Woodburn grad remembers grandfather in book of poems
- Lindsay Keefer
- Woodburn Independent - Features
A Woodburn mans poetry has been immortalized in a book published by his granddaughter, and its now gaining international attention.
Life Stories of a Hero, by Howard Palmer and arranged by granddaughter Bonnie McGregor, is being featured at the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany.
Its great because its going to be right at what would have been Grandpas birthday, McGregor pointed out.
Palmer, who spent much of his life in Woodburn, was born in Waldport on Oct. 11, 1907 and worked as a logger until 1951.
He married his teenage sweetheart, Bea, in 1927, and they had four children.
It wasnt until the birth of their first grandchild which happened to be me for him to realize the logging trade was far too dangerous for a family man, McGregor said.
So the family moved to Woodburn, where Palmer took up a job as a custodian in Woodburn schools for 20 years.
Although he never published his own poetry, McGregor was determined to change that after his death in 1988.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and I just knew those stories would be wonderful for others to be able to enjoy, McGregor explained. He possessed a magical gift that left us with a powerful legacy of hope and love. (His poetry is) fun reading filled with simple life lessons, all mixed up with gentle words of wisdom and kindness.
Although McGregor thought it would be neat to publish her grandfathers poems, she didnt actively pursue such a feat until 2003, when she got her first laptop.
I didnt even know how many he had written, she said. I filtered through them, there were some repeats, some werent finished. It took me a long time to do it.
McGregor, who is now retired and lives in Salem, published the book in 2009, more than 20 years after her grandfathers death.
The books 90-plus poems are divided into four parts: A Wise Man Once Said, Two Passions, History and Nature, The Near and Dear and A Different Side. Poems range from Children to Ode to the Pioneers to The Bowling of Daisy Magoo.
McGregors favorite poem in the collection is When You Were a Little Girl, which he wrote for her.
I was overseas in the Air Force, and he sent me this poem, she recalled. I just felt like I had my family love there with me and I was thousands of miles away. It was as if he knew just what to do (to make me feel better).
McGregor pointed out that her grandfather supported Shriners Hospital, which will receive a portion of the proceeds from her book sales, she said.
Its not a huge thing, but that was something he believed in so I wanted to make sure that continues, McGregor said.
The book is available through any major online bookstore and has already affected many readers, McGregor said.
Those that read it, they love it, she said. Thats the best thing is that people are enjoying it. You just cant help it. He makes you feel like youre there, he tells such a good story. He had a great way of letting you just be there.