Seven

The Marjorie I was named after died
of scarlet fever before
reaching her seventh birthday.
She was Mommy's older sister.
My middle name Anne came from Anthony,
Dad's brother who died of a ruptured spleen
at age seven after "a mean boy pushed 
him into an excavation".

The Marjorie I was at seven 
may have absorbed these stories.
Atop the hill behind our house 
I was appalled to find a gravel pit.
Cousins Kenny and Bon had mumps
so couldn't come to Grandma Ribbens'
for cake and ice cream. But life was good.

Our grandmas kept us well dressed;
Auntie Ruth was our fairy godmother.
I knew the way to school and church,
didn't miss what we didn't have--
neighbors, television, pets.
The Bobbsey Twins were my ideal family.
Mom closed my baby book that year
with "Likes school" and Mrs. Kramer gave me
A's in Bible, Reading, Spelling and 
Arithmetic; B's in Penmanship, Art,
"Personal and Social Traits" and Conduct.

God, we mourn the fears, hurts, judgments passed on
to kids and grandkids. Give us more chances 
to walk or read with seven-year olds.

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