Fifty odd years ago

I find

Six dining room chairs

Made from humble oak

In the crowded basement

Of a secondhand store

In Kenosha Wisconsin

They accompany me

To five different houses

A sixth chair left behind

When it cracks in half

In house number three


Four children of my heart

Sit on these chairs

All through their childhoods

And even today

Now their own children

Sit on them too


They are not new

These six oak dining room


When I pick them out

From myriad others

I wonder

Where    when

Were they created

And by whom

They deserve noble stories

Of grand houses     mansions

But no     they are only

Humble oak

I envision them in a home

Where there is love

Where they surround

A beautifully dressed table

Laden with favorite dishes

Prepared by loving hands

But how to explain

The crowded basement

Of a secondhand store

In Kenosha Wisconsin


The chairs come with a


It too from humble oak

With five extension leaves

That make me feel ecstatic

I stuff everything into the back of

Big Blue

My loyal station wagon

Carry them home

All for the price of

Twenty-five dollars


Holiday     birthday

Ordinary day dinners

Are eaten off the table

Homework cried over

Papers scattered across its


My children travel the years

Sitting on these chairs

Around the table

Legs grown longer     appetites stronger

Until they leave     come back

Leave again

While he and I

The chairs     the table


photo credit


“Have enough courage to trust love one more time.” –Maya Angelou

MomBlogAliceArnold50s 1

This photograph is of my beautiful mother, Alice, and my wonderful stepfather, Arnold, just after they were married. The image depicted took place at a club in downtown Chicago. Arnold’s large Stine family, and Alice’s small Wolbach family gathered in this rather fancy city club called the Standard Club to celebrate their marriage. Of course, Stephen, my adored husband, and I were there. None of our children, however, attended; they were too young to be dragged out of Waukegan where we lived, and into Chicago. (Waukegan’s claim to fame: the childhood home of Jack Benny, who had been a friend of Stephen’s family.)

It would have been late in the evening, and it was a forty mile drive, so none of Mama and Arnold’s grandchildren saw their wedding vows and participated in the festivities afterwards. I don’t remember too much, except that I wore a short blue dress. The Standard Club had a tradition when there was a special event to have the waiters march in with the dessert, which for the wedding reception was a flaming baked Alaska. This procedure, which I had witnessed on more than one occasion, always sent me into a paroxysm of giggling, which grew very difficult to suppress as the waiters advanced around the tables.


This unfortunately was not the only time or place giggling overtook my composure. One evening in Orchestra Hall, again in downtown Chicago, Stephen and I were with my grandmother and my Aunt Bea in a smaller room, other than the large auditorium. It was a string quartet and one of the selections was a very modern piece–atonal, I called it. Well, the window overlooking Michigan Avenue was open; it must have been a summer night. There was a long note played by the violin held for quite a while, and at the same time–the exact same moment–a taxi horn sounded on the same note the violin was holding. That did it for Stephen and me–we hadn’t liked the music at all, and this taxi horn sounding the same note as the violin was too much to bear. We both went into a paroxysm of repressed giggling, which meant our shoulders began to shake with the effort of holding in our laughter. Aunt Bea gave us several looks of intense disapproval, which only made us shake more violently.

It was embarrassing, I will admit, but there is nothing that can stop a paroxysm of suppressed giggling–it has to subside on its own. Eventually, it did.

Thanks for the memories! This is such fun!