Life events inspire Niles poet’s workPublished 9:39am Thursday, December 17, 2009
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
Mary Lou Grathwohl didn’t have much of an audience for her poetry earlier in her life.
“We had four boys, and they were not too interested. I couldn’t find anybody to listen to them,” she said with a laugh.
The only person she could always count on to listen was her husband, Joe, until he passed away in July.
And now in his memory, Grathwohl has released a collection of her poems for a much larger audience – the entire community.
She will be signing copies of her book, “Here and There,” which will be available to purchase for $9, at Majerek’s Readers World Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. The book is her second collection of published poems. The first was about her four sons and titled “Mother Sez.”
Grathwohl, who has been a resident of Niles since her marriage 56 years ago, says the poems are inspired by different events in her life. Many of the poems are based on a poetry diary that she has kept throughout her life as a way of being able to relive her past.
She hopes that readers will come to understand the importance of recording their past.
“Maybe by reading this, people will collect their memories like I have, their travels and that sort of thing,” she said. “As you get older, you forget these things unless you write them down.”
The short poem on the back cover of her book captures this idea: “Here is some insight on things we did do. I hope this brings memories on things you did too. Whether it be traveling or thoughts in your head, one’s memories are important so don’t put them to bed.”
Two of the most significant poems to Grathwohl in the book are “My Joe” and “My Dear Joe,” both written after her husband’s death. One appeared in the funeral program and the other read at his burial.
For Grathwohl, writing poetry was a natural response to the life-altering event.
“I got up in the morning after he died and I wrote it,” she said. “I guess it was helpful to write.”
The book is also filled with memories of her and her husband’s world travels, including poems about Poland, Italy, Germany, England, Jamaica and Belize, among others.
Grathwohl also hopes people in the community will consider buying it as a Christmas gift, as she included several holiday poems as well.