Posts Tagged ‘grandpa’


Halloween has changed a lot
Since Grandpa was a lad.
The things they did way back then
Were really pretty bad.

On Halloween, he and friends
Played their usual pranks,
Like toppling wooden structures
And emptying cattle tanks.

They loved to pick on poor old Slim,
And did so without fear.
Eventually came their last time,
For it was Slim’s big year.

They slipped into his darkened yard,
All quiet as a mouse,
And putting shoulders to the wood,
They toppled his outhouse

The boys were devastated —
They smelled like they had died,
For Slim had slathered its contents
On the toilet’s wooden hide.

8/25/05 Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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He used the knife to spread

honey on her hot-cakes.

An unattractive tool,

with worn wooden grip,

and flat brass studs

holding the nicked blade

in place. A special tool,

placed beside her Grandpa’s plate

for every meal,

because he would use no other.

In flashes of memory

she glimpses a shiny steel blade

dripping amber drops of liquid gold,

as Grandpa spread and cut

the contents of her plate.

Honey has never tasted as sweet

as when spread with that old knife

nor hot-cakes tasted the same

as when cut with that worn blade.


Last week he left this world,

and wanting a token that would

remind her of him,

she asked for the knife.

Someone, unaware of what it meant,

and thinking it was useless,

threw it in a box of trash.


Today she searched that box

until she caught sight

of a tarnished blade.

Tomorrow, an old knife,

hot-cakes and honey,

will bring back remembered taste,

and memories of Grandpa 


8/30/92    Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck



My husband had a butcher knife that he always used to spread butter, make sandwiches or whatever was needed. One of his granddaughter’s asked for that knife when Harold died. I hated to give it up but I let her take it. This is a photo of Harold with her third born son (named Roy Harold Wells-St. Clair) after his grandfather and great-grandfather. I miss her children. I miss my granddaughter and I even miss my husband’s knife. 

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Just old boards and rusted chains

The old swing hanging there

It’s hardly ever used now

But saw its time of wear


‘Twas there Dad held hands with Mom

As groom and lovely bride

And through the years it also held

Six children at their side


There I rocked my dolls to sleep

Or so I would pretend

And there I giggled endlessly

With Crystal, my best friend


Whenever I was punished

And thinking life unfair

I’d swing awhile in its arms

While seeking solace there


On moonlit summer evenings

My Mom sat in the swing

And as it moved back and forth

I’d hear her hum and sing


Then I would sit beside her

Being quiet as could be

And listen to her sweet soft voice

Singing old-time songs for me


My Grandpa often sat there

As he sprinkled the grass

Chewing wads of Granger Twist

And spitting with rural class


The swing was witness to my muse

Yes, almost every time

It was the perfect place for me

And my attempts at rhyme


So fertile seeds of poetry

Were sown in that old swing

As sitting there, deep in thought

I rhymed most everything.


Initials are carved on its arms

In hearts that entwine

Symbols of my first romance

(A hand grooved valentine)


And as I entered dating years

I’d sit with current beau

Saying things that sweethearts say

While swinging to and fro


There I received a diamond

On a warm starlit night

For such a romantic evening

The old swing seemed just right 


Three generations of infants

Were cuddled on the swing

Memories recall for each of us

The lullabies we’d sing


It often held our neighbors

Who came to chat a spell

If the swing had a memory

What stories it could tell


The old boards and rusted chains

Will soon be tossed away

But I’ll remember throughout life

That swing of yesterday



6/18/88        Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

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