Archive for the ‘Geneology’ Category


When Granny Jo had passed her prime
She did as she would please
Like wearing dreadful purple clothes
With hose rolled to her knees
She wore her hair in bun or braid
Sometimes it hung loose, too
She wore lace collars on her clothes
Her slip was worn askew

She scuffed around in slippered feet
And loved her mode of dress
She hardly ever wore her teeth . . .
And loved that, too, I guess
Sometimes she wore a knitted shawl
And old sun-bonnet, too
I saw her smoke a corn-cob pipe
And cheek a little chew

That dreadful look of hand-rolled hose
Sets me a-shudder now
But she extolled their ease in wear
And rolled them anyhow
I won’t be like my Granny Jo
And roll my hose down, too
I won’t get old and dress like her
And wear that purple hue

My teeth won’t lie within a cup
Used only when I eat
I will not think it’s cool to wear
Clothing that’s obsolete
I lived with her for many years
And couldn’t love her more
But I won’t image Granny Jo
With tastes like those she wore

8/11/04 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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FITTING THE MOLD?                   


What can be said about aging

That hasn’t been said before …

White hair, balding, and wrinkles,

Age spots and even more.


Canes and walkers and liniment,

Forgetting little things.

Tiring all too quickly, I hear,         

Can be what aging brings.


Yet that is just my body, friend,

My mind is still not old.

Just take a look beyond my frame          

Where I don’t fit that mold.


All I can do, is ignore its grasp —

Old is ten years ahead,

And for each decade that I meet,

The same can still be said.



8/16/05       Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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Why don’t we say “I love you”

          More often than we do

It’s such a lovely phrase to use

          And lifts one’s spirits, too


Why don’t we spread some smiles around

          They don’t cost a thing

But they are worth a fortune

          Because of warmth they bring


Why not listen patiently

          When others have the floor

And clasp a hand in friendliness

          And show our interest more


And why not let others know

          With acts that show we care

And pass our love all around

          So it spreads everywhere


8/22/88           Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

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A few lines looking back

         ON THE CUSP


How come the future’s far away

Yet suddenly it’s yesterday

There’s one thing wrong with the past

It comes along much too fast


2/10/00               Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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I found a little chest today

Covered with years of dust

The hinges were bent and broken

The hasp covered with rust


I held it for just a moment

Then brushed away a tear

I knew its precious contents were

Treasures from yesteryear


The lid squeaked as I opened it

‘Twas closed so long ago

I lifted away some tissue

And saw Mom’s cameo


A glass ink pen of Grandma’s

Mom’s hanky, edged in lace

A beautiful jeweled hairpin

That held my hair in place


An old tintype of Grandpa

When he was just a lad

A bookmark with the Lord’s Prayer

That once belonged to Dad


A pressed corsage of rosebuds

That once was pink and white

A small dance card of autographs

From Senior Prom night


A younger brother’s Purple Heart

What anguish that had wrought

A pin that bears my old nickname

That a friend had bought


A celluloid ring and pendant

 (Treasures my brother made)

Some charms my sisters gave to me

When I was in tenth grade


A narrow piece of ruffling

From my wedding dress

A 1940-D penny

(It brought luck, I guess) 


Wee lovebirds from my wedding cake

In the box that held my ring

A beautiful golden locket

Now hanging from a string


Remembrance in a lock of hair

Carried throughout the war

By my handsome soldier husband

When he was twenty-four


Some precious little ringlets

In shades of yellow-gold

Mementos from my children=s hair

  When they were one year old


Some love letters tied with ribbon

A valentine or two

Some cards the children made by hand

That say, “Mom, I love you.”


A treasured memory of my son

(A pin in blue and gold)

He bought it with some money earned

When he was ten years old


A pin my youngest daughter made

Twenty-eight years ago

And from the other’s light brown curls

A faded yellow bow


Each token tucked within the chest

Recalled a memory

The scenes were played across my mind

In stirring reverie


I closed my eyes in memory

Again, I dried some tears

Then closed the chest, and put it back

Where it had been for years



5/12/86        Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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            PAPA’S VIOLIN


When Papa played the violin

          Mom rolled the rug away

We children smiled because she knew

          We’d rather dance than play

As Papa raised the tempo

          Our feet kept cadenced time

Mama often sang along

          With words in perfect rhyme

We’d dance until the music stopped

          Then fall into a chair

While Papa changed the tempo

          With expertise quite rare

It seemed he knew a million tunes

          At least I thought he did

But that was admiration

          Through the heart of a kid

Yet, he could play forever

          And without one repeat

The music slow or lively

          With melody so sweet

From concert music and old tunes

          To music of the day

Two-step, waltz, and hoedown

          Oh, how sweet he’d play

He could set your heart soaring

          On his concert violin

The room so still you could hear

          The soft drop of a pin

But then with quick transition

          The tempo changed once more

From violin to fiddle

          And our feet caressed the floor

That little box of polished wood

          With strings and resined bow

Made music that pleased angels

          Or inspired heel and toe

But that was just acoustics

          And guaranteed to please

What really made that box sing

          Was Papa’s expertise



6/11/90        Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck


6’th … Indiana NPD 1999

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