"Highlights of Home"

Tribute to Our Family Home

By Mama Baer


It's time to sell our family home.
We gave away the garden gnome.
A flood of mem'ries, A to Z,
are everywhere! I look and see

one roof, twelve rooms, the skylight dome.
It's time to sell our family home.
Light bricks, front porch, the carport shop,
the garden . . . there's a sacred stop.

Our mother, widowed now one year,
worked far too hard. It now is clear
it's time to sell our family home.
In tribute, I'll write April poems.

Where parents and five children grew,
it seems to say, "I'll miss you, too.
Hold mem'ries close where'er you roam."
It's time to sell our family home.



Author Notes My father died in 2020. Our family home proved too much for Mom to keep up with, and the time has come to sell. My siblings and I gathered recently to help prepare the home and yard for the inevitable 'For Sale' sign. A rush of memories filled my heart, just in time for NaPoWriMo.

This song shares my sentiments:

Also, thanks to Roy Owen for educating me about quaterns!

Chapter 1
A is for Apple

By Mama Baer


Walk straight through the gate and across the grass;
you can't miss it. Surely, top in its class.
Step up! Step up! and there you'll be,
smack-dab under our apple tree.
The lovely shade on the grass beneath, a
step-up in comfort to you will bequeath.
It’s just right for climbing; it’s not too tall.
The brown sturdy limbs will catch any fall.
It’s old! It’s old! The rings inside
fill up a space near three feet wide.
It stands sentinel near the cobblestone,
                its old bark tired; the children now grown.                                                  

Green apples grew to fantastic sizes.
The kind that, at fairs, win lots of prizes.
Alas! Alas! Our greatest loss
is Mom's delicious applesauce.
Next spring, dainty blossoms will grace each limb;
alas, we’ll be gone, but mem’ries won’t dim.

Author Notes The Staccato, created by Jan Turner, consists of two or more 6-line stanzas.
Rhyme scheme: aabbcc
Meter: 10/10/8/8/10/10
Repeats: This form requires a 2-syllable repeat in Lines #3 and #6

Chapter 2
B for Backyard

By Mama Baer


When we moved in, in '73.
our yard was only rocks and dirt
and rocks and rocks, and more rocks still.
We raked and raked until we hurt!

But, in good time, the backyard grew
into a slice of heav'n on earth.
We gathered every chance we could
to eat or celebrate a birth.

The grass, the roses, fruit trees, grapes,
rock garden, flowers . . . everything
surrounded us; we worked and played
and talked while gliding in the swing.

The neighbors all gave rave reviews.
"It's peace and solace," they would say
when they stopped for a quick hello.
Most times, they would just stay and stay!

And then, in 1981,
choosing the venue wasn't hard
when I had finally found "the one."
The reception? In our backyard!

My parents weeded, trimmed; planted
zinnias and daisies in rows.
On our big night, it threatened rain,
but instead, gave us a rainbow!



Author Notes I will sorely miss the heavenly spot my parents created in their beautiful backyard. And true story! There was rain all around our outdoor reception, but it did not rain on us, and there was a beautiful rainbow for our backdrop.

Chapter 3
C is the Carport

By Mama Baer


Step out the side door to the east,
the door our fam'ly used the most,
and you'll be standing underneath
the carport roof: two cars it boasts.

There, in plain sight, at least to me,
our '65 Volkswagen bug
with light-blue paint, the sunroof crank,
the screwdriver we used to lug

tucked underneath the driver's seat.
"Why?" you may ask. Here's why. You see,
this handy tool, it'd start the bug
if ever you forgot your key!

Our bug's the car I learned to drive.
Dad, shotgun, called out, "Clutch!" and "Shift!"
The heater barely warmed my toes;
just static on the radio.

The first time I met my husband
I was driving that old blue bug.
Carport memories bubble up,
and give my heartstrings a firm tug.



Chapter 4
D for Drinking Fountain

By Mama Baer


The most wond'rous fountain I know
stands ready; it's not just for show.
The water's ice-cold,
it's better than gold,
get free drinks while you weed and mow!


