Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Terri’s Book

2014-04-08 21.29.21

Terri’s Book



It was there,

opening its pages

to my earliest memories.

Tacky, old-timey, time-related prints

belied a real-time time-capsule,

an existential floatation device,

forever buoyant, proof that

folks I clung to as a tiny child

lived, breathed, loved,

and touched my senses.



With strangers

I always hid my face

in Terri Ann’s skirt.


But then momma would break out

her tacky-looking picture book

and I’d gleefully snatch it away

climbing the couch, legs dangling

tour-guiding for anyone who’d listen.


“This is my daddy’s dad, Barry II,” I’d say,

pointing to a stern-looking grayscale face.

“I never met him. He died of frostbite,

at war with the Koreans.”


Thumbing through the familiar pages

with tiny hands, “This is my daddy

when he was young.


He’s the third Barry; I’m the fourth,”

I’d declare proudly,

checking my audience’s reactions.


“Daddy was an Airborne Ranger then.

He could beat-up Muhammad Ali!”

I’d claim, having no statistical evidence,

I just went with my gut.


“We all use to live together,” I’d confide.

“He and momma used to love each other,

Well, not no more, but they still love me.


And we’re all still together here,

in momma’s book!”



I don’t recall where she bought the ugly thing

But if I close my eyes, I can still see her

Painstakingly pressing the images on tacky bindings

Filling every page with nostalgia and her cousins

Cramming more inside the back binding when space ran out



It is possible that this artifact is older

than my own four-decade journey

It is even tackier than it was then,

spine broken, scotch tape

slap-dashing everything

back into a farce of order,

memories pouring from it

whenever handled unmindfully


Yet, I recoiled in horror when

wifey suggested a refurbishment.

This rickety, broken-spined book

was cobbled together

by the same hands that once

protected me and dried

my tears. Terri Ann’s voice

rang silent years ago, but

reaching out to touch this book

is like reaching through the ether

to touch her, or even the

shy, informative

tiny person I once was.


Terri and Barry are both gone now,

but through this tacky-looking,

rickety old, unkempt book

we are still together.



Now, just sit next to me

a moment longer, and

I’ll show you one more thing.



Inside the front cover, an inscription;

“Terri, time passes by faster then you think.”


An imperfect book

with an imperfect reminder

from Terri Ann To herself.


As a child, this cryptic line held little meaning

Once educated, I silently mocked

the imperfect grammar.


Looking back, I now suspect that

Terri Ann was right all along.

2014-04-08 21.27.15



NaPoWriMo Day 8: Written for dVerse ~ Poetics – Looking for Treasure. For today’s dVerse, our friend Mary asked us to search our homes for items of sentimental value and write about them. Well I didn’t have to search for long…


  1. What a treasure of memories you shared here. I am glad you are keeping the binding as it is and not reduebishing the book. Through your words I hear the strong feelings you have for your family and for this book. And yes time passes way too fast.

  2. smiles...no, no need for refurbishment....def dont want to disturb the memories, even in the nicks and scratches in the cover and such....the photos and their memories are def treasures...and they tell stories of times before...of the good and bad.....cool write barry

  3. Sorry about the spelling of 'refurbishing' on my comment above. I don't know what 'autocorrect' was thinking! Have a great day.

  4. Often, the real treasure lies in keeping something just as you remember it, just as someone else used it.

    My mum has a folder full of recipes, some cut out from magazines, some handwritten painstakingly over the years. I would never feel the need to update it. She is woven right through it.

    A lovely, lovely poem. Thank you for sharing a slice of your life with us.

  5. A true treasure, especially with your memories attached to deeply to each treasured image and page. Thank you for sharing it with us. It is, truly, a treasure to be cherished.

  6. An album like that is more than a treasure.. it's a life a complete history.. I felt like I was sitting there and you were slowly turning the pages telling me.. really very nice.

  7. Your love for your mother and family shines through this poem. This book being a connection to them. Lovely!

  8. your life was rich in love - thanks for sharing

  9. Oh does it ever pass by faster than you think. That book is a treasure now and, twenty years, or thirty, from now will be even more meaningful.......I have a battered old scrapbook my grandma began at the end of the 1800's and kept up thru the second world war. Falling apart, on old cardboard type pages and a treasure trove of old photos and bygone history.......

  10. This is my favorite kind of poetry. I love the ones that tell you a story, or in this case, a history. Thank you for letting us meet your mom. And she was right, time passes quicker and then you think.

  11. A true treasure. Thank you for sharing.