Josephine Elizabeth Meadow Walden January 2 1899 — December 23 1979

by Joanna Gilman Hyde

My Beautiful Gran-mama’s Face

came to Me again

in My One Dream from last night —

bright and smiling

as She looked at Me

with Her Knowing Look

and I wondered if I too

could be as lovely

when I become

“An Old Lady.”


She never wore grey

saying “Grey is for elephants”

though My Mother tried to tell Her

Grey looked good on Her —

(anything looked good on My Grandmother)

She wore instead blue and green

with Her Hair always

as I am wearing Mine

This Morning —

twisted and pinned up

and Her Lipstick was pink

(My Mother’s was orange)


All Her Letters to Us

were illustrated

using thin coloured markers —

She drew elves and mushrooms and flowers.

I have Those Letters.

(My Children haven’t seen Them yet)


I have one delicate watercolour

of a low blue bowl with three upright tulips and two daffodils

with the fourth tulip, yellow, drooping.

I have one glazed brown oval dish

kept on My Kitchen Window Sill

(for Pears soap)

signed in 1963.

Gran-mama painted

a strawberry bush on My Sewing Box

outfitted with everything I would ever need

to sew My Own Clothes.


Gran-mama painted My Doll Dresser

with holly hocks on the sides

and on top in the center one heart

surrounded by roses.

Inside the door

She painted My Red Swing

hanging from The Crab Apple Tree —

My Childhood Swing

made by My Grandfather

Who pushed Me so high

I could touch The Leaves

with My Toes.


My Beautiful Southern Grandmother,

Who taught Me to make popovers

and pot roast

put Her Credentialed* Creativity

into gardening currents, asparagus, nasturtiums and magnificent roses

and into Jordan Bay arrival dinners

of macaroni and corn bread

with home-grown vegetables.


My Beloved Grandmother

was the first and only

figure in My Life

Who exclaimed and explained

to Me

The Entrancement of Seeing

The Glitter, The Stars

playing out over

Our Dazzling Ocean’s Delight .


*Parson’s School of Design