Author Notes A drinking fountain limerick in honor of the wonderful fountain my parents built from river rocks.

Chapter 5
E for Engaged in the Family Room

By Mama Baer


As I walk through the downstairs fam'ly room
I'm wearing my fav'rite green sweater dress,
at least, in my mem'ry. Love's in full bloom.
A ring box wrapped up was easy to guess.
Valentine's night was perfection. No less.
The limo; the fanciest place in town;
your roommates in tuxes helped it go down.
You wore your brown suit. It went by too fast.
Table for two after being downtown
right here, in this room, I said "yes" at last!


Author Notes I thought he forgot what day it was. My boyfriend had not invited me on a Valentine's date. For consolation, I went with my family to deliver a treat to my grandparents. Unbeknownst to me, they were all in on the surprise. James picked me up in a limo at my grandparents' home. Mom had taken my dress to Grandma's. I quickly changed. The fancy restaurant agreed to allow his two roommates to wait our table. After a romantic dinner, we were escorted back to my parents house where a cozy table for two and dessert awaited us near a warm fireplace. The rest is history. Forty-one years ago!

Dizain poetry: 10 lines, 10 syllables each, ababbccdcdc

Chapter 6
F is the Fireplace

By Mama Baer


Freezing cold

most of the time,

with goose bumps

I gravitate

to the heat,

pop and crackle,

toasty warm from my hearth seat.


Author Notes I will miss that spot on the marble hearth.

Whitney, 3-4-3-4-3-4-7 scheme

Chapter 7
F is for the Flagpole

By Mama Baer


My grandpa started the flagpole craze.
Before we knew, we had one, too,
in the flower bed out front.
At fifteen feet tall, it's
as straight as can be.
My fav'rite part?
The eagle
on the



Author Notes We bought Dad a new flag every year for his birthday. He faithfully took it inside every evening and in inclement weather.

Nonet - 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scheme

Chapter 8
G for Our Garden

By Mama Baer


Alone, I approach the white vinyl fence, ponderinG.

The venture in the northwest corner of the yard, the whole ideA,

was to balance function, purpose, and beauty; a welcome wondeR

to all who passed under the arch in search of food. Serenity prevaileD.

Word reached rocks and weeds long since not to bother living herE.

And etched overhead, Dad's clapboard sign: "Time began in a gardeN."


Author Notes My parents' garden, when I was a teen, encompassed the entire north side of our yard. Its dual purposes were to one, feed us, and two, teach us responsibility and hard work. Over the years, the garden shrunk in size but grew in beauty and elegance. Now, as we say goodbye to five glorious thornless blackberry bushes and eight stunning raised brick beds that grew homemade salsa ingredients, I wade through memories thick and lush.

I recently learned an acrostic poem can include the subject word vertically at the end of each line rather than at the beginning. I felt this style would be apropos since we have nearly reached the end of our time with our home.

Chapter 9
H for the Hill

By Mama Baer


We bought
the empty lot
from developers who
demolished an apple orchard.
But now,
folks don't know there was an old barn
at the end of our street
up on the hill.



Author Notes West of town, the land slopes up to a very large plateau, or hill as we call it. Grandview Hill. We had to move from our small home when I was 12 years old. The nearby hospital expanded and purchased our entire neighborhood. We moved to Grandview, a wonderful place to spend my teen years, though it is sad to think how many orchards were sacrificed for the sprawling neighborhoods that now adorn the Hill.

Chapter 10
I for Indoors

By Mama Baer


When there wasn't somewhere to be
like school, or work, or church,
I'd often choose to just stay home
and find a place to perch.

I'd study lessons, read a book,
or even do my chores.
Often, in fact, I preferred it.
I'd rather be indoors!


Author Notes I have always been a homebody. It is a bit pathetic to think about now, but on occasion, when friends would call, I would use the excuse my mom needed me to help with my younger brothers. I suppose that explains my need to compose 30 love letters to our family home!

