Things We Collect

roses on clockCollecting stuff is a great hobby. Many collectors find their desire to have more of the same, insatiable. They scour flea markets, garage and yard sales, antique shops, and vendor booths in a wide variety of locations, for that one piece of something they just have to have! Before someone else gets it, and at a price they can brag about to everyone they know who knows anything about the kind of stuff they collect. And when they find it, and it is proudly displayed amongst the others of like kind, a new search begins. It’s phenomenal, really, how the propensity for collecting seems to be growing among older people and younger ones alike, although from my observations there seems to be quite a difference in the stuff each group finds collectible. Continue reading Things We Collect

Anna

10615543_750628908335948_3061001722993227426_nWhen I was a young girl, I read a story about a woman and the actions she took, simple as they were, to hold her home together. For some reason that story has remained with me. The message of the story is still relevant today, I think, for it speaks to the importance of the image we present to those in positions of authority over us, and the powerful influence that image holds, good or bad.

There’s still value to be found in putting our best foot, or face, forward. Of portraying ourselves in the best light possible, no matter our circumstances.

Time was, a man’s good name was the only collateral he needed at the bank. It was his bond, and his best asset was a good wife. Times have changed, but the importance of good impressions remains. Continue reading Anna

Old Love Letters

5358500730_1b0b3d16f6_zShe filled an empty shoe box
with all his old love letters.
She tied it up in yellow ribbon
to hold them all together.
Sometimes when I’d visit,
she’d take them from the shelf
and one by one she’d read to me
the words of love he’d left.
Then with trembling hands,
she’d return each one to its place.
As she caressed the satin ribbon,
a smile would touch her face.
I was only a child back then,
and could not comprehend
the meaning of the phrases
or how long she had treasured them.
Recently, those old letters
fluttered across my mind.
Suddenly I wanted very much
to read them line by line.
She’d been gone for quite a while,
her belongings scattered about.
I was stunned when I discovered
they had thrown “that old box” out.
There was no room for “all that stuff—
just a bunch of musty ol’ papers.”
So, they burned them every one,
her box of his love letters.
I wish I could have saved them,
I’ve regretted it ever since.
Her name was Emma, and his was Ernest.
They were my mother’s parents.
Anita Stubbs

Whispers from A Grandmother

Life restricted her, bound her cruelly,
limiting her as I have never been.
She was confined to servitude by female bondage,
her body used, spread-eagled under male dominance,
her purpose, predetermined,
without choices to be pondered.
Life just prodded her along
through the mud and the blood,
though she never traveled anywhere
other than to church occasionally.
A good suffering Christian,
she spent her life on her knees,
scrubbing, praying, begging.
Praying he’d come home sober,
then begging him not to hurt her.
She whispers from the shadows,
though she’s been gone for sixty years.
Only I still hear her, taste her bitter tears.
She whispers from the shadows,
uninhibited by space or time,
empowering me to dignify
the memory of her name.
Grandmother, kind and gentle,
a woman, wise and strong,
born with all the hopes and dreams
any girl has ever known.
Although she never saw the world,
or read its finest literature,
she had the gift of healing,
of knowledge never learned.
She had courage and compassion,
and tolerance for her pain.
She did her birthing at home, mostly alone,
and kept her humor through it all.
She should have been honored,
praised, worshiped on a pedestal.
Instead, life laid its burdens upon her,
and kept her tethered to her stall.

Forgive the Grandmothers

orig logo soap pic

Forgive the grandmothers
their docile obeisance,
their unopinionated views,
their unassertiveness,
their servile attitudes.
It was absolute authority
that made her bow her head,
a cultural thing that prohibited her,
but praised and honored him.

Forgive the grandmothers
for teaching male superiority,
for misleading us about
what feminine decency meant.
That decency was white starched shirts,
and shiny scrubbed floors–
fresh baked bread, piousness,
literacy restricted to reading scriptures.

Forgive the hovering about,
always at beckoning call,
for believing she was most attractive
when he stood proud and tall.
For countless family dinners
that served the menfolk first,
while she was judged by tasty meals,
the value of her worth.
And for steadfastly believing
her place was in the home,
while understanding that when menfolk gathered,
she was limited to certain rooms.

So, forgive her her part in enabling him to reign:
Head of the Table, Head of the House, Head of Everything.

Forgive her quietly giving birth
in a quality show of strength:
Any woman worth her salt,
decently endured pain.

Forgive her performance of duty
in keeping the children quiet,
Careful not to disturb Daddy
when he came home at night.

Forgive her mindless chatter,
her silence when it would have mattered,
for the mockery made
each time she marked her ballot.

Forgive her disdain for the sister
who resisted
by voting alone,
refusing to double his.

Forgive the grandmothers if you can,
for their clucking godliness,
for the little women robed in velvet steel
deserve our graciousness.

Forgive them, forgive them,
lift up their lowered heads.
Forgive them their delusions,
for they knew not what they did.
Anita Stubbs, 1993