Tag Archives: Mary Shepherd’s Poetry


Cliff Dwellings, Canyonlands, Utah (all pictures by Jim and Marylin Warner)

Cliff Dwellings, Canyonlands, Utah (this picture by Jim Warner; all others by Marylin Warner)

Two-family birdhouse built on pergola.  Colorado Springs, CO

Two-family birdhouse built on pergola. Colorado Springs, CO

Dear Mom,

I was in either fifth or sixth grade when the teacher gave each of us a topic, a word that could have more than one meaning or interpretation. We were to look up the dictionary definition, and then we were to ask at least three people what the word meant to them. I was given the word HOME.

We were supposed to get a variety of answers. I remember asking a younger kid what HOME was to him, and he gave this very basic answer: It’s where they let you have a puppy even when your sister has a cat.  I remember wondering how I could make that work at our house.  I really wanted a kitten, but my brother David was allergic to cats, so I couldn’t have one…Hmm. How did that fit with a definition of HOME?

Dad had a definite philosophy about the importance of homes and hometowns: No matter where people live or how rich or poor they are, there’s something about their home or their town that they’re proud of. The secret to connecting with people is to find out what that something is, encourage them to talk about it…and really listen to what they say.

I remember trying to write that as one of my answers for the assignment, but it wasn’t until I was much older that I understood how important and on-target it really was.

I don’t remember what other answers I got for my assignment, Mom.  I do remember, though, one of the children’s poems you wrote. Of all your poetry, “HOMES” was—and still is—one of my favorites.


“HOMES” ~ by Mary Elizabeth Shepherd

The milk cow sleeps in the barn;

A house is a home for folks.

The little birds sleep in a nest in a tree,

In the pond the bull-frog croaks.

The milk cow wouldn’t like my bed;

And I couldn’t sleep in a nest.

The bull-frog doesn’t like the barn.

Each one thinks his home is the best.


You and Dad were actually giving me very similar answers about the importance of HOME.  I thank you both for the answers you provided in my life, and for the home you made for our family.

(P.S. Mom, you were right about the cat thing. You said that when I grew up and had my own home, I could have as many cats as I wanted. Our daughter Molly’s first cat was Abbra. And after Abbra it was Solomon and Calla Lilly. Now, in her own home, Molly’s children have Munchkin.  No cat allergies for us!)

Resting place for "Baby" in Abilene KS cemetery

Resting place, home for “Baby” in Abilene KS cemetery

Old Town log house, Abilene, KS

Old Town log house, Abilene, KS



Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, Different kinds of homes, lessons about life, memories for great-grandchildren, Things to be thankful for


A garden rose in lavender. (All pictures by Marylin WArner)

A garden rose in lavender.
(All pictures by Marylin WArner)

Patron Saint of Lovers

Patron Saint of Lovers

Santa Ana

Santa Ana

Dear Mom,

In LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, Jane Austen wrote this: “The Very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone.”

It’s true, isn’t it, Mom?  One glance, and you can lose your heart.

I’m going to share the poem you wrote in 1990 and show our readers just how true love at first glance was in your experience.

“SHOPPING MALL ROMANCE”   ~by Mary Shepherd

Surrounded by parcels I sat there,

On a bench in the shopping park mall.

I had finished my Christmas shopping

And in exhaustion feared I might fall.


I could see him coming toward me;

His eyes sought mine all the while.

I tenderly watched his quick footsteps.

He held out his arms with a smile.


I glanced at the pretty young lady

Who possessively grabbed for his hand.

Did she know what a treasure she held there?

The greatest in all our fair land.


He fell on my lap and clung to me.

I patted his plump-diapered rear:

A seventy-two-year-old grandma,

And a fifteen-month toddler so dear.

I love this poem, Mom. Every child is precious to you, and each one makes you fall in love.  What a wonderful, creative way to live!

In her book, THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION, author Brene Brown says there is no such thing as “creative and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

Thanks, Mom, for a lifetime of using your creativity.   Love, Marylin

Mary's great-grandchildren, Grace and Gannon

Mary’s great-grandchildren,
Grace and Gannon

single rose


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, Mary Shepherd's poetry, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, Things to be thankful for


Grace Shipley's engagement picture.

Picture of Grace Shipley’s engagement to   Ivan Ray Shepherd

Grace's son Ray at one year, and at age 5, two years after Grace's death.

Grace and Ivan’s son Ray at one year, and at age 6, three years after Grace’s death.

Dear Mom,

When your granddaughter Molly came for a visit and brought her children, Grace and Gannon, I reminded you that Grace had been named for Dad’s mother, a devoted and loving young woman who died of meningitis when Dad was only three years old.  When I told you this, you shook your head and said, “Oh?” And later, when I tried again, you asked, “Do I know her?  Was she my friend?”

No, Mom, you never actually knew Grace Shipley Shepherd.  But I do believe that you two became friends because of your grateful heart for the woman who gave birth to the baby…who grew into the man you married.

You don’t remember this, but thirty-eight years ago you wrote a poem to Grace.  You sometimes felt her presence, the spirit of the woman who lost her battle against a horrible disease and could not stay to take care of the little boy she loved so much.  You also wrote some beautiful, very personal letter-type essays to Grace, but I know you wouldn’t want those shared, so I won’t.

Here, Mom, is your poem “To Grace,” your tribute and comfort to the woman who had to leave her child behind.  Sometimes during clear moments when I’ve shown you pictures of Dad as a baby, held by his smiling mother, Grace, you pause and close your eyes.  I like to believe that now Dad is gone, reunited with the mother he lost too soon, he and Grace both smile and send their love and thanks to you.

TO GRACE, 1897-1922   ~  by Mary E. Shepherd

I watch him sleep, so like a little boy,

Content so long as his hand touches mine.

Husband, dad and granddad kind and dear,

The glint of dreams come true when our eyes meet.


I think of how, a three year old, he lost you,

His mother, whom he loved so very much.

You were so ill, a terrible pain within you,

Unable to express the love you knew.


Then when you died he sat in his daddy’s arms,

Aware that something great had left his life.

And when he looked upon your lifeless face

He searched in vain for the sweet smile he knew.


No one could take the place of his lost loved one,

Though his dad was good and did the best he could.

Grandma became the one who understood, his mainstay,

To help him through the years a young boy knew.


For fifty years my dearest, my husband and a little boy!

I’ve known the love you planted in his heart.

Kind, good, and loving, he shares my life each day,

As many paths we have traveled, side by side.


Together we have loved our little boy:

The one you gave to me.  

Engagement picture of Mary Elizabeth and Ray(Grace's son)

Engagement picture of Mary Elizabeth and Ray (Grace’s son)

Mary and Ray's great-grandchildren, Gannon (left) and Grace, named for Ray's mother, Grace

Mary and Ray’s great-grandchildren, Gannon (left) and  Grace  (named for Ray’s mother)


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, lessons about life, making a difference, Mary Shepherd's poetry, memories for great-grandchildren, Spiritual connections