The wooden seed box
from the Foss grocery store
sits high atop the wardrobe in a bedroom,
empty now of packets, which once
promised bounty and beauty of summer:
tomatoes and cucumbers, spring onions,
nasturtiums, marigolds, and sweet pansies.
Gone penny candies in lidded containers
just at child height
and loose cookies purchased one or two
or a dozen at a time.
Gone, too, the pickle barrel
and bags of grain by the door, canned goods shelved behind a counter,
meat chopped or sliced to order stored in a walk-in cooler at the back
beside the butcher block and cleaver.
A black cash register jangled heavily ringing up sales for customers,
some with books of credit, stacked
near the clerk, who tallied up bills to settle
when they could.
Orders pulled in a wagon by a 10-year-old boy:
hamburger delivered fresh for 15 cents a pound, bread 9 cents a loaf,
a dozen eggs 18 cents, milk a quarter a quart.
until he turned 12 and could drive
the family Model A (no law or license said he shouldn’t).
The box served its purpose until
my grandparents ceded its usefulness,
sold the store and moved
to the green fields of California.
Seeds have scattered many places,
some withered without a bloom,
some come to fruition in grandchildren and greats,
who only know a store like this
from an old, old picture
and an empty wooden box.
© by Marsha Foss.
Used with the author’s permission.
Marsha Foss, a retired educator, spends her time between her two favorite states, Maryland and Minnesota. When in St. Paul, she enjoys being connected to the area's vibrant writing community. Her work has been published in numerous places, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. An added joy is living near two young grandsons.
Nostalgia at its best.
Posted 07/21/2020 04:18 PM
that was lovely ❤️
Posted 07/18/2020 06:05 PM
Such vivid pictures! I would like to go back in time and visit this wonderful store.
Posted 07/18/2020 03:02 PM
Beautiful images in this poem.
Posted 07/18/2020 02:35 PM
Love the nostalgia and the beautiful way you've pictured and expressed it.
Posted 07/18/2020 10:12 AM
Marsha, this poem takes me back to my hometown (population 400) in central Illinois, which during the 50s and 60s, still retained many of the features in "My Grandparent's Seeds."
Posted 07/18/2020 08:20 AM
Memories stirred by this lovely poem include the row of blacktopped freezer with six lids, each hiding a different flavor ice cream..and my uncle, the store owner, would let my cousins and I try to pile all six scoops on one crumbling cone!!
Posted 07/18/2020 07:30 AM