Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 20, 2011

Lifelines: Friendship through poetry

I'd like you to meet Mary Joseph, 97, from Onekama. Mrs. Joseph participated in the Brethren Elders Project, and was interviewed by Alexis Forsyth, 12. Mary Joseph was 12 years old 85 years ago.

Listening to these two girls sharing experiences, while transcribing the tapes, was an incredible experience. You can hear a delicate friendship blossoming. Near the end of the second interview, Alexis asks, "If you live to be 100 can I come to your birthday party?" Mary answers, "You're on the list."

Mary Joseph memorizes and recites poetry.

"My one older brother loved poetry," she said. "He taught me a lot about it. There are so many different kinds. When I was little, it wasn't a poem if it didn't rhyme. Now you don't have to do that anymore. It's like writing thoughts."

Before she left, Mrs. Joseph recited Joyce Kilmer's famous poem that starts out, "I think I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree "¦" Or as lovely as Mary Joseph, I might add.

Speaking of poetry and birthdays "¦ Stone Circle turned 28 last week. Actually, the boulders are older than calendars. Come and visit where poems and songs roam.


We moved to Michigan on the last day

of March.

My birthday is in May,

so I wasn't quite five.


Next morning mom opened the door

of our new house

and said, "Oh."


A little neighbor boy

named David was standing there.

Mother said, "Come in."


David was six years old.

That was the first time

I saw my future husband.


We became good friends

and walked places together,

and grew up together.

Pretty soon we took the car places.


We got married in our early twenties,

and stayed married seventy two years.


Our wedding was beautiful and simple.

It was twilight,

an evening service

with lots of candlelight in August.

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