Niles poet to sign new book Saturday

Published 6:38 am Friday, December 6, 2013

Mary Lou Grathwohl has written hundreds of poems in her 83 years on this earth.

Mary Lou and Joseph Grathwohl

Mary Lou and Joseph Grathwohl

One of the most famous might be “St. Mary’s Steeple,” which she penned in honor of Rose Chevrolet, a woman who helped raise money to renovate the steeple of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Niles.

The poem is forever etched in a copper plaque that is secured just below the golden cross.

“I was pretty proud of that one,” said Grathwohl, who will be signing copies of her new book of poetry “Now & Then” from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Majerek’s in downtown Niles. “And then for them to let me go up there and place the poem — that was something else.”

“Now & Then” is the fourth book authored by Grathwohl, who has lived in Niles since 1953. She and her late husband, Joseph, ran The Bath Shop on Second Street from the 1950s through the 1970s. She also served as president of the Downtown Niles Association, taught third grade at Westside and coordinated adult education at Brandywine.

The more than 50 poems and letters in “Now & Then” focus on a wide range of topics from God to staying young to overcoming life’s challenges. Many of the poems are written about people who have touched her life, like Rose Chevrolet.

“I’ve never written anything like this before… poems about people. There are a lot of people in there,” she said.

Grathwohl isn’t certain why she became interested in poetry, but said it might be because she raised four boys.

“They were always playing sports and doing other things, so there wasn’t much creativity in the house,” she said. “I figured if there was going to be any creativity I’d have to do it.”

Grathwohl’s other works include “Mother Sez,” “Here and There” and “Holiday Hugs.”

“Now & Then” has a cover price of $12, but will be sold for $10 during the book signing.