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The Fifties
Barbara Crooker

We spent those stifling endless summer afternoons
on hot front porches, cutting paper dolls from Sears
catalogs, making up our own ideal families
complete with large appliances
and an all-occasion wardrobe with fold-down
paper tabs.
Sometimes we left crayons on the cement
landing, just to watch them melt.
We followed the shade around the house.
Time was a jarful of pennies, too hot
to spend, stretching long and sticky,
a brick of Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy.
Tomorrow’d be more of the same,
ending with softball or kickball,
then hide and seek in the mosquitoey dark.
Fireflies, like connect-the-dots or find-the-hidden-
words, rose and glowed, winked on and off,
their cool fires coded signals
of longing and love
that we would one day
learn to speak.
From Radiance (Word Press, 2005).
This poem first appeared in Rattle.
Used here with the author’s permission. 

Barbara Crooker is the author of ten chapbooks, three full-length books, and more than 750 poems published in more than 2300 publications. She credits her achievements to perseverance as much as talent, the willingness to take a poem to its 50th draft, if need be. Barbara lives and writes in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania, but grew up in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State, where this poem is set. Read more about her at


Post New Comment:
Bonomos Turkish Taffy and Sugar Daddy's lolly pops. So much a part of me, too. Thanks.
Posted 07/20/2012 09:27 AM
Marilyn L Taylor:
A delight!!!
Posted 07/20/2012 08:49 AM
I agree with Anjie, "Oh, yes."
Posted 07/20/2012 08:44 AM
OH, yes, one of my faves! Loved time as a jar of pennies too hot to spend. Hope you are writing lots this summer---and staying cool! <3
Posted 07/20/2012 08:02 AM
no computers, video games, etc.--just life in the slow lane--thanks for the beautiful memory! Sharon Auberle
Posted 07/20/2012 07:53 AM
Lovely! Works for the sixties, too!
Posted 07/20/2012 07:12 AM
Kay Sanders:
How satisfying to connect so directly with a poem that I thought surely it was set where I grew up—in the South—and then find that the poet grew up in New York! Was it the Fifties that created so magic a bridge?
Posted 07/20/2012 05:19 AM

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