First generation fantasies – a poem

Because the early 1900s were a period of so much immigration from Europe to America, we are touched by this poem from BoomerCafé’s Poet-in-Residence Harriet Shenkman of Westchester, New York. She calls it First Generation Fantasies. They are hers.

Ellis Island - 1902.

Ellis Island – ca. 1902.

I wished my mother wore choker pearls
and baked gingerbread cookies,
danced the cha cha in high wedged shoes
and hung Christmas stockings over the mantel,
flung the dice over the Monopoly board
and munched on barbequed spareribs,
listened to Sinatra and knew how to sing
the Battle Hymn of the Republic by heart.
Harriet Shenkman

Harriet Shenkman


  1. Don’t we, of that generation, all wish that our mothers could be more modern in the American sense? At times, we were embarrassed that they weren’t; but, in their own way, our mothers’ “backwardness” launched us even more quickly into our post-war style of “backwardness,” as seen by our own children these days.

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