Posts Tagged ‘games’


When I open closets of my mind
I find the greatest wealth
Wonderful memories from my youth
Now tucked upon a shelf

Although we were Depression poor
We never lacked for fun
For there were countless childhood games
And then, when we were done

We’d make some skillet-butterscotch
Its flavor can’t be topped
And sometimes we’d make great big bowls
Of corn we shelled, then popped

Our toys were few and simple then
With some of them homemade
But the fun derived from such toys
Left memories that won’t fade

Our fare was beans and cornbread
Soups and stews and such
But it all tasted wonderful
Because of Mama’s touch

We didn’t know that we were poor
Nor did we even care
We were happy with what we had
Living the word, share

Of course there were some rough spots
But we’d all rally ’round
In support of one another
No truer love was found

Our life was filled with happiness
And were the good times weighed
Nothing else would quite compare
To that life I would not trade.

9/1/91 Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

2’nd … Indiana NPD 1991

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A group of friends meet once a week

To tell tall tales and more

While busy playing games of Whist           

Down at the country store


All six are in their seventies

And friends from days of yore

They drink a bit and chew a cud

Down at the country store


They liked to spit, but never miss

An old brass cuspidor

There they cuss without rebuff

Down at the country store


When they were young they made a pact . . .

An oath, to which they swore

And they discuss that very thing

Down at the country store


They laugh a lot about the past

From chuckle to a roar

What’s said is often whispered there

Down at the country store


I’ve seen a tear slip from an eye

And drop down to the floor

When one retells an old old tale

Down at the country store


They help each other when there’s need

No matter what the chore

Then pat each other on the back

Down at the country store


7/26/05            Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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Was the taste of life sweeter

When I was just a kid

I believe there was more pleasure

In the simple things we did


Candy was more delicious

Than today, anywhere

And ice cream was a great treat

Because it was so rare

An orange in our Christmas sock

Was a very tasty treat

All of the oranges since that time

Could never taste as sweet


Toys were very simple then

Of wood, and metal, too

And they were really treasured

Because there were so few

A wooden top and marbles

A simple checker set

A composition baby doll

That didn’t even wet


I don’t recall getting bored

Like children of today

We always made our own fun

When we wished to play

There was Hopscotch and Jump-rope

And, of course, Hide and Seek

A continuous game of “You’re It”

Which carried on all week


Old inner-tubes were treasured

And the source of great fun

When cut into rubber bands

For a handmade wooden gun

There were roller skate scooters

Tin can walking-cleats

And wooden stilts for the brave

All, for childish feats


I’d like to step back in time

And greet it with a smile

Reliving joys of childhood

For just a little while


3/11/89    Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck


2’nd … Indiana NPD 1999

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When I was twelve and my mom came home (Hammond, Indiana) one day and said that she had found the cutest little house for us to live in. She could have a garden and we would have a huge yard to play in. And, then she took us there and my heart just fell. But, I shall always remember it as my home on “Hookey Hill” where we had love, adventures, sorrow and joy.  We were a family.




I was a lonesome run-down shack

Sitting high upon a hill

Abandoned and neglected there

My rooms were much too still


My boards were loose and weathered gray

With specks of former hue

My tarpaper roof was wind-torn

And had a leak or two


My chimney crumbled from neglect

And had a ragged crest

Sparrows used it yearly

To house their springtime nest


My window glass held years of grime

Some frames had lost their panes

And sills showed signs of sad decay

From frequent snows and rains


My door had broken hinge and lock

So hung a bit awry

The sounds it made in passing breeze

A squeaky lullaby


My insides, too, were ailing then

With checked and peeling paint

But though in need of much repair

Could be described as quaint


For everywhere that one might look

Were glimpses of the past

And though it was in token form

Had somehow seemed to last . . .


Clean spots left upon my walls

From pictures hung with  twine

That hugged and graced the covering

Of faded rose design


And on my rough hewn pantry shelves

There sat a broken clock

A mason jar, a dented pan

And damaged butter crock


Rusty one-pound coffee cans

With sparse and dried remains

Of pungent red geraniums

Sat on my window frames           


A gaping hole was in my wall

Where stove-pipe once went through

Linoleum graced a cracked sink

And Granny cupboard, too


A room was added long ago

With roof of rusted tin

There was a deep dark cellar room

That served as harvest bin


And that is how I was perceived . . .

