By Mary Anna Kruch
Seventy years ago,
life played out in shades of gray
for my mother,
but she longed to view it in colors
of the Parks she and my father would see
once they had saved two hundred bucks
for a used roadster.
She had seen Alaska,
but had not yet laid eyes on Denali.
She‘d not viewed the multicolored sunrise
over Yellowstone, the outcrops
of Aztec sandstone in Red Rock Canyon,
or Yosemite’s Firefall
as the sun hits Horsetail Falls,
illuminating upper reaches
in fiery red.
She would settle for even one of these
as long as Dad was beside her.
So they moved into a small
upstairs apartment above Dad’s parents,
did without a car, took the bus,
saved five bucks a month in an envelope marked “Parks.”
Although the smell of fried garlic
wafted upstairs, drove her to near insanity —
and although the in-laws spoke “in tongues”
as though she did not exist —
Mom looked past all that.
Soon she’d see the Parks,
far from the old neighborhood;
maybe even move to their own home.
When the first baby arrived in ’47,
the road trip was put on hold; but not her dreams.
Dad snapped photos of baby in black and white
then developed them in the hall closet,
hand-coloring them in pencil
to add dimension.
When Baby #2 arrived in spring of ‘49,
they moved two blocks away
to a house with room for the kids to play.
For her birthday that spring,
Dad bought Mom a View Master.
The accompanying booklet boasted
that one could see “third dimension pictures”
in full-color Kodachrome.
Mom saw Yellowstone,
Red Rock Canyon, Denali, and Yosemite
in vibrant slides of stereoscope,
as she told stories about the national parks
to my brother and sister and to me,
My poem “Stereoscope” was inspired by a photograph I snapped of my mother’s View Master and slides. After her death, the View Master was among the items she left for me. Raised during the Great Depression and married at the end of WWII, my mother knew how to be frugal as well as positive when it came to embracing life’s gifts. Rather than say she was “stuck in the city,” she preferred to dream of wild places, eventually making it to Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks. My father, however, died very young so did not accompany her. My poem is a tribute to my parents–who inspired a love of nature, art, and hard work.
Mary Anna Kruch is a career educator and writer. Childhood memories, her Italian family near Rome, and the family farm in Northern Michigan inspire poetry and photography. Currently, she supervises student teachers for Northern Michigan University and leads a monthly writing workshop, Williamston Community Writers. Mary Anna has been published in The Remembered Arts Journal, River Poets Journal, Edition 3, Plum Tree Tavern, The Safe Place, and Credo Espoir. Images of nature, childhood, and family farms are prominent in her writing. Her first poetry collection, We Draw Breath from the Same Sky, is in press.
Editor’s note: Mary Anna’s poem will appear in a new release by Red Wolf Editions, Time Is A River Without Banks, an Ekphrastic Poetry edition. If you wish to submit, you can do so by end February 2019. Submit to email@example.com Submission guidelines here.