Birthday Joy

   Enclosed here is a poem and a link (hopefully) in celebration of my 70th birthday.  The address will take you to YouTube video of 80 happy people singing their hearts out in fun, plus the marvelous cake with cannoli rum filling and buttercream frosting with the little gypsy dancers on top.  You can also see pics of the beautiful worship space of Unity Temple, the Frank Lloyd Wright church in which the party was held.
   The  poem is from Carolyn Aguila, a neighbor from many, many years ago in Chicago when we took in Kevin Price Sanchez and Kelly Price Jorgensen as foster children one winter.  Carolyn has a wonderful published book of her own Chicago/family/literature based poems:  “Flirting with Rhyme and Reason,  EM Press, Channahon, IL 2006.
     YouTube:   Marti’s 70th Birthday          

      by Kevin Sanchez

Marti’s Matthew’s 70th Birthday – Dec 27, 2014


By Carolyn S. Aguila ~ December 27, 2014
 On the occasion of Marti Matthews’ 70th Birthday—
 City moms have different worries,

but all moms worry,
about all children,
all the time.
It’s always been so.

In ancient ages,

young boys and girls were sent
to uncles and aunts for fostering,
particularly when mothers grew tired
from the fretting.
Sometimes a family needs a rest from itself—
–or an urgent matter must be tended to
far from a child’s daily life.

I would not learn

until many years latter
that my own bricked city street
harbored such a mother
who mothered without question
the child of another,
a woman who understood
the sacred mission of tending to children
who were not her own,
but who were in need.

This is ancient,

this type of generosity,
and it is passed on and between and among
the bones and blood of motherhood.
We are finer, brighter, and sturdier because of these mothers—
   –and one is named, Marti.

                         Happy Birthday.


Re: poems on Daffodils

From Pamela Timme    Thank you so much, Marti. I am going to the Arboretum to see the daffodils on Saturday, so especially enjoyed reading Tom’s piece. They’re all lovely!

Thank you so much Marti, I read your poem – such an eloquent description of that traumatic time – and Tom’s writing – I felt “with him” again, after so long. I had no idea he wrote that much after his stroke. And the Wordsworth poem is an old favorite of mine – I had it memorized at one point!
Marilyn Myles

Thank you for sharing those wonderful poems. I just finished from doing our taxes all day and reading the poems helped me return to a more peaceful, present state of being,

Sweet dreams, Vanessa


I’ve always liked that Wordsworth poem, too. Ecstasy that seeps into our souls….such a lovely way of putting how beauty enters us. And your tender poem, marking that difficult, beautiful winter….then love claims the body…..that line washed over me. Thanks for sending these splashes of brightness into my morning.
Carol Tyx

Comments on Early Spring Poems

Hi Lynn,
Only you could create joy from the stinkiness of a skunk cabbage! I tried to put this comment right onto your website but I had to choose to be things that I wasn’t and failed. Hope your spaces between snows get longer. I’m at work on the last big section of my Zimbabwe memoir. Then I have to organize and add in some vignettes, but it basically feels finished.
Love, Natalie


What I need to live, life will offer…..such a line to hang on to. Love the simplicity and at the same time, the depth of these poems.

Your essay on dancing reminded me of a day last summer when I went to a downtown Iowa City outdoor music event. In the back of the crowd a young man in a wheelchair was waving his arms around. Feeling more outgoing than I am at other times, I went back and danced a number with him. Such enthusiasm for dancing!

Thanks for sending the reminders of life’s beauty… well as its complications.

Carol Tyx

Dear Sis~

Hi there, and happy spring! I loved your poems in the recent posting – are you the author of all of them? I’d especially like to refer/reprint the Frog one – so cheery and sweet –

All the Best~ Terry
Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP TML SERVICES

Great concept, Marti! Where do you get these ideas? sounds like, by sitting in quiet. They just drop by! Bonni McKeown

Reconnecting generations through blues education:


Hi Marti,I enjoyed the poems. They are very cute and inspiring regarding the lovely sights of spring. Now, I can not wait for spring to come and show all of its beauty. How are you doing? Its looks like all of well. Love, Dottie


Mar 26 Re: Early Spring Poems

Good evening, Lynn! You are so creative! I just read your poems and can imagine the sights and smells!!! Even tho we still have a foot of snow on the ground and 28inches of us on the lake!!! Thank you for making my day!

