My Grandfather's Grocer Shop
I was born in Liverpool - England and
I remember back to when I was a child
how I marvelled at the way things were done
in my Grandfather's Grocer shop. in the early 1950s.
I saw him getting a portion of butter and
by using two paddle boards, knock up the butter
to form a block of butter, then wrap it up in
white shop paper, and then he would go to this
large bacon slicer which operated by turning
a huge wheel with a handle, then removing
the bacon from a butcher's hook and then
carving large slices of bacon on it, he would then
hand slice the cheese and wrap it by hand
then give it to the customer, eggs had no cartons
back then, so they were just put into brown paper bags,
customers would often return over broken eggs
and want replacements, if children came in they
would spend the pocket money on a bag of broken
biscuits, straight from the large tins they came in
as there were no packets of biscuits during those
early years of the 1950s, the shopkeepers would
often give free samples out to promote new products
as advertising was very rare and visual advertisements
were often seen on counters or on walls, I used to go in
my Grandfather's shop and was given a large peice
of cheese or some chocolate biscuits as a family gesture.
I watched in amazement as my Grandfather would count
the days takings out of the old fashion till, he would
turn a handle and the draw would pop out, it did not even
have push keys like the more modern cash registers of the
time, but it was vintage in every way, my Grandfather is
now gone, his shop has been knocked down for redevelopment
as many old businesses went the same way but
I will never forget the wonderful memories of my
Grandfather's Grocer Shop.
My grandfather on my father’s side, was a pecker-toothed sidle who raped his
daughter when she was just ten. He threw down vodka from an eternal well and took my father out to buy prostitutes when he was just fifteen... It was here that my father first learned the true value of a woman. Mercifully, a permanent steel brace got loose at the Pennsylvania steel mill where he worked and crushed Grandfather into a pool of blood and urine.
My father was a dried seed rattling in an empty gourd… he had grown up
hardened with leather-stiff roots exposed too long in the sun. My mother knew
that he wanted to rape me, so I kept guard with knives and ran away whenever I could. I went to bed fantasizing how to sneak into his bedroom and kill him with
the kitchen carving knife.
My older brother hadn’t adjusted well to the chaos either, so he put all his expectations and dreams into a matchbook and burned down three houses in the neighborhood. He secretly, robbed his friends of their valuable coin collections. He grew weary and confessed and was taken to a local Mental Hospital for evaluation. At fourteen, I needed a good stiff drink! I was transferred to two different foster care homes and grew up like a weed.
My mother Dolly was an auburn haired porcelain bisque, matt finished doll from a
discriminating collections of dolls... her father's dolls. She was not a witty woman
but silent, afraid and alone. She gave birth to three children who grew up like
wild dogs while Dolly made Betty Crocker weekends and otherwise TV dinners
until she grew tired... very tired.
One day the brothers were playing with Dolly tossing her back and forth…
like a ball, one to another... until we dropped her. Fragile, she shattered into pieces
on the gray cement patio. My father came out determined to put the pieces back
together but clumsily, he repeatedly stepped on Dolly crushing the refined
fragments into powdered dust.
Grandmothers and grandfathers how they look,
how can we see that there is a grandmother or a grandfather
When I was a little girl we could see a grandmother and a grandfather
Grandparents used hats, glasses, and walking stick
The skin of their face was weathered and wrinkled
Some had teeth they put in a glass in the evening
Grandmothers always had time for a glass of juice and a hug
She was never impatient, tie shoelaces with pleasure
Always in floral dresses, which smelled like grandma
Grandmothers wont not be at work tomorrow, she has time for an adventure
She does not skip a single word, to be finished soon
It was always sweets in grandmother's hand bag
She never spared, but shared with a beautiful smile
Grandfathers were a bit more restrained,
bit concerned about the day's news in their newspaper
He would like to go for a walk, and he walks with small cautious steps
When he meet someone he knows, he lifts a bit on his hat and nod
He has very little hair on his head, and his head shines in the sun
Grandfathers have a strong hand to hold, I was confident in his hand
He could tell me what all the birds called, he was so wise
Everyone should experience an old-fashioned grandmother and grandfather
one that does not have a television, computer or washing machine
A grandmother and grandfather who always have good time
But it was in the past ..... not today...