As a crumbling old shell

But life was not to see an end

For I have more to tell


A city family on a drive

Discovered me one day

And saw potential beauty here

Beneath my sad decay


And soon my wounds and bruises

Were no longer seen

I have new paint and paper

And brand new window screen


My chimney with its new red bricks

No longer winter sleeps

And with its new gray covering

My roof no longer weeps


There’s glass in all my window frames

That’s now kept sparkling clean

New hinges on my big front door

Prevents that awful lean


Pretty pictures once again

Decorate my walls

And the plaster on my ceilings

No longer cracks and falls


A big thick rug on once bare boards

Gives warmth to front room floor

While chintz and lacy curtains

Grace windows as before


There’s flowers on my window sills

A tiled kitchen floor

And a rug for wiping soiled shoes

Is by my busy door 


The musty smell of aging wood

Is now replaced, instead

By the smell of country cooking

And loaves of homemade bread


Six noisy children, with  their pets

Just love to laugh and shout

With youthful exuberance

As they run in and out


And the woods that surround us here

Have come alive once more

As children play their childish games

On its thick leafy floor


A cottonwood holds a crude tree house

A mighty oak, a swing

Another tree, the tallest one

Is crowned with kite and string


A cow is grazing in the woods

There’s chickens in a pen

Little hatchlings trail behind

An old brown setting-hen


A little boy plays in the sand

With tiny trucks and cars

And little girls pick wild-flowers

To put in old fruit jars


But that is not the best of it

For these are only things

My rooms are filled with happiness

And all the warmth that brings


My walls embrace this family

While sharing hopes and fears

And all the poignant feelings

Of their joys and their tears


And so I live, in joy again

A long awaited thrill

With time to make new memories

In this shack upon the hill



5/5/81            Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck


This is the DeWitt Family of Griffith Indiana

back row: Edward, Sally and dad

front row: Patsy, Beverly, mom and myself – Phyllis

Brother Donald had died in the war.

Edward and Patsy are now deceased but Sally, Beverly and myself (Phyllis) will have a reunion, in October, in Tennessee.

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I thought I would start off my Weblog with something to make everyone laugh. I know the residents of Martinsville, Indiana, could use one as they sop up the flood water. It’s a bit long, but I hope you will enjoy it and I look forward to your response.



          THE PICNIC


It was that special day again

Awaited all year long

It was planned with such perfection

That nothing could go wrong


With games and food and sing-a-long

Prepared in great detail

The clan converged at forest glen

And herein starts my tale


Some sheets were spread upon the ground

And food was placed thereon

With space enough around the edge

To seat the hungry throng


It started when Samantha Sue

Performed her annual feat

She upchucked everything she ate

Upon the picnic sheet


Obnoxious little Curtis Lee

Dropped bugs in Elmer’s plate

Old Elmer never noticed them

And relished what he ate


Aunt Martha brought her terrier

And Elsie brought her cat

The cat and dog were enemies

So hissed and barked and spat


They tugged at leash and chewed on rope

And finally they were free

The chase was on, right through the food

Up to a nearby tree


The cat then jumped upon the dog

I can’t describe the scenes

As they tangled in the salad

And fell into the beans

Then dripping beans from nose and tails

The chase led near a log

Where they disturbed a hive of bees

Who then chased cat and dog


Forgotten was their hateful feud

And running from the bees

They jumped upon the Preacher’s wife

And scratched her arms and knees


The woman, screaming from her fright

Pushed cat and dog away

She swatted bees with paper plates

Then fled, in her dismay


Well, cat and dog and Preacher’s wife

With bees in close pursuit

Ran right on through the food again

And squashed a bowl of fruit


With shoe caught in a melon wedge

Miz Preacher set the pace

For cat and dog and angry bees

Like some made comic race


They headed for a scummy pond

The Preacher’s wife jumped in

The dog and cat joined her there

In water to her chin


The cat and dog were terrified

And shared the woman’s space

The dog was first – sat on her head

With cat astride her face


The Preacher’s wife was traumatized

I know, I heard her swear

A string of words not fit for man

As she dislodged the pair 

The bees turned back, still angry

And headed up the hill

Our group, in mass, ran screaming

Including cousin Will


He headed for the old outhouse

And in his drunken role

He lost his balance in his haste

And fell into the hole


In extricating Uncle Will

(And laughing as he did)

John’s teeth fell out, and need I tell

Just where the darn things slid


He scooped them out with hot-dog forks

And washed them off with beer

Then placed them on a log to air

And blushed from ear to ear


Then Martha’s dog grabbed the teeth . . .

John’s anger was afire

And another chase was under way

Through bramble-bush and briar


Emerging from the underbrush

John’s language was a sin

The teeth were caught in Fido’s mouth

In toothy canine grin


Hank caught the dog as he ran past

And pulled the denture free

The dog then showed his gratitude

And bit him on the knee


So Hank let out a piercing scream

And cursed his luckless fate

Just then a crow high overhead

Dropped bird-doo on his pate 

It splattered down in Hank’s toupee

And whitewashed jet black curls

What made it worse was when he heard

The laughter from the girls


He shook the wig against a bush

Arousing skunks near-by

One lifted up his angry tail

And let his essence fly


Those catching spray coughed and wheezed

And rolled upon the ground,

They burned their clothes, right on the spot

And in the sheets were wound


Mosquitoes tortured everyone

And chiggers did their best

To make us scratch in misery

And put us to the test


The wind blew sand in everything

In food, and eyes, and nose

And sunburns were a sizzling red

From bald heads to bare toes


Small babies cried relentlessly

And children fought all day

“Dear Lord, please let this day speed by!”

I heard the Mothers pray


To top it off, as if on cue

Dark clouds then drifted in

The rain came down in buckets full

And soaked us to the skin


We rushed to pack our things away

But shouts were loud and clear …

“It’s sure been a wonderful day!

Let’s do it again next year!”



7/27/92                Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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