Chapter 11
J is for Jars

By Mama Baer


n atmosphere of peace it bears;
no cares found in this room.
We will consume juice, salsa, pears;
we won't face any doom.
Mom's always been our "faithful ant."
Aesop's fable,
lids are labeled,
food for table,
we'll be stable.
Able to eat, we're jubilant!


Author Notes One of my favorite spots was our food storage room in the basement. My parents made sure we knew the story of The Grasshopper and The Ant (Aesop's Fables) and modeled, as it were, ant living. Every fall, at harvest, we helped fill dozens of jars with fruit, veggies, and juices. The room was cool, clean, orderly, and full of security . . . all bottled up!

Shout out to Helen for sharing Dolly's Chime Operandi format! What fun to practice.
x x x x x x x a
x a x x x b
x x x b x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x x x c
x x x d
x x x d
x x x d
x x x d
x d x x x x x c

Chapter 12
K is for Kitchen

By Mama Baer


experts pen,
is a place where
mundane gives way, again
and again, to the sacred. There
we talked, laughed, learned, and repaired every care.
At Christmas, Dad's big hands red from the measured way
he pulled Mom's hot taffy (best treat to share)!
Homework on bar stools, standard fare
most nights 'til after ten.
Love, kitchen chair,
safe haven.
Find Zen.


Author Notes Miriam Weinstein, author of "The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier and Happier," said of suppertime, "Supper is about intention and consistency. It is about prevention and repair. Use the occasion to talk and to listen. Just come home." Another favorite quote: "The mundane gives us access to the sacred. The sacred informs and enriches the mundane."

Our kitchen was the most lived-in room of the house and countless memories revolve around it.

I decided to try my hand at a Diatelle:

The syllable count is: 1-2-3-4-6-8-10-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1,
The rhyme pattern is: abbcbccaccbcbba.

Chapter 13
L for Living Room

By Mama Baer


Our living room we all adore
just to the right of the front door.
The big mirror added to the view;
the comfy leather couches, too,
made pleasant visits, to be sure.

Furniture fanciness was more!
Mom's curio sat on the floor
and housed spheres--green, pink, brown, and blue.
Our living room.

Piano practice! I got sore
from sitting; music lessons pore.
Nat'l Geographics accrue.
Dates and comp'ny we bid adieu.
More serious talks at the core;
our living room.


Author Notes Here's my first try at a Rondeau! A Rondeau often has fifteen octo- lines with three stanzas. It usually only has two rhymes used in the poem.

A word or words from the first part of the first line are used as a refrain ending the second and third stanzas. The rhyme scheme is aabba aabR aabbaR.

Chapter 14
M for Microwave (our first one!)

By Mama Baer


Once, in mid-1970
(on the day before Mother's Day),
Dad asked me to drive and pick up
Mom's gift. It was on layaway.

"But wait! Here's the thing," Dad whispered,
"I don't want Mom to know. So, just
take it to Grandma's 'til morning.
To surprise your mom is a must!"

"No problem, Dad," I whispered back.
"I got this!" and hopped in our Bug.
Though I knew the box would be big,
it should fit, though ever so snug.

I was excited 'cuz the gift
Dad bought was something new, for sure.
That box WAS big; it barely fit
with little room to shut the door.

I carefully drove to Grandma's
only to find she wasn't home.
I waited a while, still nothing,
then decided t'ward home to roam

so I could ask Dad for Plan B.
I didn't want to spoil the fun.
To my dismay, Mom was outside!
She saw her gift riding shotgun!

Oh no! I ruined Dad's well-laid
plan. But here's the reas'ning I gave:
"Sorry, Dad, but it's hard to hide
a big box labeled, 'Microwave.'"


Author Notes ...and that is how we got our very first microwave. It was huge compared to the sleek models available today, but oh, was it a wonder to us!

Chapter 15
N for Nectarines

By Mama Baer


Pink blossoms

escape the frost.

Crop grows, we

prop up branches.

Early fall


Nectarines. Fruit of the Gods!


Author Notes My parents' homegrown nectarines were soooo much juicier and flavorful than store bought!

Chapter 16
O for Pati-O

By Mama Baer


Swinging bench for two
a peaceful backyard
soothing crickets chirp
summer day winds down;
those darn mosquitoes.

