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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fast Day 189 January 12 2011 {My Grandparents}

Mount Olivet Cemetery, north of the Detroit City Airport


My Great-grandparents, Augustus and Franceska

My mother’s tale, as she told me,
her grandpa came from Germany,
a toy maker -so stories go -
but no childhood toys could she show
to make connection: him and me.

“They came o’er late last century” ,
I but a child when she told me;
but now Olivet rest bestow!
my mother’s tale.

I found a cousin from the sea -
Szczecin it was – he told to me
Augustus lived around Debno,
within the sight of Oder’s flow,
a heavy-laden drayman he!
...My mother’s tale!

--
notes

My maternal great grandparents, my mother's grandparents, are buried in Mt. Olivet, Detroit. My mother and her mother had a different story about this genealogy, and my cousins seemed to be a bit more precise.
I do not know how or why my mother got to the point of believing her grandfather was a toymaker from Hamburg, Germany, instead of a dray man ( he became a moving man in the US ) from a shtetl in German Poland, but so it was... or, rather, still is. She does has no memory of her grandmother and mother speaking Polish at their home on Outer Drive, as does her older sister - who will be 100 this year. My mother can not deny that her grandma made pierogi, but she considers it a "universal" food,  much like pizza or waffles.

The German name for Szczecin was Stettin, and for Debno was Neumark, and they may be more familiar in that form. 

This take the form of a Rondeau.

4 comments:

Ruth said...

I like the idea of telling family histories in poems!

It's been fascinating as my siblings and I grow older, and we recall stuff from our upbringing, how differently we remember it all. For one, a reflection on Mom, for instance, may be sweet, and for another, bitter!

Montag said...

You know, you're right about the fact that the history takes on sort of an epic cast when it is in poetry.

And the individual siblings do have such different memories sometimes. This variety of experience is why living together can be difficult if we do not make the effort to be civil in our differences.

I'm not quite sure what to think of the rondeau form. It does move right along, however, like chatty people in a bit of a hurry.

agungfineart said...

nice blog

Montag said...

Thank you.