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May 2012
She came from a childhood of magic
of scrap metal bubbles and a love of Christmas
a father whom was often gone but never forgotten and never unloved
a mother whom tried for her little girl but ended up lost in the bottle to wash the world away
born in the small world that was Dogdeville, 1947
but being whisked away to Madison, a bigger better place
of sound public education and endless Indian trails along the deep blue lake
She grew with independence and an inevitable book under her arm, for that was what she knew
{a latch-key-kid from age five up}
pouring her heart into the creation of stories and poems
filling her mind with the worlds of great authors
'the classics'  
a seven year old to afraid to share the depth of her written word
speaking to a class with heads down on their desks for she feared the thoughts in their eyes
her last word greeted by the great applause that brought her to love writing
love books
love English {her never ending favourite class}
She grew with words as her protection
and friends who understood her strange imagination
learning to drive in her boyfriends truck
his head between his legs in fear
leaving school a credit short when a fun night turned into a little baby
growing inside her young body
{in those days you couldn't go to high school an unmarried pregnant teen, you just couldn't}
17 at Martha Washington Home for ***** Mothers
her graduating was thanks to English {as many things in her life are}
a caring teacher who stood up for a scared young girl
we still haven't found were Nadine is {the little baby that grew inside her}
that next year she started college
a freshman in a class of thousands
University of Wisconsin Madison
hiding away in her studies
{creative writing}
over sized glasses and frilly wild hair
once again she graduated and
She was off
leaving Wisconsin in the dust
out to California {her land of dreams}
gate 6 and the shifting mass of house boats
raising three boys on 36 by 8 feet of bobbing wood {in the shape of a football}
my two uncles 'The crash and burn brothers' and my father 'baby poops a lot, batteries not included'
walking day after day to the Bait Shop Market for black coffee
and the feeling of being alive
She came to age in the craze of the 60's
continued to grow through the fight of the 70's
remembers the blue romper in high school gym when Kennedy was shot
marching with students on the streets when Martin Luther King went down
listening to Bob Dylan
'The Times They Are a-Changin' through it all
{The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.}
her friends shared hatred of government as Nixon came and went {she never would have voted for him. Not in a million years}
the draft of their friends
going to a land that they all knew they wouldn't return from {far away from those they loved}
She became to personally know Melba Pattilo-Beals as they worked together
editing 'Warriors Don't Cry' {the story of a young black girl going to white school}
in a society run by the music
Peter Paul & Mary
Bob Dylan
The Beatles
Janis Joplin
Jimmy Hendrix
The Rolling Stones
Crosby Stills & Nash
The Who
The BeeGees
The Grateful Dead
Rod Stewart
Joni Mitchell
Joan Baez
Country Joe and The Fish
run on the beat
the lyrics
the melody
the overwhelming need to be
through the 50's
The Hippie Movement
Through raising three boys
two university degrees {UWMadion's creative writing and law}
second one while raising me
Through all of that and so much more
she was lived
seeing the world through the eyes of a writer
a child
a teen
a mother
a grandmother
an editor
a lawyer
a women
She is the reason I am living
and she gave me the love of writing
and the love of the world.
my grandmother
Written by
Erin M Petersen
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