Celebrating My Grandmother Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin’s 97th Birthday with Poetry

nananPhoto of my grandparents Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin and Robert Warren Gartin, Sr. of Indianapolis, IN


Happy 97th Birthday to my feisty grandmother Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin affectionately known as “Nanan.”  Nanan is my mother’s mother.  She was born on July 10, 1912 in North Vernon, Indiana to Ione Goins Johnson King and John Johnson. Nanan currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I wrote a poem about her and featured it in my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (Summer 2009 – iUniverse, Inc.).  See below. Enjoy!

What are your favorite grandmother memories?

Nanan used to make this mad crazy delicious peach cobbler when I visited her in the summers.  Yummy! 

Peace and Creativity,




My Grandmother Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin (born in 1912)

 Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke


She is a woman with a 97 year old history.

Some of which I know.

Other parts remain hidden.

I believe that those parts may remain hidden for eternity. 

They are parts of her soul.

Everyone should savor parts of themselves in silence.
A woman with glazed donut skin and winter white and gray hair.
Nanan is taller than I could ever imagine being.
Her personality is fierce.
Her conversation is sweet and sharp.
She don’t take no shit from anyone and will handle her business and yours too.

She is a woman who walks the earth with many titles.

Domestic worker.
Community volunteer.

My greatest memories of her are wrapped in summertime spent
eating her homemade peach cobbler, golden fried chicken, and potato salad.

Nanan’s soul food left me feeling rich, full, and loved.