I did want to post for the Second Great American Local Poem And Song Genealogy Challenge that is hosted by West in New England. The challenge is simply to locate a poem or song that was written by a poet/song writer in the area where your ancestor lived.
I have decided to put my own spin on the challenge by posting a poem that was written by my great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Beard) Baker. The poem is included in a book she compiled and gave away to family members as Christmas gifts in 1990. Really, what poem could I possibly find to better represent a time in my ancestor's life than this one about her parents and their eight children? I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Our Family Tree
By Elizabeth “Beth” (Beard) Baker
The arithmetic of marriage is a quiet thing;
Strange things begin with a bride’s wedding ring.
‘Twas fifty years ago and they were two
Who, on the morrow, found they were but one
To travel on together, man and wife,
Through storm and sunshine ‘till the setting sun;
They would be one forever – so they vowed –
But marriage has mathematics all its own;
And soon they found they had a little son;
And now were three, and were no more alone.
He was a smart one – that boy, Clyde;
His mother told him not to run away,
As his red hat upon his head she tied,
Then sent her little fellow out to play;
When, later on, she called him to come in
He wasn’t there! But when she found him, talked,
“But, Mamma, I didn’t run away,
I didn’t run, why no, I only walked!”
Then, later on, a little girl was born,
And little Beulah made their number four;
But when she was just a little babe,
Long days she lay beside death’s door;
She gained, and grew, and soon was growing up
To help her mother care for all the brood
That followed her, to clean, and tend, and sew,
And help prepare their daily food.
Wilma was the next to come along;
Another girl to wear a dainty dress;
But when Mother dressed her up to go to town,
Then dressed the others, she was oft a mess;
It seems that they then lived upon a farm,
And on a farm it seems that cows abound,
And when they dressed in her best to go away,
A fresh cow manure she nearly always found!
Another girl – are there nowhere any boys?
She should have been one maybe – I don’t know –
But Lillian was always full of life,
And who was best man would her brother show;
She would hold her own in any tricks;
In pranks or mischief she was often first;
When she and Stub got in a friendly row
It wasn’t always her that came out worst!
At last another boy was brought to them,
And he must bear a special kind of stamp,
For Gerald was always getting cut or hurt,
But didn’t seem to mind – the little scamp;
He had a teacher once he didn’t like,
And in her desk he’d put a little snake
With a red belly – or sometimes a frog!
A slap she paid him with – sometimes a shake.
Some five years later came another girl,
And e’er Beth went to school her mother found
It wasn’t safe to leave a dress grown old,
Or scrap of cloth, or bits of thread around;
She loved her dolls and liked to make them clothes,
And dress them up, and this was but a start
Toward times ahead, with children of her own,
To make things for them from things she’d torn apart.
When Ardell came, and Mother had to leave
And stay in the hospital quite awhile;
But she came back, and Ardell grew,
And kept things humming with a happy smile;
When she was young they had a little pup
Who grew to be to all the kids a “chum”;
‘Tis sure, if dogs can go to Heaven, he
Will someday have a happy home
Robert finished up this crew of eight;
He was a sturdy lad and full of fun;
Of all the kids this boy has traveled most,
And yet his traveling days may not be done;
Whoever thought, when he was just a lad,
A minister this boy would be one day?
I’m sure he’s with us in his thoughts tonight
Though, in reality, he’s far away.
Best wishes to these two who gave us birth;
Long years of happy life we wish for them;
We are but branches of our family tree,
And, joined by marriage, they are still the stem;
They once were two and marriage made them one,
But in the coming years who is to know
How far the reach, how great the work they’ve done!
“Great oaks from little acorns grow!”
I have posted the genealogy of the people listed in this poem on my next post.