“Cobbler and the Cowboy” — My Grandma’s Poetry

 CobblerAndCowboy

66 years ago, this poem was proudly cut from the newspaper and placed in a scrapbook.  My grandmother, Melanie Vier McAleer died just two and a half years ago at the age of 94–an accomplished woman by any standard, winning a national doubles championship in tennis for women over 70.

But her greater love, one that stayed with her through her entire life, was poetry.  She was a regularly featured writer in Detroit papers throughout my mom’s childhood in the 1940s and 50s.  Her whimsical style and clever insight into the human condition was spot-on.  I remember being flattered as a 12 year old to be asked to illustrate some of her children’s poetry about animals–one of them a squirrel.

MaguireVierWebPhotos252

It was always a dream of hers to meld her two loves into one–a book of poems about tennis.  Her son Joe and I put ourselves on this task a while back and created a series of illustrations to accompany the poems.  Perhaps we’ll get them in this blog soon!

I always loved the above poem, since it captures not only an era that’s passed–a cobbler fixing shoes on a lower-level apartment–but also the drudgery of a never-ending workload that gets fortunately interrupted by life.  My grandma, a cobbler of words, would have to isolate herself with her typewriter upstairs, trying desperately to meet her deadline while her six children plotted ways to bring their lives into hers.

MelanieMcAleer

It’s important for me to remember this poem when things get a little too busy and you tend to forget the people around you–and that they’re growing up or even growing away if you don’t watch out.

This little boy’s holster was fixed by his father and the cowboy game could continue.  And now that little boy could be in his seventies and probably still remembers not only that game with his buddies, but also his father’s kindness in taking some time for him.

About Kevin Walsh

Before creating MyMediaDiary.com, Kevin taught high school video productions and language arts for 25 years. He is the producer of the web-series and blog, www.DiggingDetroit, founder and producer for MMD Productions at www.mmdphotovideo.com which offers quick, professional photography, video and multimedia solutions for individuals, organizations and businesses. His text, "Video Direct," is used in 40 states. He is the current president of the non-profit DAFT (Digital Arts Film and Television) which sponsors the Michigan Student Film Festival. He lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, is married to Patrice and is tolerated by his two teenagers. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kwteacher
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3 Responses to “Cobbler and the Cowboy” — My Grandma’s Poetry

  1. Kevin Walsh says:

    My Uncle Joe posted one of Melanie’s tennis poems on this blog under “Reporters Apology.” Thanks, Joe!

    http://mymediadiary.com/?p=489

  2. cathy albery says:

    i didn’t get that he was the father… i got that someone else in the community trusted him to fix the situation!

  3. uncle john says:

    I don’t remember the holster although we all had them! Dad usually fixed things like that and those were his better years. I do remember mom writing every day and then reading to us (her captive audience!) as soon as we got home from school. I didn’t appreciate her talent then but do now. She really could write!