At Home after April the First
(for My Great-grandmother, Katherine Hinman Williamson Schultz)
I remember 521 Broad Street,
that solid, brown, two-story house you built
with Emil, local pharmacist. Bridegroom
and bride, yet already quite adult,
were you—zaftig Edwardian thirty-
something—carried over the new threshold
into the hallway and polished music room?
Here is an invitation, on thick cream stock,
to your wedding. It floated for years around
that snug-built but lofty house on the bank
of the Menasha River, was somehow washed
here, to me, in the next century. And
another card announcing when town folk
could call. To announce your new rank
as a married woman, your calling card:
this one, the smallest, in thin gothic script.
A triplet of transformation. You grew
fifty years older there, went from plump to lank,
always loving (if not Emil) then a good joke,
a witty gesture or phrase turned neat,
even, Kate, when the joke was on you.
Some years ago, I wrote a long post about this great-grandmother–part of a series of four–and there is a poem in my collection about the house she built that mentions her piano and her son and daughter-in-law. This morning, I realized, it was high time that she had her own poem.
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