Love, Jamie


FROM Ethel Potts TO You

Marti – In Michigan we still have about half of our snow left on the ground. However, I see green shoots of a few confused snow drops in the back yard. Will they survive the still-with-us temperatures in the teens and twenties? They must be responding to the sun. Eppie



Love the poems and the handicap dance story.
Nancy Paul, Lyric Healing


Comments on Dancing with the handicapped

Comments on “Handicapped”
Dear Marti,
What a beautiful story! You must come dancing with me some Saturday night! Have taken up country dancing. Most of our dance partners are over 80 and just enjoy the music and exercise! Love and miss you.

Dr. Dorene P. Wiese
American Indian Association of Illinois
6554 N. Rockwell
Chicago,IL 60645


I loved your story-telling. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Love, Jill Mollenkamp


From: Diane Willis To: Marti Matthews <> Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2014 11:03 PMSubject: Re: “Dancing with the Handicapped”

Lovely story, Marti…..thanks for sharing it.

Diane, IANDS

(Intn’l. Asso. of Near Death Experiences)


From:PATRICIA R MCMILLEN To:Marti Matthews <> Sent:Wednesday, March 12, 2014 2:42 PMSubject:Re: “Dancing with the Handicapped”marti,

loved the piece – tried to comment but apparently i don’t have an “open ID” on wordpress. <sigh> anyway it sounds like you had a good evening and I’m delighted to have read about it.


Dear Marti,
It wasn’t until I read this blog that I realized I could post it on Facebook and I did, introducing it as “Another great blog by my dear friend, Marti Matthews”
Your picture is there and a profile. Wish you could see it!
                  Love, Marian
Marian Tompson
Passionate Journey: My Unexpected Life (Hale, 2011)
from: Ethel Potts To: Marti Matthews <> Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 9:30 AMSubject: Re: “Dancing with the Handicapped”

Dear Marti – Thank you for sharing such delightful parts of your life. You have a real talent for enjoying the heart-warming aspects of every situation. I am learning from you to try to do the same.

I may have some of your viewpoint. In my all-absorbing political work, I lose more often then win on issues and elections, but somehow I happily continue on. [ I’ve wondered if it’s not a personality defect, that I don’t know when to quit, which so many of my colleagues have done over these years.] I think that you and I find meaning and joy wherever we can, right? With my love, Eppie
I felt like I was there too, Lynn. Thanks!
Natalie Kreutzer


from: June Ryushin Tanoue          what a beautiful well written piece- thank you for sharing it with me!

I’d like to use it for my hula newsletter sometime ok? I may have to edit it some and shorten it to a page and a half?

but you should edit in what you said in the paragraph below or people will think that i’m an uncaring teacher ;0)


June Halau I Ka Pono, Hawaiian Hula School of Chicago

Sankta Lucia comments

RE: Sankta Lucia

I really enjoyed your recollection of your first Sankta Lucia Fest and how you got in-touch with your “inner Swede”. Would you mind If I copy/pasted your story into an email to my friend Rich Lindberg?
Merry Christmas!
Mike [ Rich is author of the book “Whiskey Breakfast, my Swedish Family, my American Life”, Univ. of Minn. Press, 2011]

St Lucia

I absolutely enjoyed your story, I smiled remembering my own Hungarian heritage and the night of St Lucia. Although I don’t quite recall, I have vague memories….will have to google it!
Have a wonderful evening celebration! Enjoy the festivities!
Many warm hugs!

