Grandma

Grandparents & grandchildren, Photo by Aletia2011, Adobe Stock

Grandma

Our Grandma, Frances Ellen Tustin,

had to babysit, so she left after two years of school.

She had learned to read! She used that skill

to educate herself and lived her life to the full.

At twelve, Grandma worked as a hotel maid.

Married at seventeen, she had two sons.

She and Grandpa worked hard to support

their family during the Great Depression.

Our grandparents moved a lot, flipping houses.

Grandma wallpapered, painted, and plastered.

The last house they renovated was her childhood

home, using all the skills they had mastered.

Photo by Brett Jordan from Unsplash

Grandma lived there for more than thirty years,

raising chickens, planting grapes and fruit trees.

She grew asparagus, strawberries, and flowers,

and cultivated her garden into her eightees.

Grandma decorated her home with hooked rugs,

handmade quilts, and afghans she crocheted.

Her grandchildren were always proud

to wear the beautiful clothes she made.

Photo by Mae Mu from Unsplash

Cooking in restaurants and caring for the sick…

Grandma had many jobs over the years.

She was a long-time Sunday school teacher

who had earned the respect of her peers.

We always ate well at Grandma’s house…

Everybody loved her black walnut cinnamon buns!

Grandma fed us chicken cacciatore and cookies.

We gathered eggs in the henhouse. That was fun!

Photo by Natasha Skov from Unsplash

In summer, Grandma gave strawberries

to friends and neighbors and made strawberry pies.

A huge bowl of strawberries waited for us at

Grandma’s. We couldn’t eat them all, but we tried!

The Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls Grandma made

were in demand at local gift shops.

The dolls she made for her great grandchildren

were always loved a lot!

Photo by Non Vay from Unsplash

Most of my generation wanted to be like Grandma.

Great granddaughters, and great nieces, too,

are named “Frances” or “Ellen” or “Tustin,”

a gentle reminder: Be known by the good works you do.

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

The $5 Challenge

Photo by Joseph Greve from Unsplash

The $5 Challenge

I heard the stories as a child…

of Dad skipping school and running wild,

breaking the ice to go for a swim.

Skunky smell emanating from him…

sent home or banished to the hall.

Given his grades for playing basketball.

Joined the Navy by lying about his age,

used the GI Bill to go to college.

Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash

Dad wasn’t much help with study skills,

but he gave me an incentive of a five-dollar bill

for earning straight “A”s…a perfect report card.

In my sophomore year, I tried really hard!

Photo by Hello, I’m Nik from Unsplash

By dropping my hated typing class,

I thought I could get all “A”s at last!

But the honor roll with a “B” or two

just seemed to be the best I could do.

The quest became a pain in the neck,

and to this day, I still hunt and peck.

The next two years, until graduation,

I focused on directing my own education.

I abandoned chasing grades…No “busy work” for me!

There were books to be read as far as the eye could see!

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe from Unsplash

After that, I took art class seriously

and sketched my teacher in trigonometry.

Like my father before me, banished to the hall,

I read a book and didn’t mind at all.

I was multitasking in trigonometry…

Figuring that out, my teacher tolerated me!

Moved to the back of the room, not banished to the hall…

I sat drawing, learning, and having a ball!

Mt. Rushmore, Photo by Brandon Mowinkel from Unsplash

My history teacher was a boring jock!

Outline the chapter?…I think he was in shock

that my outline was heads and subheads. My grades slid,

but I got an education despite the rude things I did.

No “busy work,” copying sentences in grammar!

Zeros hurt my grades, but it didn’t matter…

I scored high on tests, so my grades were okay.

No offense, teachers…Just trying to find my way!

Photo by Anna1991anna from Unsplash

Married at eighteen, then job and family.

Night school part-time at twenty-six…I was ready!

At the beginning of each quarter, I always asked,

“What do I have to do to get an ‘A’ in your class?”

After all the drama, I finally had my four-point-oh…

Dad’s offer had expired…five dollars was a “no show!”

At forty, I graduated and consecutively

started teaching and earning my masters degree.

Elementary Classroom, Photo courtesy of CDC from Unsplash

Like my father before me, I say, “Don’t do as I do!”

Educating yourself is essential, but grades are important too!

Dad went back to school after I was grown.

He earned five doctorates…Who could have known?


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Word to the Wise

If you are a student, please don’t do as I did! Or as my father did, either! Find the balance between earning good grades and educating yourself about the things you want to know. Take it from someone who learned the hard way…Grades and following your interests are both important!

Remember to be kind to your teachers. Karma may get you if you are rude to them! As a teacher in inner city schools, I got back a little bit of what was coming to me. So, if you are ever tempted to give your teachers a hard time, remember my advice, and don’t go there!

The Joke & the Divine

Photo by Nikola Knezevic from Unsplash

The Joke & the Divine

Young Mary told a naughty joke…

The Reverend heard her as she spoke.

In stern rebuke, he raised his hand,

with eloquence gave reprimand,

and when that great Divine had done,

he walked away and stood alone…

He thought upon her clever wit,

and, quite unholy, laughed a bit.

He bowed his head in bitter shame…

and then, poor man, he laughed again!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem was written when I was in high school, about 1966. I remembered it when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. I am not sure whether my father, who was a minister, was pleased when I teased him by writing this poem. However, he may well have laughed about it when I was not around! He did have a sense of humor.

Ghosts of Halloweens Past/Ghosts of Halloween Present

Photo by Taylor Rooney from Unsplash

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Cauldrons of magic potions steaming,

Black cats awakening from dreaming.

Cardboard witch astride her broom

cackles under the harvest moon.

