Saturday, September 27, 2014

Undated - A Poem (Unfinished?) To Me

This one's a bit of a mystery, I'll admit.  I have two drafts of this poem (one rougher than the other) and no final typed version.  Perhaps the final version solves the mystery.

Here we go:
David D. was playing on the ground
When all of a sudden, guess what he found?
A magic ring all gold and bright
Shining and new...a sparkling sight!!
It spoke to him in the tiniest voice
"To own this ring, you have no choice
Make three wishes 'fore the sun has set
Or the Anger of the Genie is all you'll get."
So David thought to make one wish
"I wish for cake" and Boom! Bam! Swish!
A Genie appeared and tapped his hat
Out of fog and smoke and just like that
Came delicious cake sooo tall and white
So he dove right in oooh what a sight.
He ate from the middle, he ate from the top,
He ate and ate till his tummy cried stop!!
"Ow how it hurts I'm much too stuffed"
Said David D. as he huffed and puffed.
"I wish this hurt would go away!"
And Boom! Bam! Swish - it was gone Horray!
I think you can guess the mystery but let's let that sit for a bit.

By the poem's imagery (there's a cake and wishes) I am guessing he wrote for one of my birthdays, though I have no memory getting of the poem at all and there's no indication anywhere which birthday of mine it was or indeed whether it was written for a birthday.  But given this slimmest of evidence I think it's a very safe guess.

By the way, here we are (my dad and I) from a long time ago:

The date on the back of the photo reads "Oct 64" and since I was born in early October, 1963 we can safely assume the photo was snapped sometime around my first (of about 50, so far) birthday.  Dad was a mechanical engineer (NYU '56, I think) and so the ballpoints in his pocket aren't that out of place.  Neither are the mid-60s tie, probably with a neat tie-tack safely securing it to his white short sleeve shirt.  I'm not sure if you can see this, but my dad's wearing two rings; his college ring on his right hand and his wedding ring on his left.  I was already engaged to be married when he passed away in 2007 (the wedding took place in 2008) and my mom let me have dad's wedding ring.  So the ring you see in the picture of my dad with his one year old on his lap is the same ring I'm wearing right now.

The picture itself was taken in our dining room.  The windows behind us opened up to the back yard and to our left was the kitchen.  The wall paper was eventually painted over (thank goodness) at some point though I can't remember exactly when.  I do know that I repainted both the dining room and kitchen sometime in the late 80s and the rooms remained unrepainted over when we sold the house a few years ago.  I'm thinking, though, that that wallpaper's still there, underneath a few coats of paint to be sure, but it's still there.  Just knowing that makes me fear for the republic.

And now the mystery.  Were you able to spot it?  According to the poem, in order to avoid "the Anger of the Genie," I have to make THREE wishes.  But in the poem, I only make TWO (one for cake and one for the cakey-tummy ache to "go away.")..

But what of the third?

As I said, perhaps the final version of the poem offers a solution, in the mean time, let me offer a post hoc.  The poem also recounts a special ring, all golden and bright.  My wedding ring (which was once Dad's wedding ring) is all shiny gold.  It may have taken a few years to get it but I eventually got the ring.  And I still have it, my precious.

So it looks like I still have my third wish.

Thanks, Dad.  I'll let you know what it is when I discover what it is.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

October 7, 2005 - A Poem To My Cousin

My mother, my father's wife, was the third of four sisters.  The other sisters (in order), were my aunts Elida, Micky, and Teresa.

Here's a picture of mom's immediate family, circa 1946:

My mom's in the upper right hand corner, in the plaid.  Sitting to her right is her father, my grandfather.  He (or at least his red hair) is mentioned in this poem and he was called "big boy" by his extended family, though I never ever called him anything but Grandpa.  He was a wood worker who built us some amazing wood things for Christmas gifts.  When playing poker, his hands would shake a little more than a little when he had a really good hand.  When we saw Big Boy's hands shake, we all knew enough to fold.

My Aunt Teresa's in the lower left hand corner, with her arm around her oldest sister, my Aunt Elida.

Within a decade or so of this picture, Aunt Terry would be married and she'd have a daughter, my cousin, Josette.

