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Dec 2015
My Mom called me a clever girl
It felt like a slap in the face
She said, “My sister did that, too,
Wrote silly poems and crocheted lace”

Since Alpha, her older sister
Had a bad rheumatic heart
Too weak to help with the farm work
She cooked a little for her part

While Mom, the Swedish farm girl
With a rope tied around her waist
Up at four to reach the barn
Six feet of snow was every place

She had to milk the cows then
It was bone-freezing cold
Her older brother Forrest
Plowed the fields at twelve years old

Their father died and left them
To run the family dairy farm
Soon after Alpha passed on, too
Depression inflicted more harm

That year was 1931
Ancient history one might say
Grandmother never recovered
Her depression years there to stay

Cokato, Minnesota
Who could blame my mom for running
Her mother could not forgive her
Til she installed indoor plumbing

She had run away to Oakland
A California nursing school
Her mother called her *******
And disowning her was cruel

But she was the lone survivor
In her family of five
So she nursed her future husband
After World War II arrived

They married and moved to Boston
The Yankee soldier and farm girl
It was 1950’s suburbs
To my father it was rural

Theirs was such a raucous union
Like a constant fire alarm
That when I could I moved down South
My dream came true-I bought a farm

How history repeats itself
And leaves its own impression
Alpha was reborn as me
But treated for depression
Growing up, My brothers & I heard my mother's stories about growing up on a dairy farm in Cokato, Minnesota.  My grandparents were immigrants from Sweden who had 3 children.  My mother's older sister, Alpha, had rheumatic fever as a young child, which damaged her heart and caused her death at 19.  I think that both my Grandmother and mother suffered from depression most of their lives.  When I started writing poetry as a child, my mother would be dismissive about it, saying that's all her sister Alpha did, other than crocheting and reading, while she & her brother had to do all the  hard work.  And we heard the story about when she tied a rope around her waist to get to the barn, and back, without getting lost in the snow-a million times.  She'd laugh at my interests that were so like her sister Alpha's that I believed I WAS her sister, Alpha, especially since I looked like her, too.   The farm girl & city boy, my parents, were a mismatch, like many who met from different places during the Post-war years.  It sounded romantic, the way she nursed him when he was hospitalized for Malaria in California after WWII.  I just had to try and get it out in this poem...
Terry Jordan
Written by
Terry Jordan  Boca Raton, FL
(Boca Raton, FL)   
       bex, ---, Lora Lee, Thomas P Owens Sr, --- and 25 others
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