A century ago, you were born.
In childhood, the Depression took your home.
In adolescence, familial woes made you stop school.
At nineteen, you were called to shatter the Axis.
At twenty-three, Uncle Sam called you home.
Studying through meals and on shift breaks.
Securing your GED, Master’s and Phd.
Getting ensnared by a real artiste.
Fathering four children.
Guiding umpteen pupils.
Enhancing history in England and France.
Remaining in Oshkosh, “Oxford in Wisconsin.”
32 years ago,
I met you.
Countless hours of racing around your old neighborhood on my Big Wheel.
Going to a store and picking out a reward locked behind the case.
Eating and gaming at Shakey’s under the kaleidoscopic arcade lights.
Lessons in history, literature, politics and philosophy at Menominee Park.
Activating my mind each meeting.
Pushing me to dream without end.
Showing me what I should do.
3 years ago
You left this world.
96 years were not enough.
3 decades together were not enough.
how much time passes,
what the seasons bring,
where I journey or live,
I will never forget
Your lessons in the park, while feeding the geese.
Your laugh in the dining room on Franklin Street.
Your final, ultimate words as you struggled to survive.
“Do not ever stop writing.”
And write I will until my final breath.
Happy 100th Birthday,