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Poem brings past to present

Tue., Jan. 15, 2008

In many houses the refrigerator serves as much as a bulletin board or scrapbook as major appliance. On the door one might find a child’s drawing, or the family activities calendar. Often, inspirational items like a favorite quote or poem spend years, even decades, as part of the décor.

Laurie Hassell’s grandmother’s kitchen was no exception.

“When I was a little girl my grandmother always had poems and photographs on her refrigerator, right by the drawer with the cookies,” Hassell says. “One of my favorites was the Child’s Prayer, which Gram would read to me.”

The prayer became intertwined in Hassell’s memories of her grandmother.

“I have this image of her taking the poem off the fridge and bending down to me so I could see it while she read,” Hassell says. “Maybe I was five or six years old.”

Hassell liked to compare her hand with the much smaller handprint on the paper.

Three years ago, when her grandmother, stricken by Alzheimer’s Disease, was moved to a nursing home Hassell discovered a copy of the poem in a drawer of her grandmother’s kitchen.

“I don’t think it is the same copy but the poem and handprint are what I remember,” Hassell says. “It brings me right back to her kitchen in Millwood.”

She keeps it in the same place in her own home.

“Now, the poem resides on my fridge. I’ve taken it down many times to read to my son,” Hassell says. “The handprint is smaller than his hand, too.”


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