Make Do by Mary Lou Meyers

This poem by my classmate Mary Lou is perfect for Earth Day Every Day! I am posting it on the Home Page, Poetry Page, and Earth Day Every Day Page. es


Words forged on the home front, “make do,”
holes in our socks, soles worn through.
Paper Sole Sammy made them look like new.
Mother spared, “a stitch in time saves nine.”
Invisible patches on suits and Sunday dresses,
turning collar and cuffs on Dad’s work shirt a must.
I learned to darn socks over a bulb with bold weaving
till with practiced hand, it became deceiving.
Many long braids untouched by scissors or machine wave,
in patriotic fervor donated for Navy instruments.
“Junk can win the war,” saved paper, cans, and more.
Castoffs on the side of the road a storehouse
filling my dream, a two wheeler from parts made whole,
good as new with leftover auto paint, heavenly blue,
a heavy weight, but Dad said it strengthened my legs.
Neighborhood, “hand me downs,” were a way of life,
an art form to take scraps of material left
from Mother’s outfit to make one for me.
Unraveling wool from dad’s worn sweater,
saving the best to knit a red vest for my brother.
Country cousins sewed and pressed floral feed sacks,
did their best for a one of a kind back to school dress.
We made “do” without a car walking back and forth
saving nickels instead of bus fare to the store, parings
composted in our Victory Garden nourished the soil and us.
Meat and butter a rarity with rationing,
when company came, mother exchanged poor man’s bread
for poor man’s cake, raisins in a smiley face on top.
“Cheap” was not a word of blame but praise,
going green and recycling was what we naturally did,
joy in finding or growing something useful and free.
Today’s trash could turn into tomorrow’s necessities.
Will those Good Times ever happen again?
The populace blended when “Make Do” was the thing to do.

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