A-L Andresen :)
My grandfather and I had a special relationship.
When I was young we lived near his home in Baltimore. But, my family moved away from
Baltimore when I was five and we lived most of my life in another state far away from my
grandfather. Whenever he called, however, I was the one grandchild he always wanted to
talk to so we could discuss his beloved Baltimore Orioles. I was the one grandchild who
followed sports closely and always remained a true Baltimore sports fan.
Later in life, I learned that my grandfather was actually a gifted baseball player himself when
he was young. In those days, he would explain, professional baseball players did not make
enough money to support a family so he had to make up his mind to either play baseball or
get married and raise a family. As it turned out, his love for baseball was only surpassed by
his love for my grandmother and, although he hung on to the newspaper clippings that
labeled him a “can’t miss professional baseball prospect”, he hung up his cleats and glove,
married my grandmother and went out to find a “real” job.
But his love for the game survived and year in and year out, he and I discussed the
intricacies of the game and enjoyed or lamented each baseball season based on the
successes and/or failures of the Baltimore Orioles. As crummy as the Baltimore bums are
today, I was fortunate enough to experience and share many more successful seasons than
poor ones during those limited years that I shared life with this amazing man.
I always felt sorry for my grandfather, considering him a victim of poor timing. Had he
been born about 50 years later in life, he would not have had to pick between being a
baseball player or earning a living – in fact, with his talent, he could have earned a much
better than average living while enjoying the one thing he loved most in life.
When my grandfather passed away, I was sure that he was joining a heavenly nine to once
again strap on his spikes and don the leather. Without a doubt, they must play baseball in
heaven. And I wait for the day that I sit in the heavenly bleachers and cheer on a young
grandfather playing this wonderful game with other boys of summer.
(Inspired by, “is there baseball in heaven”, by Constance, A Rambling Poet)
My mother, my grandmother before has always held a place in my heart.
My father, and my grandfather before has the same part.
I was young and very active with unwillingness to listen fully to what they had to say.
I had a problem, never could be solved without my parents and grandparents till today.
With patience they all come to my aid when I fall on my face.
With little dishonor I listen to them and what they had to say, I embrace.
Over the years I go to them with no doubt a feeling of no dismay.
Over the years I go to them and they help me solve problems that to me is O.K.
Now I am getting a bit more aware of what had happen to me when I was growing.
Now I remember how the ride was in my beginning: it was a trial of not knowing.
With the guided words of my parents and grandparents I survive through them all.
With it some being a problem that I remember I recall.
My mother and my grandmother always said to be patient and it will be easy to solve.
My father and my grandfather always knew that I would grow and evolve.
I could wonder everyday what if my parents and grandparents was not in my life.
I could just think that would be fatal like a stab with a knife.
With knowledge that they had past on to me of what they had experience.
With their proof of teachings they had past on to me is their self existence.
Over the years I grew with life so full of happiness that was because of my families love.
Over the years it showed me the path that led me to all the above.
Now cherish those words that help me through my troubles in my new family.
Now I listen to my parents healing words of wisdom and except them gladly.
“My grandfather was strong and mighty, till he died at age of ninety.
The clock then stopped to run no more.
Then one of my relations wrote a song, sung for generations.
I think of it more and more:
“My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor.
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a penny-weight more . . .”
Shaken from his quaint digression, his face in tense expression,
He renewed his dire obsession
About what made the clock strike in the night.
He slipped to the room adjacent, above an empty basement,
Where stood the clock’s encasement – opened so very slight.
Moving with stealth, and in no hurry,
He saw an object hunched and furry;
His cat stood vigil in the night, with eyes reflecting light.
A mouse, the cat had faced, into the clock was chased,
And up the pendulum raced, quickly taking flight.
Climbing the clock’s encasement, the mouse’s weight displacement,
Tripped the spring so tight; it struck with awesome might!
Striking twelve it had numbered, his muddled thoughts encumbered,
Scared awake from slumber in the night.
“All of this is so confusing, could I, these years be using
The clock with spring so tight?”
In his mental delusion he added to the confusion,
For this intrusion in the night.
There was nothing he couldn’t handle
With his shotgun on the mantle by the door,
With it he could surely even up the score.
