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The Back Backstory

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My grandparent's farm in New Hampshire

I've often been told that you shouldn't live in the past.  But the past is what shapes us into who we are, who we were meant to be and it is in figuring out our purpose for being here that life is all about. 

Maya Angelou said  "You can't really know where you are going until you know where you've been" and I think a big part of knowing where you've been is knowing the stories of those who came before you. 

I've always loved history and especially learning about the about the lives of my ancestors.

Here are a few poems written by my great grandparents in the early to mid 1900's, which gives you some insight into their lives. 

I think these represent a simpler time when people focused more on the things that really mattered. Things that are often forgotten today in our hectic, technologically driven society.  

The Path Across the Way

By Catherine Roberts Quimby 

(My great-grandmother on my mother's side)

Written on Mistwold Farm in New Hampshire, circa 1950's

The path across the way is bare

Yet, hosts of things are buried there

The tramp of many little feet

Their shouts of joy so clear and sweet

The friendly clasp, the whispered prayer

All of these things are scattered there.

I would not have the grass grow lush

In my small path, for that might say

That we were not on best of terms

With folks who live across the way.

On paths oft trod, vile weeds won't grow

And footsteps travel to and fro

The weeds of dislike and greed 

will never help a friend in need.

Comfort neighbors when they're sick

A secret path will do the trick

Just keep it bare from end to end

And there will be no weeds to tend.

No matter then if paths are bare

Think oft the treasures that they share

The neighbors calls, the pleasant treat

The daily cheer and friendship sweet.

My path across the way is bare

But all these things are scattered there. 

Cardinal Flowers

By Catherine Roberts Quimby 

(My great-grandmother on my mother's side)

Written on Mistwold Farm in New Hampshire, circa 1950's

Walking along a lonely road

I wandered off the beaten trail

I found a place where God abode

In a wooden dale

Pushing my way through leafy bowers

I found a pool of cardinal flowers

No other hand  could fashion these

In such profusion, straight and tall

Their bright heads swaying in the breeze

To rhythmic tones of a waterfall


I silently stood in reverent awe

Amazed at the beauty which I saw

This happened many moons ago

Yet, I can visualize it still

Just close my eyes and wander back

To the lovely road-when'er I will

I push my way through leafy bowers

And there I still see cardinal flowers

Think Thou, Oh Youth

By Walter Eugene Quimby

(My great grandfather. Catherine's husband)

Think thou, Oh youth

For you must stand

And bear the brunt

Of this world's shock

Time passed on

'Tis moon at hand

Remember who said "I am the Rock"

Think thou, Oh youth

If thoust be free

You must toil and strive

But unlike a slave

You can rise to heights

Where you long to be

Remember who said "I alone can save"

Think thou, Oh youth

If you would grow

In knowledge and truth

That make men free

Read well, God's word

And thou shall know

The voice which said "Come follow me"

How Leaves Behave

Like spangles on a tambourine, the poplar leaves are dancing

The oaks fly upwards, in the breeze like hordes of horses prancing

The maple leaves are more sedate as back and forth they wave

The birch leaves twist and turnabout, know not how to behave

The locust leaves, so modest are, from side to side they turn

The ash leaves flutter up and down and beech leaves seem to squirm

The spruces, pines and hemlocks I can most plainly see

That when the wind is very brisk they start a whispering

You may not believe a word of this but if you watch each tree

Perhaps they will behave for you, just as they do for me.

By Catherine Roberts Quimby

The Old Tin-Peddler Man

By Catherine Roberts Quimby

I could see him coming down the road

A driving his black span

He would look so smart with his big red cart

The old tin-peddler man

He would stop all night and we'd sit up late and sit and talk and chaffe

For each time he came, her was full of news and jokes to make us laugh

When the morning came, we would hustle and pick up all the rags

He would take all kinds and then weight them up and tuck them all in bags

His big cart was full of all kinds of things, from pins to horseshoe nails

And the women folks always took their pay in pots and pans and pails

He had brooms and tubs many baskets too, he had  needles, thread and socks

Lots of wrappers, cloth, fancy buttons, toys and wax candles by the box

Oh, those days are gone, they will come no more, except as tales of yore

But I can still see in my memory span, that old tin-peddler man

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