Disney princesses in jeweled crowns

are panhandling all over town.

Frankenstein’s monster is resurrected.

Roaming mummies have been detected.

Blow-up ghosts hover mysteriously,

orange lights twinkle in shrubbery.

Hanging from the live oak trees,

paper skeletons dance in the breeze.

Photo by Conner Baker from Unsplash

Spooky music is beckoning,

roving children are threatening,

“Trick or treat! Trick or treat!”

on every suburban street.

Little pirate brandishes a toy sword,

winning him a sweet reward!

Cat Woman says,”Thank you.”

Neighbor says,”Have fun, you two!”

Jack o’lanterns glow,

grinning at the passing show.

Flickering candles beneath

backlight their jagged teeth.

Vampires in windswept black

pantomime a plastic-fang attack.

Howling werewolves with hairy arms

induce us to pretend alarm.

A little troll walks with a giant bunny.

Funny thing is, he calls her “Mummy!”

Diminutive dragons are holding hands

with a Cat-in-a-Hat they call “Dad!”

Wolfing down all the candy they can eat,

Halloween’s children fall blissfully sleep.

Mom chews bubblegum. Dad eats M & Ms.

“Oh no! We can’t stop! When will it all end?”

Ghosts of Halloween Present

Photo by Ben Shan from Unsplash

Corona virus’s real-life fear

has downsized Halloween this year.

On this Halloween night,

scary movies will inspire the fright.

Not as much soliciting door-to-door,

parties smaller than in years before…

We hope next year’s a different story…

Halloween restored to its silly glory!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Sledding

Male Cardinal, Photo by Joshua J Cotten from Unsplash

Sledding

Saturday morning…soup in the crockpot,

wholegrain bread rising, birdseed scattered

on the snowy porch. Cat at the window

watching cardinals, jays, and finches!

Photo by Sergio Arze from Unsplash

Sunday afternoon…packing a picnic,

dressing in long johns, boots, and mittens.

Daughter excited! Driving up the mountain

to George Washington National Forest.

Photo by Pezibear from Pixabay

Building a fire, soup pot on the grill.

Sledding downhill, trudging uphill,

sledding down again. Cheeks red with cold,

ice-matted sleeves, jeans wet at the knees.

Photo by Yvonne Huijbens

Steaming mugs of homemade soup,

homemade wholegrain bread.

Sitting tired and happy at a picnic table,

laughing, talking…making memories!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Parenthood

Photo by Jordan Whitt from Unsplash

Parenthood

Child in agony.

Parent watching powerless

to take pain away.

We share children’s pain…

from scraped knees to tragedies

to their misspent years.

If we didn’t love,

we wouldn’t feel the anguish…

wouldn’t share the joys!

Photo by Wonderlane from Unsplash

Copyright 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Hello, everyone! It’s so good to be back! 🙂 I have a new computer battery. Two new features, Archives and Categories, have been added to my site. Just click “Archives” at the top of the menu next to the folder icon, and you will find both of them there.

Over the next few days, I’ll be catching up on my emails. I know I’ll find some gems! ❤ All the best! Cheryl

Blue & White Mugs

Photo by Cheryl Batavia

Blue & White Mugs

Blue and white souvenir mugs

in our Miami Beach drug store…

art deco and wildlife scenes…

I bought four!

The kids grew; we planned to travel…

They wanted to help push Dad’s chair.

I looked forward to collecting

blue and white mugs from everywhere!

A three-generation Carribean cruise…

Dad’s last-minute illness caused cancellation.

We scheduled a Carribean cruise

for our family vacation.

I spent a night in the hospital with Dad…

They failed to draw blood despite many tries.

Dad checked himself out before daybreak;

we drove to the beach and watched the sunrise.

Then we went home to pack our bags

for the final voyage of the Norway…

Mom, Dad, and kids sailed that afternoon.

We had decided to “seize the day!”

The kids and I snorkeled. Our family

explored islands, listened to steel bands,

dressed for dinner, went to shows…

and we bought a mug, as I had planned.

The Batavia Family aboard the Norwegian Ship, Norway

Dad died within the year. I put the

Carribean mug where it wouldn’t break,

fragile, precious souvenir of the

only family cruise we would ever take!

Years later, I retired to the Gulf coast.

Just one Miami Beach mug remained

when we moved to our new house.

I thought about putting that mug away…

I chose to use both irreplaceable mugs…

I have tea with my memories every day.

One day the mugs may break,

and that will be okay!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Miami Beach

Miami Beach South Beach, Ocean Drive, Art Deco District by Ellensmile from Adobe Stock Photos

Miami Beach

Sunshine on waves is an exciting show

for our daughter Katey and our son Joe.

Miami Beach is the perfect place to swim!

Mom and Dad keep an eye on them.

Zooming by slower folks is just great

for two little daredevils on roller skates!

It’s the nineties. Skating is all the rage

for rollerbladers of every age.

The warm sea breezes are pure delight.

We’re dining on Ocean Drive tonight…

pizza and ice cream in a sidewalk cafe,

people passing in an endless parade.

Coming in, like a wave, is a happy mood.

We’re listening to music and feeling good.

Mom and Dad still have dessert to eat…

Joe and Katey are dancing in the street!

Reprinted from Life in Inspiring Places


Copyright 2019© by Cheryl Batavia


Our family lived in Miami Beach for seven years in a 1940 Art Deco style house. We christened our house, inhabited by a dog and two very active children, “Bedlam on the Beach.” Miami Beach is a wonderful city with beautiful beaches, historic Art Deco buildings, great restaurants, and lots of interesting things to do.