“Bits ‘n Pieces of Me: Memoirs to retain identity in the face of growing dementia” — unpublished page 12:
In years before this poem, Dad was on the extra-board for possible work at railroad, and there was no work available anywhere.
Borrowing money was only if we were actually starving, so not done.
Someday I hope to write about the meal when the only dish for family dinner was from the trash
— a jar of poorly-canned, end-of-the-growing-season, stringy green beans.
(It was near Thanksgiving holiday).
I suspect this was written after Thanksgiving holiday, a few years afterward, when jobs were available.
Her brother Louis had probably taken Mom and us kids to visit my grandparents at the log cabin for the long Thanksgiving weekend.
When she got home Mom found these poetry remnants in the trash can, and taped them together
After jobs became available, in addition to his full-time night job as railroad switchman, my dad always had at least one other job every day until he got the cancer. At time of writing he was also half-owner of gas station, responsible for all auto-mechanic work during the day. If he also loaded box cars during swing shift then he had time to eat but no sleep before his next night shift as switchman.
Four hours sleep was considered a full night sleep for my father.
The doctor said lack of sleep and over-intake of coffee were what allowed the cancer to get a real foot-hold.
Don’t wake me up when you arrive, don’t even make a peep.
Don’t wake me up ’til almost five, cause I’ve just got to sleep.
For I was at the station four hours every day,
and then for consolation I worked “Armstrong” yesterday.
They called me up at nine-o-clock, and this they said to me,
“That railroad car is at the dock”; I worked ’til almost three.
And then for added measure, and to make things fall just right,
I found I had the pleasure of the Foreman job last night.
* * *
But now that I am finally here,
I’ll bathe and hit the sack.
But first I’ll write, “I love you, Dear,
and I’m sure glad you’re back.”
I hope you had a lot of fun,
and that the kids did too,
’cause all throughout your absence
I can’t help feeling blue.
I felt a little lonely
and the house was kind-a-cold
and longed to have you only
here within my arms to hold.
But now I’ve got to go to bed
and get a little rest,
then wake to find you here instead;
that’s how it’s always best.
* * *
Too tired to end it.
Good Night. Tell Louie good-bye for me.
Mom, Uncle Louis, and us kids had been out of town. When she got home she found these remnants in the trash can, and taped them together. So it is one of the few written poems of my fathers which is still available. Most of his poems were composed verbally impromptu and never documented.
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