The 103rd birthday of Emma Regina DeGraffenreid Smith by Alice Teeter

Great-granddaughter Molly – Annie and Robert’s daughter
I was four years old when we came to the Inner Passage.
It’s heaven here. I don’t remember anything from before.
My favorite things are fishing and blueberry season.
I go alone! Mom says that Granny Em is my first love.
Then Granny Em says “And I’ll be your first broken heart.”
Hurray, Hurray, Hurray! You’re 103 years old today!

Great-grandson Tommy - Annie and Robert’s son
Big deal. So she’s 103 years old today.
She’s just wrinkled and old. It’s not like a rite of passage.
When we left Los Angeles it broke my heart.
I’d never even been out of the city before.
I have a girl friend there and we are mad in love.
Plus there’s no TV here. I miss baseball season.

Great-grandson Cadmus – Reggie’s son
There is no TV here and I miss LA and its one season.
I can’t believe Granny Em is 103 years old today.
I thought I would hate it here, but there’s things I love.
Last week we saw a bunch of whales out in the Passage!
And I heard there was a tidal wave here once before,
but if we moved back to LA it wouldn’t break my heart.

Great-granddaughter Phaedra – Reggie’s daughter
If we move back to LA again it won’t break my heart.
The absolute worst thing here is the winter season.
I do like this house better than the apartment we were in before.
And it’s really nice that we could come over to town today.
Last time we came Tommy ran away, he’d booked his passage.
Oh, I told my Aunt and Granny Em about my new pen-pal love.

Granddaughter Reggie
I told Annie and Granny Em about Lewis, my new love.
I never thought that I’d be willing to risk my heart.
Although these days divorce is like a rite of passage.
I think we’ll be married by the end of fishing season.
It would make him happy if we could marry today.
I told him I won’t be rushed like I was before.

Grandson-in-law Robert – married to Annie
I told Tommy we are going to do things like before.
You can’t go rushing off, leave those you love.
We are going to have a good time here today.
There’s a birthday cake with a big blue heart.
Pretty soon we’ll start the long winter season
and he’ll have to stay. He can’t cross the Passage.

Granddaughter Annie
We thought we’d lose Granny Em in the passage over or before.
She is in her winter season, but she has all this love.
It’s her strong, strong heart that keeps her with us today.

Great-grandson Pericles Emmanuel – Reggie’s son
My dad was my mom’s second husband.
He’s the one she says is drinking himself to death.
He got mean and violent and we had to get out.
I’ve talked to him, but I haven’t seen him since.
I want to go visit. Mom says “we’ll see.”
I know if I go back he won’t be the same.

Great-grandson Paris – Reggie’s son
Nothing on the island ever changes. It’s always the same.
I’m glad my mom has found another man to be her husband.
For me there’s nowhere to meet people and nothing to see.
I hate it out there and I’m always bored to death.
You’d think we would take the boat over here more since
there’s no grocery stores and we’re always running out.

Great-granddaughter Ariadne – Reggie’s daughter
There’s no grocery stores, but I love running out
in the woods for mushrooms. They don’t all look the same!
We moved away from LA and it’s been great ever since.
I don’t miss Creepy Joe – that’s what I call mom’s last husband.
She says he is trying to drink himself to death.
Whether he does or not we’ll have to wait and see.

Great grandson Carleton – Annie and Roberts’ son
Whether we can stay here we don’t know, we’ll have to see.
Mom could lose her job, then we’d have to get out.
I think for Molly to move, it would take death.
It’s heaven here for me, too. I’m just the same.
I like the guy that’s going to be Reggie’s husband.
Maybe he’ll come live with us, I mean if and since…

Grandson-in-law-to-be Lewis
I’d be willing to live out there with them, I mean since…
I could probably get to my job from there, we’d have to see.
I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never been a husband.
I guess if it doesn’t work then I’ll just get out.
Of course, I mean, she can do the same,
even though we each will promise unto death…

Granddaughter Annie
These kids are going to bug me to death!
I was the one who fought for this job, since
fifty other rangers wanted the same.
For a long time it was wait and see, wait and see,
but then I prevailed and I beat them out!
Got this lighthouse for my kids and husband.

Emma Regina DeGraffenreid Smith
I don’t know why I didn’t die when I lost my husband.
I almost did. I’m sure I could have pined to death.
Something on the boat ride out here shook me up and out,
got me moving. I haven’t stopped since!
There’s too much to do and too much to see.
Nothing on the island ever stays the same.

When I lost my husband, I thought it meant death,
but then, we came out here and ever since,
what I look at I see and my days are never the same.

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Alice Teeter



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