Dad and Mom made plans;
pesky bugs no more.
Enclosed is the space;
now windows abound
on the patio.


Author Notes As our family grew over the years, Mom and Dad wanted to create a more livable year-round space. So, when Dad retired, they turned the patio into an outdoor sunroom. We still had lovely late-night talks to cricket serenades, but no mosquitoes!

Thanks to JuliaSJames for her cinquain tanka and the shout out to Gypsy Blue Rose for creating this new form. Mine is also a cinquain tanka pair. Syllable count 5/5/5/5/5

Chapter 17
P for Pebble Path

By Mama Baer


inding its way across the lawn,
                                                                                            cobblestone path to walk on.


Author Notes Mom and Dad created this dreamy little path to match the drinking fountain. Wish I could transport it to my own home!

Chapter 18
Q for Quail

By Mama Baer


One summer a family of quail

laid their eggs near the garden rail.

The chicks were too small

to hop past the wall.

Dad fashioned a ramp; quite the tale!



Author Notes Mom had been watching the quail from the kitchen window all spring, and when the chicks hatched, they could not hop up the retaining wall. She had Dad figure out a ramp of sorts with wood. Soon, all the babies could follow their parents to find a wider selection of food.

Chapter 19
R for my Room

By Mama Baer


My room

twin beds

straight upstairs, end of the hall

messy sis, my own side clean

shag carpet

hanging plants

welcome reprieve


Author Notes I didn't always love sharing a room with my younger sister, but we had some good chats and read each other chapters of Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" books. Often I fell asleep on my knees saying nightly prayers. Summertimes were hot with only a swamp cooler in the hall. Once, my boyfriend threw pennies at my window to get me to come outside. Lots of memories.

2 words
2 words
6 words
6 words
2 words
2 words
2 words

Chapter 20
S for the Study

By Mama Baer


small, this
room brimmed with
purpose. Green shelves

they designed and built
defined Mom's sewing nook
where she worked for hours on end;
the brown Singer machine humming
near fabric bolts, threads, patterns, and pins
as she gave life to our fam'ly wardrobe.
Opposite the stitching hub, Dad's shelves, too,
housed supplies for his craft: books, paper,
pens, typewriter, and erasers.
I typed many a paper
after pep talks from Dad
extolling virtues
of hard work and,
when all else
fails, "butt


Author Notes With five children, my parents utilized every inch of space in our home. The dark green shelving unit Dad built divided the room we equally referred to as our sewing room and study. Mom was an exceptional seamstress and made literally everything I wore until I was in high school. Even then she sewed my drill team outfits and long dresses for dances. She made my wedding dress! In the '60s and '70s, there were many fabric stores. At the beginning of the school year, our annual outing was selecting fabrics and patterns for our wardrobes.

Dad was a university professor and author. Aside from the hum of the sewing machine, his half of the room was my quiet retreat when papers were due. Often I got stuck, with little motivation to finish. I complained the assignment was too hard. I can hear Dad's lecture still: "When all else fails," he advised, "get out your butt glue and stay in that chair until your paper is written!" Ah, Dad. It was good advice, then and now!

Chapter 21
T for Telephone

By Mama Baer


When we moved into our new home
we had a mustard-yellow phone
and, like most other folks in town,
all of us had the same ringtone.

Our yellow phone, in many ways,
was front and center of it all.
My parents had it mounted on
the middle of the kitchen wall!

So, when a phone call came our way,
or when we placed one going out,
we talked while we were tethered there
and none of us could walk about.

Phone calls to friends for hours on end
of things that happened during school.
We chatted about our homework
and the boys that we thought were cool.

Mom often whispered, "Cut it short!
Your dad is expecting a call."
Our conversations had to end
while I leaned there against the wall.

And sometimes, when there was a beau
on the other end of the line,
I'd try to escape Mom's earshot.
For a phone in my room, I'd pine!

I inched myself further away
while reveling in my beau's voice,
the coiled cord trailed along, too.
It didn't really have much choice.

