this building but I don’t have a clue what happened to it. They have to be designated as a companion dog. <heheh> Patches could use a companion.

Not so sure about me. Dogs are a lot of work but there are all kinds of guys in this building who would like to walk my dog if I get one. <shrug> I would feel safer if I had a dog but…

I would love a Boston Terrier or a Boxer. Better yet, I would like a mutt mix of either of those. I’m not all that big on pure bred dogs. The inbreeding is nasty. I saw a cute little rat terrier/jack russel mix up for adoption by its owners that I would be interested in but they say they don’t know how she would be with cats. If she hasn’t found a home by mid week next week I will call them. It would be worth a try to see if she is a chaser.

Oh goodie, my daughter just called and she is going to send a note to school with my Grandson so that I can pick him up rather than having him go to daycare. Fantastico! G and I get along well unless he’s feeling frisky and oppositional. He’s a really smart little boy and he likes to pit that smart little brain against Grammy’s brain. Grammy isn’t used to thinking on her feet against smart little boys.

He also likes to tell “stories.” Last night on the phone he told me he had skipped all the way up to 5th grade. Not too long ago he told me he thought he had flunked kindergarten. He had me convinced he believed that. That’s the third time he has caught me with his “stories.” From now on I don’t believe a word he says until I check it with his parents. <heh>

Update on the adoption process. The mother has decided to fight the state’s decision to terminate her parental rights. It may be three or more years before the baby is released for adoption and the mother could prevail. I am afraid for my daughter. This could get really messy. I am very proud of her for hanging in there though.

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The house and barn at Sugar Maple Farm were set into a grove of big old Sugar Maple trees at the top of a big hill. You could see for miles and miles in all directions.Especially if you were in the hayloft of the Farmer’s barn. TigerLily and her brothers and sisters played in the hayloft often because like most cats they were good at climbing.


Yeller wasn’t. He didn’t have the kind of claws kittens had that help them climb.

He got very frustrated when TigerLily clambered up a horse stall and peeked at him from the hayloft mewing giggles when they were playing tag.

It just wasn’t fair and he’d “Yelp” grumpily at her and go find a corner to sulk in. He really wanted to go up in that hay loft and look around.

One day when TigerLily was in the hayloft she saw something beautiful in the Farmer’s south pasture. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.


She had to show this to Yeller so she scrambled down the hayloft ladder and scampered out the door streaking across the barn yard to where Yeller and his brothers and sisters were wrestling in one big furry ball of puppies.

She could hear Yeller yelping when his sister flipped him head over heels. It sounded like he was having a lot of fun.


Yeller saw TigerLily sitting safely on top of a fence post out of the way and trotted over yelling Hello as loud as his lungs would let him. Yeller made a lot of noise every where he went. TigerLily smiled a sweet kitten smile and purred softly.

She led the way to the top of the knoll where they could see the South pasture and Yeller could not believe his eyes. What were all those brightly colored things in his Farmer’s pretty green meadow? TigerLily shrugged her tiger striped shoulders and led the way down the hill.


“Oh Michael, look at this pretty little kitten. She’s adorable with these tiger stripes and that little nose the color of Tiger Lilies.” said a beautiful woman with pretty green eyes and a nice smile.

“She sure is a cute one, Kerryn, but take a look at this little yellow pup that’s following her. I’d sure like to have a dog like him someday. I wonder what they are doing out here together?”

He leaned down to scratch Yeller behind the ears which made Yeller so happy he almost wagged his tail right off! What a nice human! Kerryn scooped TigerLily up and petted her until she purred louder than Yeller had ever heard her purr. He liked these people almost as much as he liked his Farmer and the Farmer’s Wife.

Kerryn was holding some colorful silky cloth up. Flames shot from a cannister that stood near Michael who was holding the opening of the big silky bag near it, letting the air inside get hot. As it billowed and filled with air they would gather more and hold it up and let the air take it as it filled up like a balloon. But it was so big. It couldn’t be a balloon could it?

Yes, it could! A hot air balloon. But the best part was yet to come!

Yeller and TigerLily sat down in the shade of a bush near the young couple to watch the people filling their balloons with air. They could scarcely sit still with excitement at all the beautiful colors and designs. Once in awhile they could see their Farmer and his Wife and their children moving through the meadow talking to the people filling the big balloons with air.


Suddenly all the balloons were full of air and towering over the meadow. Yeller and TigerLily raced back up the hill to watch the balloons. The Farmer and his family were already there watching the balloons taking off into the blue sky.  What a pretty sight!

Yeller barked and yelled as loud as he could to say Goodbye to the magnificent balloons as one by one they left lifted up in the air and left Maple Sugar Farm.


Then they heard familiar voices calling “Goodbye! Goodbye, Maple Sugar Farm! Goodbye little kitten! Goodbye Puppy!” It was the handsome young man and the beautiful young woman who had petted and played with them earlier.  They were rising up in a wicker basket attached to the most beautiful balloon of all.

Yeller danced around yelping his excitement! TigerLily weaved in and out between theFarmer’s legs purring her soft purr. The farmer’s son, Gabe scooped up Yeller and his daughter, Rose, gently lifted TigerLily up in her arms. They all waved goodbye to Michael and Kerryn.


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