The Poem of “O”

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Debbie’s Uncle Tom was a Master Mason (& past Worshipful Master of his lodge), a raconteur, poet and smoked a pipe.  He also had a lazy eye, but this didn’t stop him being a crack shot at the local Bisley firing range and serving in the army during World War 2.

Uncle Tom explaining to
Uncle Tom explaining to James how to write poetry while Auntie Phyllis makes sure we’re full!

Auntie Phyllis always laid on a wonderful spread for tea of haslet, tongue, cress, salad and onion/cucumber soaked in vinegar when we visited them in Thame as you can see in the above photograph.  If the weather was good Tom would also take the boys and I to practice golf in the park near their ground floor flat in Van Diemans Avenue.

Tom loved telling stories about how he won a silver matchbox in the Freemasons for being word perfect on a very difficult & long ritual, also about his adventures running a wartime ice factory in Egypt, with his medals proudly mounted on red cloth hanging on the wall near the fireplace.

On the 15th December 1992, Debbie, I and the kids visited them both as a pre-Christmas treat for us all.  Tom was always chuckling, but never more so than on this occasion when I asked him to share one of his poems, this time he said it was a chemical poem simply called “O” as follows:


Though oxygen’s my proper name
I’m also known as “O”
You’ll find me in the air you breathe
You’ll find me in the snow

Of all the many gases
That I play with every day
I like the ones called hydrogen
They’re very light and gay

Now hydrogen is too long to say
And H is that much shorter
And when I play with two of these
I simply turn to water

We have this on video and if I ever upgrade to the more expensive WordPress site I’ll embed it here for you all to enjoy.

A lovely memory and in this spirit of remembrance the last time Debbie & I visited Thame to see their daughter Vanessa, we also took a trip down memory lane to see other sights of Thame where Phyllis & Tom lived over the years.

The old sweet shop called “Fulkes” that Debbie used to frequent round the corner
Debbie remembers this as the Avenue where Tom & Phyllis had their house and where she and her Grandma visited over many summers
29 Horton Avenue
The front of 48 Van Diemans Avenue where I first met Tom and Phyllis – shame about the rain!
8 Rooks Lane is where they ended up together (although this is number 2 where Phyllis’ parents lived – as the inhabitants of number 8 further down on the right were at their window looking out as we drove by!)

Happy memories, never forgotten.

The Poem of “O”

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