Many of you have been writing since you were youngsters, but I never thought that would be my destiny, and didn’t realize I had such a fire burning inside me until about five years ago. As some of you know, I took care of my mother-in-law in our home. She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, vertigo, osteoporosis, and could not leave her bed. She required 24-hour care and cried out “Help Me” continually unless asleep or actively engaged. She shook constantly, didn’t know who we were, didn’t know she’d been married or had had children; she couldn’t even answer a question. It frustrated her when the words she wanted to say were ever so elusive. My heart went out to her, and I tried to figure out a way to help her communicate and to bring her comfort.
Through trial and error, I found that reading rhyming children’s picture books aloud was the ticket. When I read these books to her, she would be calm, laugh at the same places, and feel joy and comfort. So I made up silly rhymes to talk to her. Amazingly, when prompted, she could come up with the word that rhymed. That delighted both of us and unlocked a secret part in my brain that allowed me to write in verse. It was through poetry that I came to join the San Francisco/Peninsula California Writer’s Club.
I look forward to a wonderful 2017 and wish the same for you and your dear ones!
–Jeannine Gerkman, Author, Poet, Realtor
Newsletter Editor, SF/Peninsula Newsletter January 2017