Summer Camp

 

A couple of years ago while Spring cleaning, I found notebooks with poems written by John’s mother, Bettie Lou. After losing both her husband and son in 1985, Bettie Lou wrote poetry as a type of therapy. She later inquired about publishing some of her work, but in the 1990s blogs were not an option and we failed to find a  an outlet for her work. It seems like this is the perfect venue.

Summer Camp

Every woman should go back to summer camp.

Eat, sleep, dance, and play games with the group.

Have a teenage romance again.

Fall in and out of love with no regard for others.

I long for those days; I need to go to summer camp.

I need to feel free and less defensive.

Select my partner before the caller says, “Swing…”

I will dance and enjoy without a care.

How did I get so involved with the feelings of others?

Why did things change?

Am I responsible for the others of the world?

I need to go back to summer camp.blou

While this picture of Bettie Lou was not taken at summer camp, it was taken when she was in high school during her “camp years”.

With so many pictures being posted of summer camp experiences, Bettie Lou’s poem seems to be appropriate. It was originally posted in June of 2013.

Farewell, Goodbye 2014

For 41 weeks I posted poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou, on Sunday’s. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

As we say farewell to 2014, I thought I’d repost her poem, Farewell, Goodbye.

Farewell, Goodbye

Farewell, goodbye

So long, see ya

‘Til we meet again.

So many ways to

Acknowledge that

One is leaving

Anxiety, emptiness

Pressure, excitement

Depression, uncertainty.

So many ways to deny

One’s inner feelings.

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Bettie Lou and Johnny, early 1980s.

I Don’t Fear Death

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

I Don’t Fear Death

I don’t fear death.

I don’t fear hell.

If I go to sleep.

I will be well.

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All I See is Weeds

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

All I See is Weeds

All I see is weeds.

Why can’t I see the heron,

            The ducks in a row?

Is the sky blue? Are there

Diamonds in my lake?

            Not for me—

            Only weeds—

            Do I see.

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Last Night

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Last Night

Last night out on the porch

I heard crickets

And frogs

Blue jays, cats and dogs

And then there was a siren.

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Reach Out in Love

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Reach Out in Love

Perhaps we reached out in love—

            Instead of fear.

In giving love, we shared love—

No fear of hurt or rejection.

            An experience of love, joy, and hope.

I want that again.

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Birthdays are Sad Days

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Birthdays are Sad Days

Birthdays are sad days after death days.

Why can’t the energy required to grieve be used to remember the happy moments:

            the birthday cake with the proper number of candles—

            the “Happy Birthday to You” song—

            the silent special wish before the candles are blown out—

            a request for a trip rather than a “store bought” gift—

reminder from a son that “Mother gave birth to us because she wanted children. She didn’t need them.”

a quarter horse that was the most special horse in the whole world—

boats – motor boats, sail boats, and more boats.

So many happy days.

So few sad days.

Why do the sad days possess me?

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Today Feels Different

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Today Feels Different

Today feels different.

It must be special

Maybe it’s the weather-

Wind hit me smack in the face

            As I walked

I remember such a felling

Many years ago.

It wasn’t the weather, but

Absolute materialistic comfort-

A white Lincoln – air and stereo

            Working at top efficiency.

In those days I could sing

            All six parts—

            At the same time—

            A sextet from Lucia.

I’ll do it again—

            Without a white Lincoln.

Maybe this is what she had in mind?

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My Well is Dry

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

My Well is Dry

My well is dry
But not my eyes.
I’ll wait ‘til morning
“Tears flow through the night
but joy comes in the morning!”

Sunrise from the Hyatt Regency 9th floor
Sunrise from the Hyatt Regency 9th floor

Come and Bring Your Dog

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Come and Bring Your Dog

Come and bring your dog

            But not your past

I told you that I love you.

What more do you need?

Bring your dog

            Not your fears

Reach out in love

            Without fear of rejection.

We don’t own love

In giving love, we share it.

Let’s go for it!

            An experience of love, joy, and hope.