Poem A Day Challenge April 23, 2019

Writing the story of my family's journey north, has set me to thinking about stories about my grandparents. Here is a picture of them with their first four children and my grandfather's mother. 

Grandma and Grandpa

Walter was a logger,
a large man
with large hands
who spent
time in camp
falling timber
with saws and axes.

Belle worked hard
alongside her parents
in the hotel they ran.

His best pal
was walking out with
her best friend.

Baseball was the passion of the day.

They came to know one another 
during outings to games.

Belle was ten years younger.
Thought he was handsome,
but she was to young for him.
Walter admired her looks 
and liked her spunk,
but he was to old for her.

When Belle was 16, 
her mother died.
Her father, 
always fond of drink,
sunk deep into despair,
and even deeper into the bottle.

Strange men visited the house,
consumed copious amounts of drink,
played poker and
roamed the premises.

Belle stuck knives 
in her bedroom door
to keep those men out,
and her virtue safe

On a trip home from camp,
Walter discovered what was going on.
Married her to get her out of there.

One year later,
Belle, not yet pregnant,
worried she was barren.

It’s a good thing she was wrong
or my mother,
the last of their seventeen children,
wouldn’t have been born,
and neither would I.


  1. Oh my, what a story, and seventeen children! Can you imagine? My maternal great grandparents had 14 children and one died in infancy, 12 boys & 2 girls, one of which was my grandmother. What hard lives many lived so long ago. I admire that you included so much of the story in such a brief group of words, Cheriee!

    1. Thanks Linda. Those large families were once the norm, especially in Catholic families. I'm not sure what happened to the three who died before having children, but one of them died in a sanitarium from tuberculosis.