Remembering My Sister Connie Lynn…

My sister Connie (February 12, 1953 – May 8, 2011) would have turned 61 This year.  She was always proud of sharing her birthday with Abraham Lincoln.  She is in my thoughts today, and I think she would appreciate the poem I composed for her.

The old house is empty,
and shadows streaking across wood floors
are longer now, uninterrupted
by chairs, sofas, or people.There are reverberations though,
of birthday parties, Thanksgivings,
joyful Christmas mornings,
doorbells chiming, telephones jingling,
those awful strains of our music lessons,
the meow of Tilly, and bark of Sidney,
and of Mom with the whir of her mixer making cakes.

Without curtains, the windows shed light
much too harsh in showing absences
of those we loved with that final echo
of the phone ringing to tell us that
Dad had stopped breathing,

The only remnant of all this
is my sister’s doll, Phoebe,
sitting on that closet shelf since 1953.
“Where does the past go?” I ask,
but Phoebe only smiles, as if to say that
life is a gradual evacuation, until
all our rooms are empty and silent.


About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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