Tuesday, December 18, 2007

clara nielson whittaker borovec

October 8, 1915
by Joann Renee


19,343 people crowded
into a stadium to watch the Phillies win
their first and only World Series game before 1980.
Poor Red Sox.

In France the Battle of Loos claimed
nearly 430,000 French, British and German—
teaching us the very costly lesson
to never interfere in a toilet’s business

William E. Vaughan, the American writer who wrote,
Perhaps the crime situation would be improved if we could get more cops
off television and onto the streets

and E. Paul Torrance, the “Creativity Man”,
joined Clara Nielson in making their earthly entrance.

57 years later Clara’s birthday present
was the birth of her first grandchild, Kimberly Joy.

I am sure each one of these 449,347 have a unique story,
but today I’m only interested in the one who shares
a name with the composer and wife of Robert Schumann,
with ETA Hoffmann’s lead character in “The Nutcracker”
and with the greatest silent film actress of all time.

Her name means clear, bright, famous,
but my grandmother lived a relatively quiet life.

Growing up, I would visit her house hidden
behind acres of trees where she would feed me
home-dried fruit and little Danish cookies
(pebernodder or pfeffernuesse, pronounced poo-a-nitta)
that were proportionate to her size.
I don’t think she ever quite cleared 5 feet.

The first thing I did on walking through the door
was to measure myself against her to see if I was taller yet.
Years later she would smile softly and chuckle
as the grandkids lined up, towering over her,
to hug their “little grandma” who made the little cookies
that they loved to toss in the air
or hurl at an unsuspecting uncle.

92 years, 2 months, 6 days,
5 children, 7 grandchildren, and nearly 7 great grandchildren
after that early Autumn day Clara smiled, slept
and joined the 430,000 who left the day she arrived.

1 comment:

Danny said...

Thank you for the wonderful tribute. She was a great grandma and will be missed!