Radish Seeds Buried under Concrete

Peel away the layers
white stripes, black tar
concrete, steel bars

Under the commotion
rolling treads, flying rocks
choking fumes, forward motion

Under the worn highway
a lost object not protected
by the endangered species act

A buried polaroid is fading
a vanishing family history
an ongoing universal story

A home once stood
a girl in a garden, eating radishes from the fresh dirt
an old man inside, reading a Louis L’Amour book

A home once stood
a brown jug of moonshine in the shed
a towering windmill greeting guests

A home once stood
for a family from the Midwest
dry was best for their son’s breath

A business once stood
an old lady inside serving homemade apple pie
sky blue water flowing on a Hamm’s neon sign

A business once stood
a boy on his tip toes wiping countertops
Chuck and Vi’s Café was his first job

A business once stood
for making an honest living
a WWII Vet and his bride, hard working

An old photo buried by expansion
eminent domain, stamped permits
urban sprawl, land consumption

A home and business long gone
reduced to memories, splinters, and dirt
old man and woman buried down the road
in a family plot, their final section of earth

People keep moving
Life keeps evolving
Cities keep expanding
Concrete keeps drying
I keep their legacy in my heart

A tribute to my paternal grandparents,
Charles and Viola

My paternal grandparents moved three of their four children from Iowa to Arizona when my father was a teenager to help him with his severe asthma. Like so many people have done and continue to do, they migrated to Arizona for the climate. Ironically the location where they found a new home and opened a business is now covered in a highway – one of the many results of the population explosion witnessed in Phoenix and surrounding cities. Growth and expansion issues that are not exclusive to Arizona. I have previously mentioned my grandfather Charles, on my blog, in my poem with audio, “Blood Builds a Bond.” In that poem, I describe his brave and decorated service during World War II. This poem is dedicated to Chuck and Vi’s memory and to lost places that can only be visited in memories and through old photographs. Thanks for visiting and reading. Be well. 💗 Michele

Photo 1: Grandparents’ residence and business location in Arizona (before and after freeway construction) ~ historical aerial images taken from https://gis.maricopa.gov/ Photo 2: (left to right) cousin, Vi, Nick (brother), me, and Chuck Photo 3: Nick, Vi, and a keg in their cafe Photo 4: Vi and Chuck in their cafe

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© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton.

66 thoughts on “Radish Seeds Buried under Concrete

    1. Thank you for your comment. 🙏🏻 So many neighborhoods… just one story among countless others. Growth is part of life, but the transient existence with many communities across America is sad. I have such reverence for old places and buildings that have stood the test of time. Literally.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to your grandparent and so many others walking this same path as they have. Insightful, sad and yet sustaining remembering we can’t erase time and memories as they live on inside of us. It feels quite current actually!
    💖💖

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    1. Many things are beyond our control. Choosing what to focus on is within our control (usually). Their story, like so many others, is a story of hard work, perseverance, survival, and family. Those are the legacies that can outlive buildings. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Cindy. 💖 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love how the process of writing can help us remember details, like jugs of moonshine and radishes plucked from the dirt. ✍🏻 💭✨ Thank you for reading and sharing. Have a lovely day, Jeff. 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG Michele, what an amazing memory and reflection about your family, their lives, their travels, and the transitions that have taken place with the renewal and transformation in those areas. Many in my family have experienced such relocation to other areas due to the rapid growth and development in places that held fond memories for them.

    It’s so sad to witness how deforestation and modern development can interrupt lives, humans, wildlife, plants, trees, etc., all for the sake of progress. Love your poem. So heartwarming! 🤗💞🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kym. A timeless and endless story, relatable across all eras and cultures. Of course, too many relocation stories that are more heartbreaking and tragic than just inconvenience or misplaced memories. 😭

      Very true. Deforestation is heartbreaking and often the result of expansion not managed in a sustainable manner, and other issues, of course. A pressing issue that ultimately affects each of us, regardless of where we live or the freeways we travel on. 🌳🌲 Thank you for adding that detail and for your entire comment. 🙏🏻

      Enjoy your weekend, Kym. 🤗💖

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    1. Thank you, Ingrid. I enjoyed dusting off a few dusty memories and the historical GIS maps available online are interesting. I am pleased you enjoyed my tribute. 💓 One memory that did not make it in the poem, but it made me laugh was remembering my grandmother’s old toilet turned flower pot. She liked kitschy things like that. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh, so sweet. 🥰 My grandpa always had a book in one hand and a cigarette in the other. L’Amour was his favorite author. I definitely inherited his love of reading, but, thankfully, not his addiction to cigarettes. 😥 A difficult addiction to overcome, I have witnessed. 😞 I digress… thank you for taking a trip back in time with me. Nothing like old photos to rekindle memories and make us smile.😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “People keep moving
    Life keeps evolving
    Cities keep expanding
    Concrete keeps drying
    I keep their legacy in my heart”

    That’s very simple yet powerful way to end a poem! Such a sweet tribute, Michele. I also enjoyed the nostalgia these photos are giving. Thank you for sharing them!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Marron. 😀 Your comments are kind. Old family photos are sweet and sometimes hilarious! Don’t let my brother’s cute little face and demeanor fool you! Thank you for enjoying them with me. We don’t want to live in the past, but sometimes it’s nice to visit. 💓 I just checked your blog… I will be reading your part 2 story soon. 😊

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  4. A beautiful, heartfelt poetic tribute to your family and roots, dear Michele 🙏 It is indeed sad to think of the peoples and histories displaced over time, for ‘progress’ 🙃 As Joni Mitchell once sang, “They Paved Paradise and Put in a Parking Lot”. …and, the song remains the same today. Wishing for you a lovely weekend, my friend 🌞🌹

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  5. It’s like a whole book in this verse of yours. Almighty God, you have a gift of writing. You could easily be a novelist. You bring epic scenes to mind .
    Quite the master story teller. You are. Bravo.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh dear Yassy, you sure know how to brighten my writing soul with your words. ✨ Thank you. I am working on a longer project… not sure how easy it will be to finish. One page at a time! 😵 You sure are encouraging, though. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Buddy. 😊 You highlighted my two favorite memories too, although the radishes were very tasty! And the apple pie. 🥧 😁
      OK, they are all wonderful memories (sans the second-hand cigarette smoke). cough cough
      I wish I had those old neon signs. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your book and beer memories. 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Progress always changes history for the better for some and destroys history for others. You have done a fabulous tribute poem that explains this so well. I love what you have done with your family history! Love the photos! Radish Seeds Buried Under Concrete, is a great title!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, and sometimes progress can deliver both pain and gifts at the same time. I suppose that also applies to life in general. Thank you, Dwight. Your comments about this poem are very special to me. I am happy you like the photos. I love writing titles – this one challenged me a bit – I am pleased to read your feedback. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You penned your Lagacy so beautifully Michele. The greatest part is the tribute of grand parents keeping those memories, cherishing and making their work alive by sharing it to the world. Cool n cute pics. It’s just lovely 🥰💖🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you sweet Suma. We are each a tapestry of many lives and lineages, each one influencing us in some way. Sometimes, without even having known the person. It is quite remarkable – this human experience. Your visit and words are cherished. 💖

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    1. Thank you for reading. Normally I can describe the inspiration for a poem, even tell a story about it haha, but I am not sure what thought inspired that one. However it showed up, I am glad it did. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Prickly Conversations (audio) – My Inspired Life

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