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Mid-summer Magic: Majestic Maples

July 8, 2020


Mid-summer Magic:


Majestic Maples for Keeping Cool before AC


Family-history Poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa


(Dedicated in loving memory of my dad

who took such great care of our home, yard, gardens, field, woods, pets, and family–

July 11, 1913-December 1, 1997)


Five decades before air conditioning was common,

My maternal grandfather planted soft maples

All around the house

Which became our forever home.

Long after my Italian grandfather had passed,

His tall and well-canopied trees

Gave us shade–

A cooler dwelling, porch, and yard

On the hottest of Hoosier days.


The maple on the east side of our home

Towered over the wooden picnic table

And the yard where we waved

The badminton rackets through humid Hoosier air,

Where we planted wickets and colorful poles

For an evening’s game of croquet,

Where we played on the silver-painted swing set,

Where we played with our beautiful puppies and dogs,

Where we gathered with family and friends

To share an unnoticeably hot summer.


Another large maple

Bent gracefully over the curve in our white-rock driveway–

As if the southwest wind had sculpted the tree’s form.

This tree shaded the bedroom

Which I shared with my sister

In the home with no air-conditioning,

Our big back porch that became a family room,

Our blueish-green water pump,

Fords that were parked on the J-shaped driveway,

And part of our west field that later became a yard.


Of the trees on the north side of our home,

The grandest one

Had a limb that held

A sturdy rope and a circular swing

That allowed me to cool off and dream.

This family historic maple

Generously gave cooling shade to our front yard,

Sidewalk, and our beloved front porch

Where we sat with my cherished dad

on the wooden, Melodious swing.

Neighbors, company from near and far

Joined us on this refreshing porch

That was framed with one evergreen and four spirea bushes

Over which we jumped onto the soft, cool grass

To run and try to catch lightning bugs

That made the Indiana evening of summer sparkle–

Not with complaints of being too hot,

But with small-town life

That, nurtured by those majestic maples,

Led to the pleasantly warm,

un-air-conditioned poetic paths of my life.


Summer blessings to all of my WORDWALK readers!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


July 8, 2020, Wednesday




From → Uncategorized

  1. Such a beautiful poem, Alice! Such treasured memories of summers at our Indiana home!
    Thank you for painting that joyous time and place with your loving words!
    Wishing you and Willow all the warmth of a summer’s evening,

    • Mary–Thanks for your very nice comment.  I began to write a poem based on some other aspects of un-air-conditioned living, but what arrived on my computer screen preliminarily ended up being a longer, stand-alone poem.  Perhaps, I will next write the poem with the earlier ideas and add to the “Mid-summer Magic.”

      Happy July!

      Alice and Willow

  2. I enjoyed a visit to your long-ago landscape in Indiana, with your family and your memories of them.
    it feel like your family history poems could be put into book form – and it would be a love collection.

    • Lynda–Thank you for reading my post and leaving such a nice and encouraging comment! With this moving process, I do not think another book will be in my life for quite a while. Someday, I do hope to collect my Indiana pieces; meanwhile, I will just add to the possibilities.
      Enjoy July!
      Alice and Willow

  3. Susan M McKendry permalink

    Alice–Once again you have painted a scene that takes us back to your Indiana home, this time in the middle of summer when shade trees are so appreciated even if we now do have AC. If I remember correctly, the blue-green pump may be one of the things your father painted after mixing several left-over paint cans to create his own special color blend. I always enjoy your family stories, and this poem is so beautiful. It really takes one back to a very different time when it seems no one complained about the heat like they do now–Sue

    • Sue–Special thanks for your lovely comment!  You do have a good memory because, indeed, my dad did his own mix to come up with the color for the paint to freshen up our house’s foundation and water pump–perhaps, a couple of the metal lawn chairs also acquired that Massa bluish-green color.  Many thanks for mentioning the paint on the old water pump!  In general, people of those older generations just did not complain at all or not much. Unfortunately, I did not inherit this admirable trait!

      Take good care, and enjoy July!

      Alice and Willow

  4. Katherine Binole permalink

    Alice, Thank you for the beautiful poem about your un-air conditioned Blanford home. During a time of such sadness in my life, your poem brought me comfort and happy memories. I so enjoyed visiting my brother, your mom, you and Mary. I always enjoyed the front shade tree, porch and your swing.
    Love, Aunt Kathy

    • Dear Aunt Kathy,

         I am so very pleased to have your comment on this particular post.  As I am reading your comment on July 11, the 107th anniversary of Dad’s birth, my writer’s heart/niece’s heart is warmed to know that this poem brought you some comfort and happy memories.

      Take good care!

      With blessings and love,

      Alice and Willow

  5. Carole permalink

    Alice, many fond memories were made in your vast yard–playing badminton and croquet, catching lightning bugs in a glass jar, and later swimming in your pool. Of course, the porch swing was always a favorite, too. I recently found many photos of your and Mary’s birthday parties at the picnic table under the maple tree, as well as cute group photos of the cousins.

    Thinking of Uncle Jimmy on the date of his birth, with love to all of the family . . .

    • Good evening, Carole–Thanks for your comment on this particular blog post!  You were such a part of all the happenings.  I am glad you are making good use of these unusual times to go through and organize all of your photographs.  What a project!  Thanks so much for remembering my dad/your Uncle Jimmy on this day of the anniversary of his birth!

      Enjoy July!  Talk with you soon–Alice and Willow

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