Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Category Archives: Stargazing

Orion, Reimagined (a pleiade)
In memory of Wilmot Dunn, stargazer

Old Grandpa Dunn and Charlotte
Out to the telescope shack
(over Grandma’s dead body…
only money saved, for that?)
“On left, three stars, that’s O’Toole.
One Irish constellation.”
Obviously, Grandpa fibbed!

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For dverse Poets Pub, where (while sipping a fine Wisconsin microbrew (Bitter Woman, tastes just like it sounds!), I wrote to the prompt, a new form called a PLEIADE. “Inspired by “Pleiades,” a star cluster in Taurus constellation, also called the ‘Seven Sisters’ (Greek Mythology).” Seven lines, seven syllables, plus the first letter of each line must match the first letter of the title. I found this doubly delightful because I could remember Grandpa Dunn, my wonderful second great-grandfather.

The Story: My mother’s Great-grandma Dunn was mortified when her mischievous, spendthrift husband used their entire life savings from his work as a railroad conductor to buy a state-of-the-art telescope. He proceeded to build a shack around it, which Grandma referred to as “the Shithouse,” both for her opinion of the endeavor… and for the state in which Grandpa found himself after the purchase. (Can’t blame her. This was mid-1930s Depression Iowa.)

Wilmot Dunn was a dreamer. Mom said he had many, many graphs written up of a proposed rocket ship to the moon, and, after Grandpa Dunn died, little Charlotte asked if she could keep all his charts and writings. Grandma had already donated the telescope to Drake University, per Grandpa’s wishes. The writings, she left in the Shithouse, which she promptly doused with kerosene and burned. Mom was heartbroken, but it instilled in her the telling of his stories to me, and it’s still a part of that rich Shanty Irish oral tradition in my family! Peace, Amy