That yellow cord, when it was new,
was prob'ly about five feet long
but stretched and yanked, day after day,
the coils grew limp and hung all wrong.

We'd never heard the term "landline;"
an iPhone now fits in my purse.
I miss those days of yesteryear.
Technology's sometimes a curse!



Author Notes I realize nostalgia often clouds my memory. If I could go back in time, I would surely miss my iPhone, Google, and GPS, and those long, stretched, tangled phone cords were a nuisance! Seriously--how did we ever communicate or find directions? LOL

Chapter 22
U for Under the Counter

By Mama Baer


We thought we were fancy feeding it

wads of dirty clothes or smelly

socks, or underwear. Maid-like,

it saved us trips downstairs

and guided our clothes

(and a few toys)

down below.





Author Notes Poor Mom! She usually took care of the heaps of laundry that piled up endlessly in the hamper underneath and often found stray toys in the mess. What fun for little brothers--and later grandchildren--to tease each other!

Chapter 23
V for the Vineyard

By Mama Baer


gnarly twisted trunks

tethered outstretched arms give life

crimson juice-filled fruit



Author Notes I thought of Dad as I pruned the eight grape plants for the last time a few weeks ago. That's what he would have done to prepare the beautiful spot for the new owners. As I pulled weeds on the brick path under the arbor, I did keep my eyes peeled for garden snakes, though! They have been known to love it in that shade, too. I have my own grape vineyard now--seedless Concords. We carry on the tradition and, every harvest, steam over six dozen quarts of juice. In fact, I am sipping on a glass right now!

Chapter 24
W for Weeping Birch

By Mama Baer


branches slender
looks wise and all-knowing
leaves adorn, they're soft and tender
shade to my bedroom they gently render
an illusion I lived in a treehouse each day
graceful white trunk aglow in its splendor
fond memories will engender
gentle breezes blowing
we'll surrender
time's slowing



Author Notes A love poem for our weeping birch tree, its lovely drooping arms, and majestic white trunk--the kind that invites carved initials (though none ever were).

I hope the Diatelle form lends the beauty I tried to convey without seeming too forced. My mom is closing on her home next week. Now new owners can make memories with that beautiful front yard birch tree, with a life span of 50 years. 11 to go!

The syllable count is: 1-2-3-4-6-8-10-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1
The rhyme pattern is: abbcbccaccbcbba.

Chapter 25
W is the Woodpecker

By Mama Baer


Summer morn, right at dawn, sleep’s yanked, dreams leave.
Hear him go, with a yawn, under our eave.
Peck, peck! Peck, peck! At it again.
Carving a nest? Sculpting a den?
Perched there with no regard for time or grace,
peck, pecks away like he owns the place!

With a beak for a drill, he strikes our wood.
I plug my ears. The shrill rhythm's not good!
Knock, knock! Knock knock! is all I hear
but still, for me, one thing's not clear:
Doesn't his rat-a-tat, for goodness sake,
knock, knock his head with a massive headache?


Author Notes Silly old woodpecker! He did a lot of damage to the side of our home and pecked just outside my bedroom wall nearly every summer. Fun fact: woodpeckers can live 11 years.

I thought it would be fitting to compose this as a Staccato.

The Staccato, created by Jan Turner, consists of two or more 6-line stanzas.
Rhyme scheme: aabbcc
Meter: 10/10/8/8/10/10
Repeats: This form requires a 2-syllable repeat in Lines 3 and 6, and rhyming interplay in Lines 1 and 2 on the 6th syllable.

So much fun!

Chapter 26
X for the Xyst

By Mama Baer


Though you're not lined with arched green trees,
your roof protects us from the breeze.
Covered walkway (or a xyst),
here are reasons you exist:
perfect for the camping stove,
sort of like a little cove.
Though you're not lined with arched green trees,
your roof protects us from the breeze!



Author Notes We often used our breezeway between the shop and the house to set up the camping stove to do our canning at harvest time.

Thanks to lyenochka for Chapter 229 in her book of words for teaching us the word 'xyst' and to Katherine Kean for suggesting I use it! (In case you missed it, a xyst, pronounced 'zist,' is a covered portico or garden walk lined with trees.)

