Back in the ’90s, I wrote several poems to give to my siblings as Christmas gifts. The poems were about my memories of our childhood together. It seems that because of the difference in our ages, we all have different memories of growing up in those different houses. The first one is about going to visit our Grandma on Sunday afternoons. She was a widow and lived alone in her own home.
When we got to Grandma’s, she was always sitting in her living room, and that’s where she and our Dad talked the whole time we were there. Because of our Mom’s hearing loss, she mostly just sat and listened as best she could. As an adult now, I often wonder what they had been talking about all those long afternoons.
The first poem is called, “While Grandma talked to our Dad.”
“Going to Grandma’s on Sundays, was almost what Sunday’s meant. So, usually after our dinner, we got in the car and went.
On the way there we usually argued, about who got a window seat. Or if the window was down too far, or who didn’t have room for their feet.
When we got there we had to be quiet, while Grandma talked to our Dad. We fidgeted, fretted, sighed and paced, but never really got mad.
Sometimes we walked downtown. (In Croton that’s no big deal.) A block of stores and a railroad track, and cousins with little appeal.
Grandma was a little lady, with white curls and very tanned skin. She always wore a housedress, and had pierced ears with no earrings in.
I wish I knew what they were talking about. Not knowing makes me sad. I guess I should have listened, while our Grandma talked to our Dad.”
My second poem is about my favorite meal of Mom’s apple dumplings. Usually for suppers and Sunday dinners, we had a “meat and potatoes” kind of meal. And we always, always, always, had some type of dessert. We had either pie, cake, cookies, ice cream, or at least a graham cracker covered with chocolate icing. (The last thing I purchased at the Nectar in downtown Delaware before it closed, was that same thing, a graham cracker covered with chocolate icing, which cost $1.00 a piece.)
My very favorite meal in the summer was when the only thing she fixed were apple dumplings. These were pieces of pealed apples covered with sugar and cinnamon, wrapped in pie crust and baked. They were each about the size of a softball. We poured cold milk over them and ate them while they were still hot. My best memories were when we could have as many as we wanted, and sit and eat them wherever we wanted.
My second poem is called, “Apples Wonder-Full.”
“Every summer and fall when we were kids, Mom made us a special treat. She called them Apple Dumplings, and we ate all we could eat.
We also had other special foods, like suet pudding and quince pie. They were treats other kids never heard of, and their mothers couldn’t buy.
We didn’t have to set the table, we just grabbed a bowl and spoon. We ate that gooey chewy crust, whether for supper or at noon.
My favorite spot at one of our homes, was outside on the back porch floor. It was cool out there and not too far, to run back and get some more.
There should have been a different name to call a dish so great. “Apples Wonder-full” was my choice, because we ate and ate and ate.
To make them as good as Mom’s, is a goal we’ll never win. I wish we could all go back, and have some more of her’s again.”
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.