Sunday, January 15, 2023

In Memory of My Father

In Memory of My Father on His Birthday, January 17th 


Frank H. Walsh


In memory of Frank H. Walsh ~ 1912-1985


I went to see The King’s Speech

the other night

This started me thinking about my father

who became a stutterer

as a result of nervousness derived

from his childhood battle

with crippling poliomyelitis


With child eyes

I never saw him crippled

though he walked with a pronounced limp

one leg being shorter than the other

He wore a heavy-soled shoe

reinforced with steel with a metal brace

attached that extended up to his knee


I didn’t think of him as a stutterer either

though he had great difficulty

saying what he wanted to say

stammering over, over and over

trying to get the words to spring

from his tangled tongue


To me, he was just Dad

…ordinary Dad


Looking back now, I think of him

as extraordinary and tenacious

a “can-do” kind of father

…even an overcomer


Handicaps never seemed

to handicapped him

never kept him from doing

anything he set his mind to—


He wasn’t a builder, but

he built the house we grew up in

and a bungalow next door for Grandma

did all the plumbing, electrical work

installed the drywall, spackled, painted

built porches, set the sidewalks

climbed a ladder to the roof

He built a patio with an outdoor fireplace

and a cement wading pool, too

He erected a coop for chickens

which he raised from fertilized eggs

He slaughtered them

mom cleaned and we ate them

for Sunday dinner

He also plowed the backyard

and planted a big vegetable garden


You name it, he did it

and usually did it well


He sang “Heart of My Heart” and

“You Can Have Her, I Don’t Want Her,

She’s Too Fat for Me”

without any stammer at all

danced to a rollicking “Beer Barrel” polka

with his heavy shoe thumping the floor

and I’m told he even pedaled

his bike once, all the way up Skyline Drive


Dad took us on vacations every summer

usually tent camping at Bear Mountain

or the Adirondacks or Truro at Cape Cod

setting up camp and cots mostly himself


He built outboard motorboats,

Water Lily and Water Lily II

and a blue egg-shaped camper trailer

which he hitched to the back of our car


He brewed root beer

bottled it and we drank it

even though it was flat and fizz-less

and he brewed beer beer

I can still remember the smell

of it fermenting in a huge crock

in our spare room


When I was a child

I thought all daddies did those things

And when I got married

I thought husbands did those things


To say he was remarkable

seems an understatement—

I only hope some of the stuff he was made of

has worked its way into the bones and marrow

into the blood and sinews

into the gray that matters

into our Walsh family genes


Maude Carolan Pych

For Information

about how to obtain Maude's books

go to:

Sunday, January 8, 2023

I Remember Mama...

 I Remember Mama

on her birthday, January 8th...

Frances Longo Walsh


In loving memory of Frances Longo Walsh (1915-1966)


I recall the way

my mother’s whole body jiggled when she laughed,

her sweet, shy smile,

that she understood Italian, but never spoke it,

the utter simplicity of her desires...

never asking for or receiving much

and not once complaining.

She had all she wanted, a home and family.


I remember the helpmeet working side by side

with our father, clearing the land

and building our stucco home.


My mind’s eye sees her plucking

chicken feathers in the backyard,

walking uphill home from the bus stop,

huffing, puffing;

scratching her itching back

against the bedroom door frame;

camping, just to please us children,

though it was more work than fun for her.


Recall, as if it were yesterday,

the flowery apron over her housedress

with its chain of safety pins

and her elastic band bracelets,

and Mother, standing at the stove, stirring

the bubbling red sauce in the big enamel pot.


Little Mommy, four-foot-ten and overweight—

She served herself the skimpiest portions,

never ate dessert, but occasionally gave in

to one indulgence: a crusty Italian bastone

from Minardi’s, sliced and spread with a pat of butter.


Hindsight reveals her quick on her feet

in the yard goods department at Quackenbush’s,

where customers remembered her

for smiles as quick as her feet.


When she arrived home, she changed her clothes

and aired out one of her two work dresses

on the clothesline off the back porch.


In retrospect, I see her

rolling her dark hair back into two neat curls

above her forehead,

applying red lipstick to her upper lip,

bringing both lips together to transfer color

to the lower, then, blotting.


Never attended high school, but

she could add columns of numbers

rapidly, in her head.

She read the newspaper nightly,

and completed the crossword puzzle.


My memory flashes to her relaxing evenings

in our parlor, in the old tufted chair,

watching Alfred Hitchcock or Lucy or

Barbara Stanwick in, “The Big Valley”.

She never missed the easy crooning of Perry Como.

He was her favorite. (He’d been a barber, like her father.)


I remember it pleased our father

that she always waited up for him

till he arrived home after working

the night shift at Wright’s.


Yes, I still see clearly, her dear kerchiefed head,

which Gramma remarked, made her look

like a peasant in a babushka.


Remember trying to convince her to hike her hemlines,

wear “Kiss Me Pink” lipstick, update her hair style,

learn to drive.


Flashback to hear her inviting my date

to come in for a cup of tea at our kitchen table

when he brought me home.


Vividly, I recollect the day

she was curled up tight on the couch.

She didn’t want me to call the ambulance,

though her hernia was strangling,

didn’t want to spoil plans

my sister and I had with our friends.

I disobeyed. The doctors operated just in time,

before gangrene set in.


My mind’s eye still sees tears in her eyes

when she came to my wedding

without my father.


And I remember her joy

to learn both daughters were pregnant, however,


she died before her grandchildren were born.


Oh! How much her grandchildren have missed

for never having known her—


which is one of the reasons

I’ve written this poem


Maude Carolan

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

My New Year's Resolution

 Maybe you'd like to join me

in my New Year's resolution...



     Among my most meaningful things to do

     while reading the Holy Scriptures through

     is write Messiah's name in the margin

     of the Old Testament, where'er I find Him.

     Of course, I do not find Jesus' name,

     but I certainly find Him, just the same.


     I find Him in the Lamb and the Lion,

     foreshadows of the Temple in Zion,

     find Him in Joshua, David, Passover,

     in the Song, the whale, cover to cover.

     I've thumbed through pages and jotted a few

     Messianic scriptures to share with you:


     Messiah's birth was foretold in Micah, five;

     seven centuries later, Jesus arrived;

     Virgin birth proclaimed, Isaiah seven,

     a Son would be fathered by God in Heaven.

     Kings would bow down to Him and nations serve,

     Solomon's Psalm Seventy-two observed.


     He'd be pierced and mourned, said Zechariah;

     Our Redeemer, fifty-three, Isaiah,

     this foretold of resurrection glory!

     Genesis to Revelation, God's great story!

     The Word reveals a magnificent plan

     in this tome of Our Savior, God and Man.


                        I’ve said goodbye to Twenty Twenty-two

                        Twenty Twenty-three is fresh and new

                        I’ve made resolutions and set some dates

                        marked up the calendar, my plans look great


                        but there’s one thing I simply have to do

                        that is to read the Holy Bible through

                        Each page holds the wisdom I’ll need in life

                        throughout the joyful days and times of strife


                        I’ll be on track for Twenty Twenty-three

                        learning of truth and grace, love and mercy

                        about God my Father, and Jesus, friend

                        a love story, page after page, to end


Maude Carolan Pych