And when Josette turned 50, my dad sent her this poem:
Happy Birthday Josette
Let us pause to contemplate
This special day we celebrate
Twas on this day that you were born
One early early autumn morn
What a day this work has known
Snce you were sent "on loan"
Your mother thought, "Oh, what the hello,"
"Well just keep her." "How can tell?"
"She might grow up to be a saint"
And then promptly went into a faint!!
No! "She'll grow into something better"
"Like a labrador or Irish Setter"
So she kept you and what she got
(A Lab or Setter you are NOT!)
A lady lovely, thoughtful, nifty!
Better still you're only fifty!
Happy Birthday my nice nice niece
May your wonders never cease.

Your Uncle,
        Albert DeAngelo
Josette never fails to inform me that when I was little (I'm about 8 years younger) she and my cousin Judy (who is my Aunt Elida's second child) used to fight (FIGHT!) over who would play with me.

I'm fifty now and I can not contemplate being so cute as to provoke such familial rivalry.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Undated - A Poem to My Mother

While sifting through the folder looking for an appropriate poem for this week's posting, I found this one among the pile.  It was undated and hand-written on a 5x8 sheet of blue-lined yellow paper.  It had been folded into eighths (one horizontal and four vertical folds).
I do not think of you at all
Be it Summer, Spring or Fall

Neither Day nor Nighttime find
My need to bring your love to mind

No outside help need I recall
No-one, nothing. None at all

For you are my thoughts my very senses
My glowing dawn when day commences

You are the sunsets of of my days
Tomorrows, nows & yesterdays

You are me in all I do
You are me & I am you.
I picked this poem because it's just a short message from my Dad to my Mom.  No in-laws (wonderful as they are), no children, grandchildren (ditto and ditto).  Just a note from Dad to Mom.  A note just about them.  Together.

We buried the two of them this past Friday and they're now interred together at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.

Dad passed away in 2007 and was cremated a short time after. When we cleaned out her house a few years ago, after Mom went into assisted living, my wife and I brought his cremains back with us to Pittsburgh.  Mom passed February of this year and was also cremated. Their cremains had been side by side on a bookshelf in our home until a few days ago.

You can see both containers on the table in the photo above.  Dad's was the darker brown and Mom's was the redder.  A few times when I was with mom when she was still living at her house, I overheard her talking to Dad's cremains.  She said good morning and good evening at the appropriate times of the day.  I don't know if she said anything else, but I wouldn't be surprised if she did.  What I heard was very sweet and very sad at the same time.  I know she missed him terribly.

The service itself was quite moving.  My wife and I were there as were her parents, my friend Tony, who served as best man at my wedding, and my friend Joe, who played Taps for the funeral.  There was a Chaplain who said a few words (few of which I can remember), a color guard with flags, an honor guard to give the gun salute and two officers who unfolded and then refolded the American flag that's on the table.

The flag itself came from the VA on the occasion of my father's passing, as he had earned an Honorable Discharge from the Army for his service in the early 50s.  He was a tank commander stationed in Germany during the Korean War.  He later when on to get a college degree via the GI Bill, from NYU.  A few years later, he started writing love poems to the woman who would later become my Mom.

The folding of the flag was intensely interesting.  Two officers a few feet in front of me.  Both with white gloves and in full uniform.  A Lt Colonel to my right holding that part of the flag with the blue field of stars.  The field was to his left.  He and a Captain (the officer in the beret above) held the flag open tight and then folded it twice over, the stripes folded over the stars, so the blue field held by the Lt Colonel remained visible.  The Captain then folded by triangles has he moved towards the Lt  Colonel. By tradition they folded three of the spent shell casings from the salute into the flag.  I have the rest with no idea what to do with them.  They were still warm when they were handed to me.

There were lots of very slow salutes and I didn't think the service would hit me as much as it did.  But it did.  It was my final big responsibility to my parents.  All that's left is some minor paperwork and (of course) taxes.

But what's important is that my parents are now together as they had been on my book shelf, as they had been when Mom spoke to Dad's cremains, as they had been since they met in the late 50s.  And they'll be together as long as the Republic maintains the cemetery in Bridgeville, PA.

And that's all that's really matters.