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Cleaning the Attic

January 23, 2011

Rob Golding's sister, Amy Alice Tucker, was herself a creative story teller, as an avid writer of poems. After marrying William Tucker in 1921, she moved to the Shore Road in Perry. It's been over fifty years since her passing in 1959, yet the mailbox in front of her former home still proudly designates the property as, "Amy Tucker Place." In a diary entry dated September 1, 1933, Amy writes that she returned to her childhood home to help her sister-in-law, Jane, clean the attic. The following is the poem about her family this experience inspired.

 

One gloomy day when wind and rain hissed 'round each rattling shutter

I decided to clean the attic up and discard all useless clutter.

It never is in order and so many times I'd say:

"I'll finish up the other work and get at it right away."

But I rush about from early dawn till time to go to bed,

And the finishing up, I must admit, keeps just two jumps ahead.

Then came this day of wind and rain, could scarce believe 'twas true,

That for once in my life, I could safely say, "there's nothing much to do."

So with visions of a day well spent, the creaking stairs I climbed,

And with mixed emotions gazed upon what time had left behind.

On the topmost step I settled down, to plan well my line of attack

And consciously, I drifted off to the land of "Looking Back."

For reminiscing, that old junk room is a place beyond compare,

For everything under the shining sun has found a lodging there;

And each useless dusty object a tale of life does tell,

If you but listen closely and just sit 'round a spell.

The spinning wheel tells of cozy nights when winter days were done,

With good "ma" treading back and forth, the songs she used to sing

Came echoing back from out the past, making every rafter ring.

"Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,"Annie Laurie" and "Smokey Hollow,"

And not forgetting "Grandma's Advice," which I'm sure, she hoped we'd follow.

Good "pa's" old fiddle without ado, suddenly started playing

Till the rollicking strains of "Tim Finnigan's Wake" set even the cobwebs swaying.

There's a box of toys that were sister Kate's, like Little Boy Blue, she left them,

And there they wait the long years through for vanished hands to touch them.

The shining skates that were brother, Will's, they too, have waited long

And never again will the icebound lake hear their merry ringing song,

As 'round and 'round they used to glide when nights were chill and dark,

Circling the pile of blazing rails, with all hands "Grinding bark."

Cracked remnants of a tea set Valeria loved so well

And well she might, she earned it, walking miles black tea to sell.

The gay flowers on its surface are still as bright as any rose,

But the milk pitcher has lost its handle, the teapot its lengthy nose.

A strange contraption, all red with rust looks out the corner dim,

Recalls a day when keeping house was left to youthful Jim.

For sickness called the others off and he was left to bear

The burden of keeping the fires up and a frugal meal to prepare.

He kept the fire hot alright, for that worked well with his plan,

But "taters and pork" were dull indeed, compared to an old tin can

And the possibilities it held in store for none but him to see,

So with soldering iron, tubes and such, he set to work in glee.

And under his supple fingers grew the product of his dream,

And soon atop the red hot stove, set an engine puffing steam.

Then a saw he made from corset steel and without even batting an eye

He "got up steam," and sawed to bits, the family match supply.

And the dour glances of his weary kin, disturbed him not a might,

When cold and hungry they returned and found no food in sight.

A leather tool kit frayed and worn, lying on its bulging side,

Brings back the day when Rob grew up and bought a bike to ride,

Its shining advent into our lives was not a gladsome sight

For it started Rob to slicking up, and staying out at night.

Our brother-pal just disappeared, a stranger wore his clothes

Who could not bother to button shoes, nor wipe a dirty nose.

He sneered at doll rags, and scared our cats and when the night came 'round,

Young Robin and his shining bike never could be found.

One patent leather dancing pump lies under a broken chair,

Its high heel nearly severed and much the worse for wear.

Time was, when it had a likely mate, now gone forever more,

And together they tripped with shy Daisy's feet around the ballroom floor.

Full well do I remember the day when they were new and unseen, I crept

into sister's room, her late purchases to view.

A narrow box, I peeped within and great was my surprise

To see the objects of my fondest hope lying there before my eyes.

For years I'd coaxed for such as these, ever to meet the same reply:

"Don't you know you are far too young to wear shoes with heels so high?"

Against their crinkly tissue bed, they looked so very small,

that they were meant for adult feet, never entered my head at all.

It was a surprise, planned just for me of that I had no doubt,

Right carefully I must watch myself, lest folks see I'd found them out.

So I dashed away to the sun flower patch, a secret place to hide,

When one small body could not contain all the joy it felt inside.

But when day was done there was no joy, just misery complete,

For when Daisy went off to dance that night, those shoes were on her feet.

Two haughty hoop skirts proudly hang, each in its dusty place

but the flying heels of Mary Ann, they never again shall chase.

Their silken ruffles and dainty bows are painful to behold,

Unless one sees them through memory's eyes, then they are treasures to untold.

The only relic of the writer is a pale gray broad brimmed hat,

Some thirty years has it nestled there, very well preserved, at that;

A prodigious bow and demure pink rose flop from its nether side

Quite as it did in the long ago, on many a buggy ride.

The light grows dim, the picture fades, all disappear from sight-

I rub my eyes and look again and discover it is night.

So undisturbed I leave them, their companions grouped about,

And some other hands, some other day shall clean the attic out.

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