(Metro Creative photo)

ODE TO GRAMMA

As an eighteen month old, I was taken to a park in Baltimore which is not really all that special except that it was my Gramma who took me.

As an eighteen month old, I was taken to a park in Baltimore which is not really all that special except that it was my Gramma who took me.

She had six children of her own to raise, and they were all raising their children at the time she traveled up from Georgia to visit us in Baltimore. At her home, she saw enough kids to drive her crazy and probably looked forward to getting away, for a time, with my mother.

Somebody took a picture of Gramma sitting very stiffly on a park bench with her eyes fixed on me as I teetered in front of her. A ‘sitter’ for the morning, she kept a stern eye on me. On the back of the photo, eighty years later, was a shaky-handed caption: “This was in a park in Baltimore’ — one of Lucy’s babies.” Gramma was worn out in her late fifties, and

I can imagine she didn’t even know which one of my mother’s babies she was looking after, much less remember my name after the photo was developed; for, there were just too many grand-children to think about, and she was tired.

The interesting thing to me is that I must have hidden a memory, in my heart, of playing upon that quaint old park bench because, to this day, I simply cannot resist them. I sit upon them wherever I go, take photos of them, cut out magazine pictures of them, write poems about them and collect miniature benches. I feel that all the park benches I have sat upon throughout this world are perched in certain places just for the child in me to flop down on, even if I sit very stiffly so as not to aggravate my chronic aches and pains – just as gramma did so very long ago.

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