Two years ago I began this blog to show us more about Harry’s life through his left-behind writings. In this post, we see yet more colorful memories from his personal files! When our family lived in Greenbelt, MD, 1949-1963, my parents made lifelong friends with many dozens of families. Those were pioneering days in the government’s experimental community outside of D.C. I’ve reunited with some of the “children” of those families as our parents have aged and passed away. I dedicate the following four poems – a few of likely hundreds – to them, and to all the other Greenbelt “kids” out there.
Aug. 22, 1993
To Irene and Sid Spector on their 50th Anniversary
But this I say, for what it’s worth, a few good ones are made on Earth.
At least, my friends, they used to be, when we were all still young and free,
And each man chose himself a wife, to have and hold throughout his life,
And every woman gave her heart until, they said, ‘death us do part’.
So pass the word around the nation, educate each generation,
While we, the older ones, you know, who hit our fiftieth long ago,
Celebrate again tonight with someone else who did it right.
These newlyweds, this pair of clowns, who spread good cheer with smiles, not frowns,
This marriage is a great success, a miracle, no more, no less,
Because they worked to make it good, they didn’t have to knock on wood.
The Spectors, Irene and her Sid, if anyone did good, they did.
For after all is said and done, they have more friends than anyone,
They share their love with all their friends, their friendship knows no bounds or ends,
They set the pattern and the form for love that’s genuine and warm,
Their love, a source of pride and pleasure, their friendship all of us can treasure.
So here’s a word of sound advice that bears repeating once or twice,
To keep all couples on their toes, and we all need this, heaven knows,
Love is just like bread, they say, it must be made fresh every day,
So each day make your bread anew, and each day love each other, too.
And if we all keep love’s sweet score, we might survive for fifty more!
Nov. 1, 1992
To Fran and Jack Sanders on their Golden Wedding Anniversary
The Year was 1942, and all throughout the land,
Our generation danced to music played by each Big Band,
When Benny was the King of Swing, on boxes called a juke,
And Basie was a royal Count, and Ellington a Duke,
When Harry James and Miller, Glenn, the Dorseys, Sammy Kaye,
All taught us how to jitterbug, and how to swing and sway.
Sinatra sang the songs of love, and so did Crosby, Bing,
And all of us knew all the words and helped the singers sing,
Sweet music filled the airwaves every night and every day,
And we could name each major band when it began to play.
Oh, we were all so very young, the world was younger, too,
When Jack and Frances found a love that stayed forever true.
And so these two got married, by a local judge, at first,
Which wasn’t really proper then, but that was not the worst,
To consummate the marriage Sanders’ Grandma made them wait,
For a Chuppa and a Rabbi who could bless their wedded state.
With their mutual commitment made, for better or for worse,
Then Greenbelt afterwards became their hometown universe,
And here they raised two kids with love, and made their home secure,
And here they made a host of friends whose friendships still endure.
And then, as it was preordained, believe this, friends, or not,
The Sanders both were doubly blessed – six grandkids were begot!
Well, fifty years have now gone by as quickly as a wink,
It seems they’ve hardly had a chance to turn around or blink,
And both of them are older now, and wiser, so they say,
But deep inside they’re still as young as they were yesterday.
With family and friends around for them to be among,
The love that lives within their hearts will always keep them young!
So here’s to Fran and Jack tonight, and to their family,
And here’s to all our children, friends, our immortality!
Jan. 7, 1983
To Jack Sanders on his Retirement
He has made his final call upon each liquor store and bar,
And now he’ll have some time to spend in cleaning out his car!
He will have more time for golfing and for treating Fran with style,
Which will surely keep her smiling for at least a little while!
He’s achieved a reputation as a connoisseur of wine,
He knows which brands are bad or good and which are really fine,
But now that he’s retiring he no longer has to drink it,
He doesn’t have to sample it or sip it, let them sink it.
So now he’s free to switch from wine and learn to savor beer,
For beer has many properties that bring about good cheer,
And beer makes better lovers, I would wager you or bet,
And you may take my word on that, but please don’t ask Jeanette!
Now we all can raise our glasses in a sweet retirement toast,
To a guy with more admirers than most of us can boast,
May all the many years ahead be happy and carefree,
And may funds continue flowing into Social Security!
Feb. 15, 1975
To Ratzkin, Shinderman and Pines on their 60th Birthday
Now if anyone had told us just a year ago today,
That we all would here be gathered from our homes so far away,
We’d have laughed at them and asked if they had lost their foolish minds,
Yes, but here we are to honor Ratzkin, Shinderman and Pines!
And all of us have traveled here from near and far away,
To celebrate and dedicate this most auspicious day,
To sing our Happy Birthday songs, those well-remembered lines,
For three good men named Shinderman, and Ratzkin, too, and Pines!
We have shared so much together, through so very many years,
Both our simchas and our sorrows, both our triumphs and our tears,
We have shared some stormy weather, we have shared some happy times,
And now we’ll share your birthdays, Ratzkin, Shinderman and Pines!
And each one in attendance, by his presence in this place,
Is expressing his affection with a special touch of grace,
Just attending is expressing all the love that you have in ya,
For it proves how much we care for Ratzkin, Shinderman and Pinya!
So here’s to number sixty, just in case you’re keeping score,
And here’s to all the years ahead, at least as many more,
And here’s to birthday greetings, in a poem that really rhymes,
And here’s to all the friends of Ratzkin, Shinderman and Pines!
Copyright 2017, Elaine Blackman