Re: Sankta Lucia
Thanks for a wonderful note! We just had our Christmas party with the 3rd grade of Goudy school who sang for us. 51 nationalities and I did not see a Swede!!!

Re: Sankta Lucia

Marti, this is beautiful. You are always discovering something about yourself and the universe. I could practically feel the cold, the snow and the reserved Swedes feeling that despite everything, all’s right with the world.
Reconnecting generations through blues education:
The Story of a Chicago Blues Musician, co-authored with Larry Hill Taylor:
Dear Marti,
Good to hear from you and love your message. I too remember the Sankta Lucia festivals. I was always in awe of the beautiful candle lit crowns,the beautiful songs, and of course the hearty smell of hot Swedish coffee brewing in the church kitchens and cardamom rolls baking. Happy holidays to you as well. See you soon.
Dr. Dorene P. Wiese
American Indian Association of Illinois
6554 N. Rockwell
Chicago,IL 60645

Comments on Nudist Halloween

Interesting comments on “Nudist Halloween”

Dear Marti,

I thoroughly enjoyed your piece. Believe it or not, I also went to a nudist camp with 2 other girl friends in my early days. It is Sky Farm in NJ and it’s the first nudist camp in the country.. Still operating. At the time, it was a family camp and we three women were the first singles they allowed in. It was an experiment for them and apparently we passed and they opened it up to others like ourselves. Like you, it felt so natural, lots of interesting talks, bright people. Loved swimming without clothes. The camp was open in winter for sledding and other winter sports. Clothing essential then.
Each family had their own cabin, large, medium or small. We stayed with friends who had extra room. We all loved it. It was wonderful to feel the air on our bodies
Haven’t had an opportunity to do it again. But would not hesitate to go back

Marti, thank you for the blog. I read a little of it and found it to be enabling. In my case it is not a back curvature but a urostomy bag on my abdomen that I call my “ectopic breast”. It has taken me a long time to feel at ease in public despite living in a community where lots of persons have stooped posture, paralyzed sides, vocal distortions, canes, walkers,fat bellies, tremors etc…and lots of smiles, friendly faces, very smart brains, etc. We are so fortunate to have a community where we accentuate the positive and LIVE! The other day a person paralyzed on the right was helped by a person paralyzed on the left!
have a good Halloween
          Wilmer Rutt

From:Bonni McKeown <>To:Marti Matthews <> Sent:Sunday, October 27, 2013 5:27 PMSubject:Re: My Halloween Blog
I havent figured out how to access my google to comment on your blog… so I’ll just say your Halloween post reminds me of playing piano at a nudist resort in eastern W.Va., Avalon. Everyone was friendly, polite and unpretentious, as you say… and you’re right, when we die our earthly appearance becomes a moot point.

Reconnecting generations through blues education:
The Story of a Chicago Blues Musician, co-authored with Larry Hill Taylor:

Dear Marti,
I read yr blog top to bottom and found it very moving. Thank you for sharing your life so freely with us…quite a life, too! I love yr poems and share a recent one of mine:
With love,
Patty de Llosa (author of The Practice of Presence and Taming Your Inner Tyrant)
Nut, Stone, Feather

I went out to the Park feeling moody

and ill at ease.

So what am I supposed to be doing?” I asked the roses

and kicked at a fallen acorn on the path.

Hey, wait a minute!

Acorns grow into oak trees.

Let’s have a little respect here!

I picked up the acorn and saw a stone just near it,

Dirty white.

But I bet a little polishing would show its worth,

Prepare it

To lie like a jewel

At the center of a necklace.

I walked on a little farther.

There in the path lay a bird’s feather,

Thrown away by a winged life.

Where’s the bird that needs no feather?

Could feathers ever do for me

What they do for birds?

Nut, stone, feather.

What are they telling me?

Let’s make a guess:

Living stone is the foundation of the earth.

Touch it and you touch the earth, your Mother.

The nut is a seed of enormous possibility,

A tiny life with a powerful future.

And the feather?

It comes from a being that can fly.