With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I tell one of my favorite love stories… the tale of my mom and dad.

When my mom was sixteen years old, she started working at my paternal grandfather’s store, and that is where she met a handsome, older man… 22 years her senior. Although completely smitten with each other, the couple waited until after her 21st birthday to marry.
All my life I heard stories of the two of them in their early years… I even caught wind of a poem dad had Mr. Maloney, the local poet, write.

A while back, mom found dad’s wallet. It had been hidden in a dark corner of his drawer since he died in 2001.

Inside the billfold she discovered a folded piece of newsprint… on it appeared the poem dad had published in the local paper in 1950, and he carried it with him every single day since.

After mom showed me the poem (I’ve included a copy below), I countered by presenting her with another momento of my father… pendants I crafted from the sugar bowl that broke from their wedding china. She cried, I cried, and my dad probably looked down from heaven and rolled his eyes over all the fuss 🙂

107 years after my dad’s birth, I’m constantly reminded he’s still here with us.


I made this piece for my mother from her Bavarian wedding china. She was heartbroken when her sugar bowl broke, but I think her heart skipped a beat with joy when she saw this.


SWEET SIXTEEN

I know a little maiden
Just sweet sixteen, no more,

She works behind the counter
Of a local grocery store.

Her skin is smooth in texture
Her eyes a heavenly blue,

She’s not too tall and rather slim
Her hair of auburn hue.

She’s full of pep and vigor
But never in a rush,

She seems to have the old technique
Of knowing how to blush.

She’s neither bold nor forward
She tries so hard to please,

Whether you want a peck of spuds
Or just a pound of cheese.

In school she is a Junior
In spare time she’s a clerk,

Of one thing we are certain
She’s not afraid to work.

Well liked by the customer
Patient all the while,

She takes a lot of kidding
With a great big friendly smile.

It’s refreshing just to watch her
And anyone can see,

This little girl I speak of
Has personality.

Tho faithfully I promised
I wouldn’t tell her name,

But the founder of this business
From good “Ould Ireland” came.

For years it stood upon this site
Tho changes have been seen

Even to the personnel
“Ted, “Cracker”, “Bob” and “Gene”.

—Joe Maloney

It’s worth noting that Ted, Cracker, and Bob were my dad’s brothers… and dad, his name was Gene.