Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Joanne's Poem - In Memoriam

Joanne Lykken Stockwell died of T-cell lymphoma on May 8, the day before Mother's Day, at the New Orleans home of her daughter Sarah. She and I both graduated from Edina Morningside High School in Minnesota in 1959, but I didn't really know Joanne until last year when I was trying to collect photos and biographies from classmates for our reunion book that would be published for our 50th Reunion in October 2009.

Joanne balked at writing a page of biography "that quite resembles an obituary" -- she was a poet and in the end submitted the poem below for her page, although she wrote to me: " My poems are never 'finished' and so I will resist the urge to make this one flow more smoothly, since it says what I want it to. ...As Popeye says, 'I yam what I yam!'"

She also wrote "I don't know WHY you like the picture of me with uncombed hair, piled up with dog, chid, quilts and all, but it is also one of my 'joys' so you are welcome to it!"

Joanne really was looking forward to attending the 50th Reunion, but in the end, she was not well enough. I'm reprinting her poem below and the photograph of her with her granddaughter and her beloved dog, Mr. Ferguson.

Her page was one of the most interesting in the book and with it she has left us a fine legacy--a reminder to stop now and then to tote up the simple joys in life that are, in the end, the most important gifts we have.


It's not so much what I have done,
But in the end,
What I've become!
This is not in my resumé,
I think you must agree
Unless your interest only lies
With well advanced degrees!
The idea is
Exceedingly contrary,
To send a page that quite resembles
My obituary!
I cannot write a page
Extolling "wondrous
High School years."
They were a mess,
I must confess,
And brought me naught but tears!
So once again, to you I offer
The personal joys
Within my coffer:
Daffodils in Spring
Dahlia in the fall
Working in the garden
Walking in the woods
The sound of water over rocks
Chipmunks chatter
Warblers call
Anchovies in a Caesar Salad
Making oysters "Rockafeller"
Chocolate Cake
Friends I have had since I was five
A winter storm
A fireplace
Dogwood in Spring
Maple in Fall
The sound of the Ocean
No sound at all
One loyal dog
A nest of Carolina wren
And may you all stay well and strong
Filled with the music of life's song,
Until we meet again.

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