Every year prior to Thanksgiving, I enter Bill West's Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge! as described on his blog, West in New England. This is my 10th poem entry. To participate in this challenge, you have to follow several rules, the first being:
"Find a poem by a poet, famous or obscure, about the region
one of your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a
legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local
This year I decided to choose a poet I grew up with, my mother! I have been going through old papers and tossing many out. When I came across four of her old Christmas poems, I thought they would be perfect for this challenge. She did the poems for 20 years, and the four I found are over 30 years old. They include some genealogy and you get a real feel about their marriage. I can assure you they aren't boring. My mother led a very active life with lots of volunteer work; quilting, overseas trips every year, knittings, and had a 5,000-mile goal of riding her bike for several years. My father's life was the opposite, you learn he was ill for at least six years. She died while leading a bike trip four months after her last Christmas letter.
What's this, so soon, another year?
Again, our greeting comes with cheer.
John, now slowly on the mend,
Those joints and muscles hate to bend.
His greatest with for '84,
the computer by Commodore--a 64!
It keeps him busy much of each day,
So, while John computes, Jane goes her way.
A 14 Day May trip---London to Rome,
John managed alone, till the traveler came home.
Still most active, with swimming and bike,
Furniture refinishing, paperhanging and the like.
Her 100 mile bike rides caught the eyes of the press,
A celebrity of sorts, for a while, oh yes!
From New Hampshire to Virginia, our family is fine,
For you, Merry Christmas, the very best line.
It is early December and snow's on the ground,
And a year to recall in some verse, profound (?)
For John, still a problem with poor circulation
Meaning, his life is not quite a vacation!
A hospital stay, fracture, sling, and sick feet,
Have made this a year he wishes NOT to repeat!
He's pretty house-bound as this winter nears
And walking in snow is one of his fears.
Not so, for Jan, with cross-country skis set to go,
A 2nd week of Elderhostel quite soon in the snow.
Tried Bike Hostel on Nantucket, loved the weeks stay,
A tour of Scandinavia was the highlight in May.
She's always busy, still quilts, swims, "subs", and "sits" (teaches and babysits),
Helps run organizations, biked 3,000 miles, and still knits.
Hope your year was "good news" with more in '86,
Happy Christmas to all as the December clock ticks?
With snow in November, and the 50's today,
Another Christmas approaches, in the New England way.
John, still sedentary, reading books more than ever,
Since walking's a chore, he uses little shoe leather.
Jane, early January, whoops, slipped on some ice,
And housebound herself, broke a wrist, not so nice!
Making up for lost time, went to Holland to roam,
Then biked Niagara Falls, Rhode Island, Cape Cod, and near home.
Still Pres. of the Bike Club, with her name in the papers,
So few "Senior" bike riders involved in her capers!
Quilting as usual, now for Nursing Home laps,
But a 12th quilt for Poole use, to use up the scraps.
As new AARP Chapter Pres., keeps her up on her toes,
The time really flies by---there it goes!
Enjoy the Christmas of '86,
And what will Jane have in her new bag of tricks?
1987 and 1988 letters are missing. She went to China in 1987 or 88.
There's one less Poole as Christmas nears
But a Nursing Home, for John, was one of his fears.
His death, very peaceful, on March 16
Poor health, his downfall, or so it would seem.
Have a new family member,l I'm glad to relate
Our USSR Guide is now Cari's mate! (Went to Russia in 1988)
Victor now teaches Russian, in Virginia their home
It would make me so happy, if to Acton they'd roam!
Still lots of biking in '89
Bike Rallys afar, Netherland also, by bike, just fine
More slide shows, AARP, and quilting keep me on the go
Then in 1990, to Bike in France, since no one says "NO".
Bad weather in November kept the bike miles down
Will miss the 5,000 mile goal, this year, it does make me frown,
But my two wheels go farther than others I know
So in a way, I am proud, and live with a "glow"!
Let your Christmas be Merry, and shiny, too
At the end of 1990, whoops--another rhyme for you!
P. S. This rhyme is #20.
Note: My mother died four months after the Christmas Letter, on her bike. She didn't make it to France, as the death was six weeks before her planned trip.