The above is a snippet and the complete poem reads:
ODE TO ******
JIMMINY CRICKETS AND GOLLY GEE
********'S RECEIVED A COLLEGE DEGREE
SHE EARNED IT AT ********* IN ART EDUCATION
AND IS READY TO START ON HER NEW VOCATION.
IT SEEMS ONLY YESTERDAY SHE WAS A KID
AMUSING US ALL WITH THE THINGS SHE DID.
LIKE GURGLING AND COOING LOUDER AND LOUDER
WHILE HER BROTHER DOUSED HER WITH BABY POWDER
HER LOVE OF RAGGEDY ANN WAS LEGENDARY,
SHE WASN'T HAPPY WITHOUT HER DOLL TO CARRY
WHETHER SHE WALKED OR WHETHER SHE RAN,
SHE ALWAYS HAD A HOLD OF HER RAGGEDY ANN.
IN WILLIAMSBURG, SHE SUFFERED A SERIES OF SHOCKS,
WHEN SHE SAW HER BROTHER LOCKED UP IN THE "STOCKS"
SHE THOUGHT FOR SURE HE'D NEVER GET OUT,
POOR ****** WAS FRANTICALLY RUNNING ABOUT
WHILE VISITING IN OHIO, SHE CRIED THE BLUES,
WHEN A CRICKET CRALWED OUT OF ONE OF HER SHOES
SHE REFUSED TO TOUCH THE OTHER SHOE,
CERTAIN THEIR WAS SOMETHING IN THAT ONE TOO.
IT WAS EXPLAINED TO HER BY DEARGRANDMOTHER,
THE ODDS AGAINST ANYTHING BEING IN THE OTHER
AND WE COAXED HER TO PUT HER FOOT IN THE SHOE,
TRUSTING "HER GRANNY" AS A CHILD SHOULD DO.
I DOUBT IF WE'LL EVER FIRGET THAT DAY,
WHEN THE CRICKETS ALL CAME OUT TO PLAY.
SHE PUT HER LITTLE FOOT IN THE OTHER SHOE,
AND CRUSHED A CRICKET INTO A WAD OF GOO!
SHE ATE "DOLPHIN FINGERS" IN THE STATE OF MAINE,
BUT APPEARED TO BE IN SOME KIND OF PAIN.
SHE WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD, JUST A LITTLE "ZIPPER"
AND THOUGHT SHE WAS EATING "GOOD OLD FLIPPER"!
AT THE SEA AQCUARIM, "SHE SHOWED HER STUFF"
AND LET US ALL KNOW SHE WAS "TOUGH ENOUGH".
SHE HELD A SQUISHY SEA URCHIN IN HER HAND,
WHILE EVERYONE CHEERED TO "BEAT THE BAND
SHE RECENTLY, WAS AT A GIRL SCOUT CAMP,
TEACHING ARTS AND CRAFTS TO EACH LITTLE SCAP
THEIR TENTS WERE ON PLATFORMS THREE FEET OFF THE GROUND.
TO AVOID ANY CRITTERS THAT WERE CRAWLING AROUND.
WELL ******, FORGIVE US FOR HAVING OUR FUN,
YOU KNOW WE'RE PLEASED WITH WHAT YOU'VE DONE.
YOU'VE EARNED YOUR DEGREE AND WE'RE REALLY GLAD,
BEST OF LUCK FROM YOUR MOM AND DAD.
When I graduated from college in 1990, this poem was my present. My parents did not come to the graduation ceremony, I was there with one of my best college friends who I remain in contact with to this day and believe she drove me there. There may have been a dinner with a few office friends and family members.
I suppose one could say there was some thought behind giving me a poem but the day I got it, I turned red. It was embarrassing. My stomach had a pit in it. These were the stories they told their friends and other family members of my strange habits when I was young. At the time, I smiled and nodded as they read it to a couple friends and family the night or week of my college graduation.
I was dying inside as it was read and the room laughed. Can you see why? The cricket tale is one they tortured me with for years. It was strange the whole thing wasn't even that funny to normal people. To an Aspie, the joke has fallen flat for 40 years. I never laughed at it but protested. One time I even sassily told them in my late teens, it just tells me I knew more then you at even that age.
A five year old child, me, finds a cricket in her shoe that crawls out and refuses to put the other one on claiming there is a second cricket in it. During this event I am at my grandmother's house and some uncles, aunts, cousins and my parents are there as well as my siblings. I cry and refuse to put the shoe on. For some reason, I know another cricket is laying in wait. The family protests and yells at me to put the shoes on. "Its time to get going. You have to put your shoes on. " None of them shake the shoe or check it for me. I relent and inside is a cricket waiting and I squash him into my bare foot as I put the shoe on. The memory of the feelers and crunch of the cricket's body are there in my brain still. The family laughed and laughed some more.
The first cricket made me sniffle and worry, and the second made me scream and cry even more. Like many young children I am afraid of bugs. They would tell this story for years and years of my distress. A cousin of mine reminded me of this story when he plastered a picture of his Aspie son, screaming with his mouth wide open at the apex of a roller coaster hill by one of those automatic cameras. For some reason this was considered "funny", and I thought of the "cricket story". Now mind you, I do not blame the poet, he seems like a fun guy and he wrote poems for everyone in their office.
They don't have much more to say about me then me being covered in powder as a three year old, I actually remember that day, or crying over the marketing name of a fish dinner at the age of eight?
The final line basically admits fun at my expense. Some may ask where is your sense of humor but consider this poem in the context of everything else. I am 21 years old when I get this poem. I am a young woman, they are frozen in time not even knowing who I really am.
I remember thinking at the time, "This is how they see me?" No that was worse, this was the surface play of "fun" Mom and Dad joshing their daughter. To outsiders, this was a "fun" poem but inside I was hurt, and no one knew. I hated that damn cricket and hated that stupid story.