Poem for Mom and Dad

From w.mfi

For Mom and Dad

slightly revised 11/5/17

Distant present,
Whistle in the mist
From out the fog
Locomotive express

Young hopeful shellback
Wrench near at hand
Vibrant lady south
Destiny planned

Alabama offer
‘Lantic seaboard in sight
The new dawn asks
Sparkle campgrounds might

As textiles are drafted
And organ notes raised,
A split level crafted
Large family amazed

Five men, six

Future, data, bricks

Younglings a scatter
House finally rest
Ten thousand meals matter
And hymns coalesce,

Forever does knock
Requesting its peace
Of two lifetimes fulfilling
Everlasting surcease.

End Of Poem

A moment to reflect


Dad was born 1924 in New York, mom 1926 in Alabama.

I made a first version of this poem 10/24/15 intended for Dad's 90th birthday, but it seemed incomplete. I revised it 3/6/16... then dad died five days later. Sigh. I gave it to mom after his funeral. Happily, she really liked it. Slight revision 11/5/17 (see page History).

Some footnotes

Dad has always been an even-keeled engineer (WW2 Navy, ALCO mechanical engineer, Milliken machine designer). Mom has always been a very sweet soul (raised us six kids). Never once did the two fight or raise a word that I know of.

  • A shellback is someone who crosses the equator in a ship. I posted Dad's coolio shellback certificate here, here, and here.
  • Mom's family did well near Birmingham Alabama; she went on to be a teacher in Atlanta where she met ...
  • Dad's family has history in NYC; he's from Dobbs Ferry and travelled up and down the southeast seaboard as an engineer for ALCO (American Locomotive Company) ...
  • In 1953 they married and in 1963 settled in Spartanburg SC (Sparkle City) where dad became a Boy Scout leader (Sparkle campgrounds).
  • Dad designed textile machines for Milliken there and Mom played organ for church and was into the American Guild of Organists and music (forever!),
  • They had five boys from 1954 to 1962, then a distant sixth girl 1968 - their personal gift from God
  • Dad designed by himself, and we all lived in, a big roaming split-level from 1963 on. 387 Wannamaker Court, now owned by a cute young couple.
  • Dad never once did not stop working for others, be it Knights Of Columbus, Habitat for Humanity, Meals On Wheels, you name it.
  • Mom never stopped playing organ at a larger RC church (mainly white) and a small Christian church (mainly Black) until until she couldn't, in her late 80s.

Some Reflections

I find life sometimes cross, sometimes wonderful. Sometimes I curse.

But I never once knew mom or dad to become cross or speak bad about anything in any depth - they were always so level.

The only time I ever saw dad in anger was once when, as a teenager, I disrespected mom by yawning when she told me not to come home so late. Dad slammed down his fist: Pay attention.

That's as bad as it got.

Be well, you two. In your Caribbean heaven, with your every event detailed by the master scheduler.

That planner might be God.

Or it might be Dad.

And so it is.

Until the day every railroad's timetable intersects.