Cornelia Brandes

Honored by:Her Grandchildren
Brick location:C:16  map

Grandma's Poem When the family comes trooping into your house creaking up the flaking porch steps we find you sitting at the table wiping at non-existing crumbs and then waving us in with your thick wrinkled hand speckled with tiny Avon rings. You stand to pull the stained chipped coffee mugs from the shelves your dress unfolds tent-like around you-- a cascading drapery of blue and yellow flowers. You were a meadow to me as a child Grandma. A warm soft mass of blue and yellow flowers fragrant with the scent of lilacs. After you start the coffee maker brewing my childhood smell of "Grandma's house" you sit back in your chair at the table your eyes crinkled half-shut in pleasure gleam lively brown as you look from the younger grandchildren playing with rusty blue trucks and cracked orange spacemen in the living room to the front porch where Grandpa's old fur hat still hangs and out the window beside you which blows lilac-scented breezes past the red-checkered curtains and lifts your thinning black hair. When the coffee has been poured cakes cookies or bars move from cupboard top to table sending a molten flood of tiny golden ants into hiding behind the homemade bread box you got for a Christmas present. You were a Christmas to me as a child Grandma. Candies and toys shades of warmth glowing in the cold white of my private winters. Talking begins my father and uncles each trying to outdo the other's hunting and fishing stories. Laughter begins and grows till the small bell you hung on the kitchen wall faintly chimes and the pink fish with their plastic bubbles rattle against your pink bathroom wall. Family Snapshots stuck in the doorframes peeking between all your potted plants. You are our roots our glue our rope our hive. And then you laugh. And ah Grandma when you laugh is when I think I love you best. It bursts out of you your Grandma body rolls with it-- a shaking safe quilt of blue and yellow flowers. You roar with unexpected heartiness-- Mrs. Santa Claus. Your laughter wakes up my heart and it smiles. But sometimes I look at you and you look back with weary red age in your eyes. There may not always be a time to laugh but Grandma while you can fill me with joy-- laugh for me. You are a Grandma to me Grandma. And that may mean different things to different people or nothing at all to some others. But you are to me what is in this poem. And what is in this poem is what is in you to me. --Glenda Brandes Lesondak 7/1/96