Friday, January 11, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY: Thinking about Home

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about “home”—a place where one lives and shares years of memorable experiences with family and friends. At my new home, I’ll have a lot more outdoor space—more than three acres. I’ll have beautiful gardens and a pool. Still, I know I’ll be sad about leaving my home of nearly thirty-seven years. I’ll definitely miss living close to the water…and in the place where my daughter grew up. I’ll be sorry to leave decades of happy memories behind. Yet, I’m also looking forward to moving on and living next door to my granddaughter Julia, my daughter, and my son-in-law...and to "making" new memories there. 

The renovations on our new place are nearly complete. The custom-made bookshelves and china cabinet have been installed—so have the hardwood floors, the tiled floors in the bathrooms and entry way, the quartz countertops, the glass and slate backsplash, the new kitchen sink and faucet. Everything looks great. Now, we just need to buy a new refrigerator and do a little painting.  We also have the awful task of cleaning out our “old” house. 

We loved the built-in china cabinet so much that we may have a media/book/storage center built too. Since we’ll be downsizing from a seven-room house to a four-room in-law apartment, I want to make sure that we’ll have a place to put every little thing we need. I hate clutter!

China Cabinet

It may take me forever to transport my children’s books to my new abode! I have already started filling the shelves. The other day, I sat on the floor with Julia as she pulled books from the bottom shelves and began looking through them. Two of the words she says most often now are “book” and “read.” That warms her Grammy’s heart.

Here are two pictures of Julia "reading" books this week:
(a book written in verse)
Written by Stella Blackstone & illustrated by Clare Beaton

(a collection of animal poems)
Written by David Elliott & illustrated by Holly Meade

Here is a memoir poem that I wrote many years ago about the home of my maternal grandparents--a place where I had many of the happiest experiences of my childhood.


My grandparents’ house seems to hug their shady street.
A white duplex, its twin front doors
stand side by side
just three steps up from the sidewalk.
We always enter the house through the side door.
Stepping into the kitchen,
we find Babci sitting at the far end of the table
spooning filling onto circles of homemade dough
and making pierogis, crocheting afghans,
or snipping lacy designs from paper—
a traditional folk art she learned in Poland.
Sometimes we see her painting flowers on the cupboard doors
or hanging starched curtains she embroidered by hand.
The aroma of stuffed cabbage or babka baking in the oven
often greets us at the door.
Most days, Dzidzi spends outdoors tending to his garden
or painting the shutters green
or mending the picket fence
or building a backyard fireplace for summertime barbecues.
My grandparents always busy themselves
making their place a special place
for the family to gather throughout the year,
making it a home for all the seasons.

One of my all time favorite books in verse, Castles,Caves, and Honeycombs, is about the different kinds of homes where animals live. It was written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Lauren Stringer. The book's text is spare, its vocabulary is rich, the rhythm is flawless, and the illustrations are gorgeous. It makes a wonderful baby gift!

Here is how the book begins:

Many places make a home --
A heap of twigs.
A honeycomb.
A castle with a tower or two.
An aerie with a bird's eye view.

A silky web.

A sandy dune.

A room inside a warm cocoon.


Renee has the Poetry Friday Roundup at No Water River.


jama said...

The new house looks beautiful -- love that china cabinet, especially! Julia has gotten so big; wonderful that she already loves books so much.

Beautiful poem about your grandparents' home -- can just feel the love and good times you experienced there.

Must find a copy of Linda's book. Haven't seen that one yet :).

BJ Lee said...

I could so relate to the excitements of moving to a new home, yet the poingnant feelings of leaving your old home since we are set to move soon as well. And what a wonderful poem about your grandmother's house. Happy moving! :)

Bridget Magee said...

Your new home looks lovely! Thanks for sharing the poetry and the picture book recommendations. Looking forward to checking these out. =)

Linda B said...

71I just moved a month ago, Elaine, & left my home of 34 years. An estate sale is in the works, then I'll put the house up for sale. It's been quite a transition, what to bring, what to leave/sell, but I have a new place nearer to my daughter & family, although not quite as near as you! I wish you the best in all the process. It isn't exactly easy, but exciting to do new things too. I love your poem; such happy memories in those lines to keep for little Julia.

Mary Lee said...

Hooray for the new home! (and the old one, too!)

Liz Steinglass said...

What a momentous transition. Thankfully you have a lovely home and family to move to.

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