by Morrey Grymes
Eleanor Gladys Grymes
Date of birth: June 25, 1909
Date of death: July 6, 1999
Age at death : 38
although he didn’t know it, then,
His most auspicious year was 1909.
It was the year Mom was born,
Years later, he got lucky and found the love of his life.
Mom was born a “liberated woman,” from a lineage of strong,
powerful, and liberated women. Rather than
in your face, she was“ charmingly assertive”.
Dad was the application, Mom the operating system.
Mom was not attractive, she was knock-
down, drag-out gorgeous.
She was articulate,
known for her sense of humor,
and she loved to talk.
If you are observant you can spot eccentric people.
Eccentricity was Mom’s normal.
So what if she spoke to flowers, they always responded.
They would turn away from the sun, flutter their petals to
face her as they listened. Whenever itinerant butterflies
were in close proximity, they flittered in a frenzy which
suggested they were also anticipating a greeting of some
My mother was a call girl.
Men, or an occasional woman, would call her.
”I would like to speak with Eleanor,
if she is available”.
It was not a job, but more like a religious calling,
with Madam Ma Bell as her Mother Superior. It was
a happy time for Mom, it enabled her to be of
assistance, and spread her traditional wisdom.
Too much of a New Yorker, she wanted to remain in close contact
She was addicted to her daily, walk-down-walk-up eleven flights of
stairs. She performed this daily exercise with the religious fervor of a
Since Mom lived alone, she adopted a proxy family from a daytime
soap opera, I think it was Days of Our Lives. Then she began
giving orders to the characters, saying things like,
“Mary, don’t marry John. He’s not good for you.”
Of course they rarely took her advice.
One day in July 1999, she
spent an hour on the phone
with one of her oldest friends,
which was not uncommon.
After the call, Mom told the girl
taking care of her she was going
into the bedroom to watch TV.
A bit later the girl went to check.
Death had already been there and left, without
fanfare, and as quiet as a ghost.
Death allowed Mom to die, with grace, and without drama. I think
Death also wanted to avoid any discussion, or confrontation with
Mom died when she was 90 years old
Cause of Death: Boredom
“Now, Sonny, You know I was 38 “
Mom, you know you were 90.
“If you keep that up, I’m not going to talk
With you any more.”
There is no date discrepancy in her vital stats.
Mom declared, when she reached 38 she
intended to remain 38,
and she did.
She remained 38 for the next 52 years
until the end of her song.
by Bruce Zimmerman
the rhythm in the effort to breathe
along with the silence of the hourglass
joined by the drip of the agreed medication
created a trio of haunting rhythms in one mind
was there a quiet knocking on the door?
I rose from a pool of anxiety and
placed my chair under the doorknob
then laughed at myself
nothing can stop the blank faced messenger
from his checklist of assignments——-
with peace and tranquility now in progress
everything to do—-has been done
all have faced reality——–
now is a time to prepare for a different future
memories become a new lifeblood
this to be recorded for future visions
in the real-world—words of pictures
it shall be cast to the families of the future
by Peter Terzian
“Bonjour” is all she said.
Maybe it was something in the tone of her voice,
the look in her eyes,
As they say, she had me at hello.
As she extended her hand for mine the
question in the back of my mind was answered,
yes, she was talking to me.
My heart was pounding.
How could this be happening?
Did she have some kind of
I had fallen under her spell.
Her hand was small, and
I thought of the old saying, “cold hands, warm heart.”
I returned her greeting.
“Hello” is all I said, then
“Comment vas tu” came out
as my limited high-school-learned French kicked in
all these years later.
Wow! I must be dreaming.
But, no. This is happening.
With a single touch I’m feeling
attraction and affection.
What’s left but
pleasure and passion?
When in France…
Then my wife
gave me a nudge from behind and
we boarded the tour bus.
Morrey Grymes has taught Life Story Writing, poetry, and chess courses for OLLI. He is a founding member of Live Poets discussion group, and active participant in two writing groups.
Bruce Zimmerman was born and raised in New York City during the depression years. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island, he served in the Korean War. In 1957 he and his family moved to Tampa, where he started his own construction company that remains in existence. Bruce began taking OLLI writing classes with “Writing your Life Story” and is a current member of the Imaginative Writing “crew.”
Peter Terzian wrote this as part of an OLLI Imaginative writing course taught by Marilyn Myerson. A school media and technology teacher since 1980, Peter started brewing about four years ago as a hobby. Now retired, he also enjoys volunteering for arts, media, and technology projects. He fills several online volunteer roles for OLLI-USF.
10 Replies to “Three Odes to Women”
Three very different tales, but so very interesting and heartfelt. We can relate to something in each one!
It amazes me that in life, certain people pop in and out of it. Bruce Zimmerman is one of those people. He and his wife who he so lovingly writes about, were my neighbors when I was growing up in Tampa. They lived behind us, and my sister babysat for their daughters. What a great way to start the day! Reading a tribute to someone my family knew and loved.
These poems individually and collectively capture a range of emotion that touches, teaches, inspires, arouses…They engage our hearts, our humanity, and offer us beautiful word pictures with tenderness and humour: we bask in the delights of poetry.
IMHO, if brevity is the soul of wit,
Peter Terzian has nailed it,
Written a novel in the first five words
“Bonjour” is all she said.
Wonderful . I understand.
A nice Olli idea. The three poems feelingly capture emotions we can all identify with. Congrats!
Beautiful poetry. I enjoyed them all.
The poetry chosen for OLLI Connects touched me for many reasons; especially my cousin Bruce Zimmerman by marriage.
Bruce has spoken often of his studies at USF along with his both creative and imaginative writings.
As Bruce records his lifelong experiences to be shared with family, friends and others, we are witness to who Bruce George Zimmerman is … an articulate, sensitive and caring human being, who is both my cousin and friend.
Women! God’s best creation …thanks
Thank you, poets, for your artistic abilities and the beauty you share with us!