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What My Father Loved About Melmac
David Alpaugh

That you could drop it on the floor.
That you could hit it with a sledgehammer.
That you could back over it with a Mack truck.
That in this Henry J world where we rattled along
crying for a Tucker—here at last was the real thing. 
That it came in a variety of colors including maroon.
That you could get it with S&H green stamps.
That once all 32 pieces were stacked up on the pantry 
shelf you’d never have to buy dinnerware again.
That at last he could enjoy his Kix or shredded wheat 
in peace—knowing every bowl on the kitchen table 
was childproof.
That never again would Mom shout, “Butterfingers!”
nor grieve over china lying in ruins at our feet;
nor swear as she cut her toe on an unswept shard.
Pharaoh of our New Jersey duplex, Dad dreamed 
of burial, near the Nile, with his favorite cup & saucer.
“Melmac,” he said, “would last ten thousand years.”
From Heavy Lifting (Alehouse Press, 2007).
Used here with the author’s permission.

David Alpaugh was born in New Jersey, but now lives in the San Francisco, California Bay area. His poems and essays have been widely published  in journals and anthologies, including the Dana Gioia-edited California Poetry from the Gold Rush to the Present.  David’s most recent book, Seeing the There There, is a collection of 89 poems and images full of humor and surprises. A finalist for Poet Laureate of California, David teaches poetry for the University of California Berkeley Extension and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Learn more about him at





Post New Comment:
Jan Hersh:
A colorful timestamp raises the wrinkles on my cheek. Love it, David.
Posted 05/26/2013 08:43 PM
Love it! Funy, poignant, and TRUE!
Posted 05/24/2013 01:58 PM
...ah, yes, the good old days! and, a grand piece of poetry but a very cool poet!...
Posted 05/24/2013 11:31 AM
Wonderful poem!(did your father really say this, or is this poetic license?) either way, love the ending!
Posted 05/24/2013 11:02 AM
Fantastic! Love it!!
Posted 05/24/2013 09:11 AM
Ahh, the things that endure! I love this poem.
Posted 05/24/2013 08:54 AM
Very much fun!
Posted 05/24/2013 07:56 AM
Wilda Morris:
Ah, yes. I purchased Melmac for my 'hope chest' - and still have some. Some with chips, some with color faded. So much for lasting 10,000 years! But at least it solved the narrator's father's problem! A fun poem.
Posted 05/24/2013 07:50 AM
The very idea, entombed with Melmac. I can picture the exhibit in the Met, right next to King Tut. This poem truly captured family dynamics and an unforgettable era. Great way to start the poetry day.
Posted 05/24/2013 05:34 AM

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