E-mail Exchange with Mom, April 2008

This morning I wrangled with my mother about how she needs to come up to Cottonwood for a visit, and bring photos of my grandmother Caroline while she’s at it. She says I am a good noodge but no dice for now. (Here’s what A.Word.A.Day says about the etymology of “noodge”: “From Yiddish nudyen (to pester, bore), from Polish nudzic. The word developed a variant spelling ‘nudge’ under the influence of the English word ‘nudge’. A cousin of this word is nudnik (a boring pest). First recorded use: 1960.” The meaning they give is “To pester; to nag.”)

The thing is, I found this folder called “received” in my Hotmail. In the folder were many things I felt needed saving. Among them was this exchange with my mother, about six and a half years ago. “Caroline,” as I say, is my grandmother, Mom’s mom. She was much involved with the Los Angeles theatre scene, and had a close relationship with Josephine Dillon, Clark Gable’s first wife and acting coach. (More about her, and her and Gable, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Dillon ) My Uncle Paul says Caroline “discovered” Alan Ladd, and though Paul is often full of beans, I believe him on this one.

I don’t clearly remember, but I think what prompted the exchange was that I’d mentioned the sonnet I wrote about Caroline in phone conversation with Mom. The other sonnet I probably decided to throw in to lighten up the heaviness of Caroline’s.

Here, edited for formatting and “order of play,” but not for content, is the e-mail exchange:


—–Original Message—–

From: Gary Bowers
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008
To: Jane Stoneman
Subject: Poetry

Here’s the Caroline sonnet:

A Sonnet for Grandmother Caroline

My Mom was born of you in ’35,
And Uncle George emerged in 1940.
And then you died, and then I was alive,
And I have been Theatrical and Sporty,
And feel I owe you that, from what I’ve heard,
Ah, with such matters we don’t know enough—

May be in my beginning was your Word
And maybe therefore MY words aren’t too rough.
A grandchild has a tentacled inheritance

Meandering like ivy through the past
And though my Mother may have deigned to bear a dunce
A dunce can have his moments, can be cast
Ashore with some Survival tools marked Other
Attained, obtained, retained from Mother’s Mother.

And here’s the other one:

I’ve steered around this fourteen-line arenA
Near thirty years–sometimes it leaves me numB
To wrest the meaning from beneath Odd’s ThumB
Engagingly as Dawn on Sand VerbenA
Refreshingly as Eyesight cleared by LasiC
Laconically as sibilantic WinD
Omnivorously as a Glutton’s sinneD
Capriciously as Art Nouveau then BasiC
Until equivalents of Holes in OnE
Take form from all my Darkness Joy and GrieF
I’ll scriven by the Ream all my BelieF
Onto the Page unto my last All DonE
Nor do I feel Success so far–but CryinG
Should NEVER interfere with TryTryTryinG



From: Jane Stoneman
Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2008
To: Gary Bowers
Subject: RE: Poetry

Cried with Caroline.  Laughed with ABBACD.  1 – 2 – 3, Mom


1 – 2 – 3 is family shorthand for “I love you.”

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