‘Fairfield Fantasies’A poem by Thomas Ward
Fairfield boys who wander
From the town where they were born.
May find life like lonely fabric
From which a piece is torn.
It seems there’s no returning,
There is no “going back.”
I’m living life with strangers
Who say “bag” when I say “sack.”
I’d like to locate things familiar,
A name, a face, a sound
It would ease this lonely struggle
But only strangeness is around.
I stopped at a museum,
A respite from the mad ‘hub-hub’.
Wait, what’s that strange contraption?
Why, it’s a Dexter Double-Tub!
I resist the urge to hug it
Like an old friend I have found.
I recall my mother washing
And the wringer’s “squishing” sound.
I recall my first job after Parsons
As a Dexter payroll clerk.
The Hunt boys, Tom and Ward
Ran the firm and made it work.
Mother Hunt split my name in two,
Half to each son this did entail.
Surely this did not enhance their image but
I did receive their mail.
Winter was just coming on
With snowy skies above.
I was thrilled with mitten labels
Saying, “Made by Fairfield Glove!”
What a warm and cozy feeling,
Like finding some old friends.
Nostalgic waves engulf me,
My joyous tears are not pretend.
Now I’m searching as I’m longing
For memories dear to me.
Why, there’s a bright, red hulahoop
By plastic company J. and B.
I remember well the Ward boys,
‘J’ for Jack and ‘B’ for Bill.
We shared last names but mine evolved
From over “Hungry Hill.”
Seen while strolling in the country,
Amid fields of grain.
A small metal cow atop a barn,
Why it’s a Louden weather vane!
Louden Machinery Company was
Where Dad worked for 40 years.
We lived, not high, but we survived
Through depression, sweat and tears.
Somehow he built a home workshop,
The pride of all he’d done.
Every saw, and drill and planer
Was made by Heston and Anderson.
One day with spirits really low,
My morale had gone to “mush.”
Suddenly, zest for life renewed,
Thanks to Harper Brush.
Trudging through Home Depot
With outlook on the rocks,
Life brightened in a heartbeat
With the label on a box.
“Fairfield, Iowa, Harper Brush,”
With brooms protruding out.
Like finding other long lost friends,
It made me want to shout!
My days are now much brighter
After finding these old “friends.”
It’s like a new beginning,
Not the beginning of the end.
– Thomas Ward (Fairfield native)