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One of my greatest pleasures while growing up was spending weekends with my Grandmother. Long, meandering drives in the country. Games of miniature golf and shuffleboard. Friday nights at the Bingo hall. One of my most treasured memories is of summer evenings sitting on Grandma’s porch swing, and she would read me poetry. Oh, what wonderful worlds those words unlocked! This one has stayed with me all these years.

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It Takes a Heap O’ Livin
By Edgar A. Guest

It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye somtimes have t’roam
Afore ye really ‘preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger for ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any difference how rich ye get t’be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables coast, how great yer luxury;
It ain’ a hom t’ye, thought it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute
Afore it’s home there’s got t’be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’bring ’em up t’women good, and’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used–they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high-chairs, the play things, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumb-marks on the door.

Ye’eve got t’weep t’make it home, ye’eve got t’sit an’ sigh
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed, an’ know that Death is nigh;
An’ in the stillness o’ the night t’see Death’s angel come
An’ close the eyes o’ her that smiled, an’ leave her sweet voice dumb.
For these are scenes that grip the heart, an’ when yer tears are dried,
An’ tuggin’ at ye always are the pleasant memories
O’ her that was an’ is no more–ye can’t escape from these.

Ye’ve got to sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they ‘come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear
Who used t’love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em just t’run
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun;
Ye’ve got to love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’dome;
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’make it home.

Photo Courtesy of the Curtiss Family Album

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