Monday, February 4, 2013

The Aunt I Never Knew

She was born in February, ninety-two years ago.  The fourth daughter of a large farm family, she was a dreamer, lover of art and books and especially poetry.  There is only one person alive on earth today who actually knew her in person; her younger sister who is my father's only surviving sibling.  I never knew her and yet I still think of her, especially during February.

She wandered the farm and surrounding woods.  She read books.  And she wrote pages and pages of poetry.  In pencil. On notebook paper.  Those pages now belong to me.  They are not expertly written but then again, they were written when she was thirteen to seventeen years of age.

One of her poems is titled "Too Many Moonbeams:"

Too many moonbeams shining out of a dark blue sky,
Too many dreams come tumbling from the stars on high
Too many vows are broken, too many promises made,
Too many words lightly spoken in the moonlight and shade.

You can't drown sorrow in moonbeams, no matter how you try.
You can't keep hearts from breaking, when dreams all crumble and die.
Broken vows cannot be mended, or promises kept true
When words mean only raindrops, and tears mean only dew.

The poem was written when my aunt was fifteen.  When she was fourteen, she fell in love with an eighteen-year-old boy.  Just before she turned fifteen she found herself pregnant.  The boy was not interested in marriage.

Like most families of the day, my father's family arranged for her to live with a distant relative during her confinement and delivery.  She still believed that the boy really loved her and would marry her when the baby was born.  She was wrong.

She returned home with her baby daughter to live with my grandparents and her other siblings still at home.  But she never stopped dreaming.  And she never stopped believing.  And she never stopped writing.

This poem was written when my aunt was seventeen.

Sweethart (sic) Come Back To The Pine

There's a tree growing back in the mountains
It's the same old tree today
As it was when we stood there beneath it
And you kissed me and then went away.
Remember our initials carved on it
As you made them remember you said
That our hearts pinned together with an arrow
Would remain so till we both were dead.
I have hoped and I've prayed, and I've waited
Till you would come back to the pine
To the girl standing there beneath it
Where, years ago, you left her behind.
As the moon comes up over the mountain
So beautiful it breaks this heart of mine
Oh, please, while it's flooding the valley
Sweetheart come back to the pine.

The aunt I never knew loved her daughter and she spent her days caring for her.  She seemed distant and continued to wander about the farm and woods, often sitting for hours staring into the river.  And still she dreamed.  And still she believed that the baby's father loved her.

To be continued...


Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Oh, my, what a heartwarming story about your aunt. It's wonderful you have her poetry. She wrote beautifully. What a touching story about her child and lost love. This is a story that will touch many people.

Taradharma said...

what treasures to have...what a heartbreak for you aunt. her writing is beautiful. Some things never change, do they? A young woman abandoned and pregnant...pining for her lost love.

Looking forward to more.

animal lover, quilt lover said...

I didn't read your post but wish I could b/c I have aunts I never knew too!!!
I did a post today about my blurry eye-- been spending too much time on the puter!!!
Thanks so so so much for your visit!!!!! I treasure of friendship!!

Ruth said...

What a special story. Thanks for sharing...waiting for part 2.

KGMom said...

...oh dear, a to-be-continued post.
Wondering how this story turns out.

kks said...

lovely story.....looking forward to part 2.

Christine said...

What a heart stirring post this morning. Thank you for sharing these wonderful poems with us. What a talented woman she was to write such beautiful words. You have a wonderful treasure to have her handwritten poems.

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to more poems and stories about your aunt. What a treasure it is to have these words she penned.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my, what a beautiful writer she was! I can only imagine her heartbreak though....being so young, we were all vulnerable at that age.
Can't wait to hear more of her story.

KB said...

She wrote so beautifully for one so young. Her poems are a true treasure for you to have.

Rudee said...

She was a sensitive soul. My heart feels for her.

Jayne said...

Oh, what a sad and yet heartwarming story Carolyn... off to read part 2.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I hope part 2 is in your next post. Am a little behind reading and hope your next installment is here.
What a sad tale.