Friday, March 7, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 7 - Grandpa

In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are going to participate in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge.  My new writing idea/goal is to write an early chapter book series based around a character very much like me, so remembering my childhood stories is very important for that project.  I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.
Yesterday, I shared one of my favorite mentor texts for memoir writing, Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack.  The ending gets to me every time.  It's just a beautiful book. After reading it, we talked about some of Laminack's craft choices I wanted the kids to try out on their own slices about their grandparents.  

Today's slice is about my grandpa.

From the backseat of the Chevrolet, I would gaze
at the back of my grandpa's neck in front of me
amazed by the crisscrossed lines,
his felt fedora perched perfectly
atop his head.
He was tall and lanky
and movie-star handsome.
When he laughed,
really laughed,
at a good joke,
the corners of his eyes crinkled
and tears welled up.
He'd have to wipe them away.
I loved that.
We'd play Aggravation and Gin Rummy
at his kitchen counter.
For hours.
When I went to his memorial
I thought I was going to turn around and see him.
His gentle face would be grinning,
and he'd ask if I wanted to play cards,
shuffling the deck.
But there was nobody there.



  1. Corners of eyes, crinkled,
    shrink-wrapped from the years;
    Hands, wringing, bringing
    cups of tea before even talking,
    then we're walking, relaxing
    in the moment that will become
    a memory, embedded in time.

    PS -- your poem brought me some memories of my great-grandmother. I hope you don't mind the line lifting.

    1. I love it! "shrink-wrapped from the years" is a perfect line.

  2. What a wonderful slice to share with your kids, Holly - I could envision your grandfather so well, and grasp the bond between you.

  3. I like how you share the memory through a poem, bringing out specific detail and ending with an emotionally powerful line.

  4. It reminded me of my grandfather and grandmother, too, always willing to spend much time with me, playing cards, playing Monopoly. Your poem is a treasure, Holly. I hadn't seen your intro about your project-lovely idea! Go for it!