Tuesday, September 01, 2015

My Grandmother in Groups of Three

My maternal grandmother, Susie Redd Butler, 
stands here between my sister Susan and myself; 
I think we are at The Farm near Schenectady, but I am not certain. 
it is maybe 1954. This is my beloved blue lightweight spring coat 
that I wore at BYU all winter (1954-55) in Provo,
adding a sweater underneath for the coldest days. 
My boyfriend, later husband, thought I should have a proper winter coat;
I loved this one and didn't understand or think anything about it.
The length and fullness of of the skirts at this time
(just coming off from The New Look after World War II)
was much favored by me. If anything, I made skirts a little longer;
I had to lengthen them anyway . . .
notice that the purchased coat is a little too short.
I loved the way the skirt fabric swirled around your calves,
and you could sort of swish and arrange it as you sat down!
I also loved that purse because it was "Arizona Style"
although it was stiff and not really useful, no pockets or slots;
and the pens would fall out if one laid it down carelessly.
Later my cousin told me that Susie was 4 feet, 10 inches tall!
No wonder my height was shocking to my parents. My mom was 5 feet, 2!

(Be sure to look at the great earlier picture of Grandma Susie underneath this poem.)

It Was Autumn

It was autumn
its iron gates darkening
with smoke and oils.

In the fields
the water turned in its nest,
the weed put down its plow and slept,
the minerals awakened.

In the heart of a tree
the moon was building a small fire.

And by its yellow light
the crickets assembled and read
from the book of crickets:

the generations
the labors
the black rains milling at sea.

Peter Everwine

from the meadow; selected and new poems, 
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004, page 33.

Stringham and Howarth of Manti and Salt Lake City, Utah, 
photographed this Carte de Visite. 
It shows my grandmother 
with her two younger sisters, Effie and Jennie.
This is a scan of a photocopy my mother had, so it could be clearer.
In this photograph, my grandmother is the tallest person.
At her funeral at age 96, the only two siblings left to attend it
were these two. They were tiny little old ladies, 
with hair completely white; the last remaining ones 
of the twelve children of their parents.

That's all tonight from The Book of Crickets!

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