With the menace looming bigger, he quickly pulled the trigger
Then the grandfather clock was no more
And the cat and mouse— a taxidermy chore.
Said goodbye so many times,
To its occupants that once were babies.
New cradle to so many grand parents,
Gently rocked to sleep by memories.
Grandpa once told me he felt a kinship,
To this chair that creaked once in a while.
His limbs and its were very much the same;
Only difference was it would always have new customers.
As a little boy it was my rocking horse,
I climbed its high back like spiderman.
Couldn't tip it over no matter how hard I tried;
Just swung on a wooden toy that Grandpa hated to love.
My father sat there in that very same chair,
Swaying away in a chariot he had surely earned.
I sat next to him then and we reminisced,
Knowing that soon I would take his place.
Copyright © 2014 Robert William Gruhn - All Rights Reserved
"A poem to me is the essence of any thought,
Being built from its foundation into tower scraping sky.
It can fly like no other bird to places never seen,
Even spaceships can only dream of taking its place."
© 2014 Robert William Gruhn
Way aback upon the fog of the swamp and the itch of the tree
lay a beautiful lady that no one ever got to see.
She was a runaway of sorts but not by her will.
She ran to stay alive so that she would not be the next kill.
Now she sits in her little house with her grandfather trying to do what she can do
but she hasn't seen a soul since five years old and her grandfather had given up very
Her grandfather said it was an army that came through her town that carried off everyone
who spoke her tongue.
Out of the bed she was pulled and they began to run.
They had heard the stories that were put by her grandfather into her ear.
Stories of unspeakable things, ones that brought panic and fear.
Her grandfather lifted her in his arms and ran as fast as he could frantic to stay alive.
It wasn't until they were well into the woods he realized the others had been left behind.
For the first time she'd seen a grown man cry.
Then he hugged her closer and through the woods they began to fly.
Now they sit in their home waiting for any news.
The people in his town knew this house and she waited for any clues.
That hope had gone along with her grandfather's mind.
The house was so far back it seemed just to hard to find.
One day the beautiful lady saw something move and out of the house she ran.
It was a man.
He looked at her with an admiring face.
His eyes began to gaze.
The woman was beautiful but she never knew.
She had nothing to compare herself to.
The man was dressed in very unusual clothes.
She heard something ring and was shocked to see a cellular phone.
She wondered what had happen over the past fifteen years since she'd been here.
A phone with no cords. How queer?
He hung up the phone and she ran to him "What's going on with the Jews in Germany?"
"What is going on with the war?"
The man looked very concerned and knew not what to say for sure.
"Ma'am, That war has been over for many years. It's 2004."
A long and narrow road. Trees stretched in the summer breeze.
The dirt and fallen leaves crescendoed under my footsteps.
As I walked down this road, my mind turned to the towering trees.
They were cool, and smooth to the touch.
I closed my eyes and breathed.
I could smell salt in the air, and I knew that ocean was near.
I emerged from the end of the road
There I found a great white house, perched at a sea-side cliff.
The salty winds had taken a toll on the old mansion, it’s paint chipped.
An old man came into view. He sat on an old log overlooking the sea.
He had a fiddle and bow in hand.
He contemplated, pondered, and thought, of the perfect note to end his song.
Then he heard me, and called me over.
He told me to sit, and be still, to open my mind to the notes he played.
Together we sat, on that sea cliff, as he played on that old fiddle of his.
Nothing seemed to matter, not the time, nor the weather.
Everything was peaceful, as we sat, listening to that old fiddle, of his.
Where there is strength
you will find unity.
Let there be no more division.
May the grandfather spirits
place forgiveness in your hearts, and soften them
while pride moves out of the way.
May the blood you share become strong
and never again be poisoned by
un forgiveness and hate.
Can't you hear the songs
the warrior spirits are singing
about lost battles, broken families
and battle scars?
May their cries ring in your ears
some warriors never come home
from their battles.
May the rains come down
on both of you and
wash away the war paint,
so you may recognize each other.
May the skies above thunder
as grandfather spirits dance
a dance of remembrance.
May your paths cross again
and the winds join together
what has long been separated.
May spirits of wisdom guide
both of you toward your destiny.
And may father time heal