This poetry form is an Octelle, created by Emily Romano.
The Octelle has eight lines. It uses personification and symbolism in a telling manner.
The syllable count is 8, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8
The rhyme scheme is aa - bb - cc - aa.
The first two lines and the last two lines are identical.

Image courtesy of

Chapter 27
X for X-traordinary Christmases

By Mama Baer


Craving homemade buttermints and fudge
House decked and cozy
Reciting Dad’s Christmas stories
Inclined to stay in
Straightest strings of lights on eaves
Trips to neighbors, stealth-style
Mom’s touch everywhere
Anticipating the village and train
Searching for perfect gifts
Enjoying time together
Star atop flagpole



Author Notes My parents really put their heart and soul into Christmastime. Dad was a gifted writer and composed a new Christmas story each year. He still had the boyhood train set he received circa 1945, and Mom collected Christmas villages. It was magical.

Chapter 28
Y for Yellow Wallpaper

By Mama Baer


You wanted it perfect; the house just right
the very last thing on your long list
said it wouldn't take long at all
you sent me to bed and then
you stayed up and glued the
yellow wallpaper
with daisies to
our northern


Author Notes It's true. My mother stayed up most of the night before my wedding day to hang wallpaper in the kitchen! Since our reception was in our backyard, guests would be served from the kitchen. She still runs circles around me with her many projects!

Chapter 29
Z for Zipping It Up

By Mama Baer


Took just four days; the deed was done.
Mom found someone.
I cried inside.

She told us all she prayed them there.
That lucky pair.
It's quite a deal;
in fact, a steal!

My mem'ries they will never know.
Away we go.
Turned in my key.



Author Notes Mom no sooner stuck the For Sale sign in the front lawn than someone drove by and told their kids about it. The young couple will relocate from a few hours away to take a nearby job. They are ecstatic; so is Mom.

I found this poetry form that seemed suitable for the occasion:

The Minute Poem is a 60-syllable verse form, one syllable for each second in a minute. The theme should be an event that is over and done completely, as in a minute. It was created by Verna Lee Hinegardner, once poet laureate of Arkansas.
It is written as three stanzas with syllables of 8/4/4/4.
The rhyme pattern is aabb ccdd eeff (aabbccddeeff)
Iambic meter.

Chapter 30

By Mama Baer

An Epilogue


My parents bought this home so long ago
it all went by so fast, or so it seems.
Five kids, one dog, some cats, seem now like dreams
but mem’ries are replete and overflow.
We filled the yard, the rooms, with love and life.
The grandkids and the greats remember, too.
And now, the hands of time we can’t undo.
Dad died; home sold to lessen Mother’s strife.
Now change is nigh. I fight to hold back tears.
New feet out on the porch and pebble path
and different clothes will ride the laundry chute. 
It’s good to see Mom happy. My heart cheers.
Head clearer now, I see in aftermath,
these mem’ries serve me as a substitute!



Author Notes Thank you so much for joining me on this final tour of my family home. My mother told my siblings and me early on that, to avoid drama, she would not sell to any family member. So, here we are. It was therapeutic for me to record my memories, try my hand at some fun poetry forms, and be cheered on by so many of you.

Here's to moving forward.

I learned so much about sonnets and tried my best.

Originating in Italy, the sonnet comes from the Italian word sonetto, meaning "little song" or "little sound." The oldest known sonnet form was invented by Italian poet Francesco Petrach in the 14th century. Called the Petrarchan or Italian sonnet, this sonnet structure consists of first an octave (eight lines of verse in iambic pentameter) and then a sestet (six lines). The rhyme scheme is abba abba; the rhyme scheme in the sestet can vary a little but is typically cde cde or cdc dcd.

In terms of themes, these days sonnets are most often associated with themes of love and romance, though topics such as death, time, and faith are not uncommon.

In a sonnet, the volta is the turn of thought or argument: in Petrarchan or Italian sonnets it occurs between the octave and the sestet.

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