Poetry Friday: It Runs In The Family

If you’ve followed my posts for any length, you’ll know that family is important to me. With my parents being elderly (85 &86), we have begun to make quarterly trips to see them as they live in their own home, 900 miles from us. Luckily, my sister lives only an hour away and can see them more frequently.

My mom was a third-grade teacher for over thirty years. She loves language and that love was passed on to me. We are both lovers of words, both took Latin as a foreign language, and both consider ourselves writers. My mom wrote some poetry while my sister and I were growing up.

She had several pieces published. This was a hobby for her as she was teaching full-time. A long time ago, she also told me that she didn’t like that getting published was “like a business.” She meant that it had to be pursued with seriousness and constancy. She didn’t pursue anything after having those few pieces published. I also don’t think she had much, if any, support.

My mom spent a lot of summers during her teaching years developing curricular materials. It was an aspect of having a classroom that she really enjoyed. At a time when classroom teachers still retained control over what and how things were taught. She had units on Robin Hood, Cowboys, and more. Hers was a very literature-based classroom, which says a lot when reading instruction was based on SRA units. She also enjoyed having a teacher read storytime, and her classes got some of that each day. I know I’m biased but I know she was an expert teacher and feel that her students were lucky to have her.

Back to Poetry

Earlier this year, my mom promised she’d share her poetry with me. Yesterday, she handed me a stack of typed poems. There are no years listed but I’m sure they’re close to 50 years of age, having been written in the 70s, most likely.

I enjoyed reading all of them. As with all writing, some are better than others, but they all are kid-friendly and focused on things current to that time but are still relevant today: school, community, teacher-student relationships, and summer.

I asked if I could share some with the Poetry Friday group. My mom graciously gave her permission to do so. There were probably close to fifty poems. Today, I’ll share three I really liked.

© Carol Labuzzetta, 2022.
Sunburn by Jan Fritz. All rights reserved.
Watching TV by Jan Fritz. All Rights Reserved.
Visiting the Nurse by Jan Fritz. All Rights Reserved.

The thing I like about my mom’s poetry is that it’s very relatable, not too sing-song, mushy, harsh, or sweet. It’s based on real life – the real life of a teacher and the real life of her students and children (my sister and I). My mom’s poetry reminds me of Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein. I’m sure she’d be pleased I think that and hope they wouldn’t be too insulted. I inherited all the books she owned from both of these authors when she retired from teaching. They now reside in my library and I visit them often.

My love of words, reading, and writing came from my mom. And, it’s been one of the best gifts!

Today is Poetry Friday. Michelle Kogan is our host this week. She offers some insight into the atrocities of the current world situation by sharing a resource and her thoughts. Thank you, Michelle.

© Carol Labuzzetta, 2022

8 thoughts

  1. Hugs to your MOM! Wow. It is challenging for a full-time teacher to write and publish. My children’s first-grade teacher, Ann Marie Stephens, is finding success in publishing after retiring. The business side of things overwhelms me as well. I only like the creative parts. I love that poem, sunburn. It would be great to see that in a kid’s magazine/website today.

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  2. Carol, I enjoyed your Mom’s poetry, especially the second one. I also thought that her poetry reminds me of Jack Prelustsky’s. Thank you for sharing and give my best wishes to your mother as the author.l

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  3. I love the voice of students (kids) that your mom has put into the poems, Carol, each one a priceless peek into a child’s world. Since so many schools no longer have nurses, that poem is a glimpse of sweet care that I’m sad they no longer have. I have pages of my own mother’s poems and love reading them. Thank your mom for sharing, and thank you for sharing about her, too.

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  4. What a gift, Carol! One of my sisters writes poetry; and occasionally, one of my sons. I love when we are able to share our words. These from your mom are true keepsakes!

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