Monday, August 13, 2012

Thirty and three

One of my poetry collections is a particular treasure because of its history.  My aunt, Ruth Margaret Simpson Robinson, graduated (as I also did) from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.  At Westminster, a Chi Omega sorority sister of Aunt Ruth was Eleanor Graham Vance (1908-1985) who became a teacher and a writer; one of her biographical sketches mentions that she wrote for both children and adults, seeing many similarities between them.  Aunt Ruth passed on to me her personally-inscribed copy of  Eleanor Graham's 1939  collection, For These Moments, and in it I have found a poem with a tiny bit of arithmetic. I offer it here to you. 

   Pretend     by Eleanor Graham

   (I am almost thirty;
      You are almost three.)
   If my hands aren't dirty,
      May I pour the tea?

   Would you like it stronger?
      Yes, there's quite a lot.
   Surely you'll stay longer.
      Wait, I'll make it hot.

   (I am somewhat bolder;
      You are sweet and shy.
   Who knows which is older--
      You or I?)

In 1958 Eleanor Graham Vance won a President's award from the ICEC (International Council for Exceptional Children) for significant contributions to opportunities for handicapped persons. Vance, who contracted poliomyelitis as a child, was a homemaker, teacher, lecturer, poet and writer. She was a teacher of the physically handicapped and served as a research worker for colonial Williamsburg. Her poetry was published in The Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, The Ladies' Home Journal, This Week, Parents', The New York Times, All Story, Yankee, and other magazines.  .

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