A Secret Wish: Morphing into Gidget!



A post by poet Barbara Crooker:

Barbara writes:

This poem came from a prompt, which was to imagine that you were suddenly an expert in anything you wanted, that this talent magically was yours. 

I’d always loved those Gidget movies (and books), and so this was (and still is) my desire. Even when younger, I wasn’t very athletic, so this has been my secret wish for years and years. Think “transformation into Cameron Diaz!”  Of course, I’m referencing Keats’s epitaph at the end.



I’m walking on the beach this brisk November morning,

the bleached sea grass bending in the wind, when there,

up ahead, in the pewter waves, I see a surfer in his wet suit,

sleek as a seal, cutting in and out of the curl, shining in the light.

I’m on the far side of sixty, athletic as a sofa, but this is where

the longing starts, the yearning for another life, the one

where I’m lithe and long-limbed, tanned California gold,

short tousled hair full of sunshine.  The life where I shoulder my board,

stride into the waves, dive under the breakers, and rise; my head shaking

off water like a golden retriever.  I am waiting for that perfect wave to come,

so I can crouch up and catch it, my arms out like wings, slicing back

and forth in the froth, wind at my back, sea’s slick metal polished

before me.  Nothing more important now than this balance between

water and air, the rhythm of in and out, staying ahead of the break,

choosing my line like I choose these words, writing my name

on water, writing my name on air.

~Barbara Crooker (More, C&R Press, 2010)



Barbara Crooker’s poems  have appeared in magazines such as The Green Mountains ReviewPoet Lore, The Hollins CriticThe Christian Science MonitorNimrod and anthologies such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature.  Her awards include the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, fifteen residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a residency at the Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France; and a residency at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland.

Her books are Radiance, which won the 2005 Word Press First Book competition and was a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance (Word Press 2008), which won the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press 2010), and Gold (Cascade Books, 2013). Her poetry has been read on the BBC, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company), and by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and she’s read in the Poetry at Noon series at the Library of Congress.

“Surfer Girl” is from Barbara’s collection, More. Here’s the Amazon link.



Check out Barbara’s website here.

And here are links to two more posts featuring Barbara’s poems Peeps and Nearing Menopause, I run into Elvis at Shoprite.

Gidget! The character first came to life in a novel by Frederick Kohner. Gidget is based on the author’s daughter.


The Gidget you see above is Sandra Dee, standing with Cliff Robertson and James Darren in the 1959 film.

And of course, Sally Field played the part with gusto in the 1960s television show.


Grandchildren, Grandmother, Menopause

The Bouncing Ball of Menopause


Child psychologists say a baby learns

When you drop a bouncing ball,

The ball bounces back up.

Babies, smarter sometimes than grownups,

Know that life has its ups and downs,

And after the down, almost always comes an up!

Some of those ups and downs, if you’re a woman of a certain age, are the moody woes of menopause.

Telling yourself that the ups will come back really is helpful.

If this doesn’t work, try chocolate, a brisk walk, and more chocolate.

Frog: The Frog, name unknown to this grandma, was a baby shower gift of guest blogger Judy Ackley Brown, who writes in this post about rainy days and life.

Chocolate:  Make that a tiny bit, each time. Menopause pounds are a real downer.

Poet (of sorts) :  Me. I’ve been having fun keeping up with current thinking in child development from Kath,  creator of Baby Eats Real Food.

The baby: My grandson Mazen, usually upbeat!


The Friend for the Ride Menopausal Poets

In September, poet Jane Yolen sent me a menopause poem to share with Friend for the Ride.  You can read the poem, “I Didn’t Mean to Mourn,”  here.

At the end of the post, I asked you to write your own poem about menopause, especially the cessation of periods.  Four readers sent in poetic reflections on their experiences with The Great Pause.  Here are their poems!

Bittersweet Goodbye by Judy Brown

not quite finished

but seeing the end

love and hate

aren’t all friendships

as complicated

so a sweet goodbye

and not so fond memories

but my most precious gifts in life

bestowed from this affair

a dear friend on a journey

who will be with me now.

Pausing by Cindy Stevens

pausing to give thanks

I was given the joy

of birthing our beautiful children

pausing to give thanks

for my infinite emotions

occasionally high

on occasion low

typically moderate

and colourful now and again

pausing to give thanks

my life still holds excitement

and promise

now that I have paused

I give thanks

Meno-hope by Lisa Flinn

Yes menopause

Brings out my flaws

In memory, mood, and shape.

I’m often forgetful,

First sunny, then tearful

And I hate the measuring tape!

When The Change is done

Out I’ll come

Like a butterfly on the wing.
Fresh views, bright goals,

More grace, more soul,

Giving each day some zing!

Good Riddance by Mary B. Cunningham

Good riddance to you

I don’t mourn you at all

You were never my friend!

Photo:  I found this photo by doing a google search for “Poets.”   The link is here and will take you to a poetry contest sponsored by the English Association of the University of Leicester in England.  They’re now taking entries for the 2012 contest.  Entry, anyone?

WINNER!  The lucky winner of the Lucky Red Envelope is lucky Susan B!  The Dragon says,  Congratulations, Lucky One!”

Celebrations, Life

A Cautionary Christmas Tree Tale

A holiday poem written by yours truly, titled “The Year the Christmas Tree Fell Over.”

We spent hours that year

Setting the tree in the stand,

Stringing lights,

Looping beads,

And hanging ornaments

One by one.

When the children came running

“The tree fell over!”

I thought they were teasing

Until I saw tears.

Continue reading “A Cautionary Christmas Tree Tale”

Aging, Menopause, No More Periods, Periods

I Didn’t Mean to Mourn

Writer Jane Yolen graciously offered to share this poem with Friend for the Ride:

                                                  The Last Time

I didn’t mean to mourn,

I meant to laugh,

But my bloodline

Dribbled away so slowly,

So silently,

I hardly noticed it had gone.

The biological clock having long since

Stopped ticking,

There was no alarm.

Only silence

And a kind of wistful death.

©2002 by Jane Yolen

If you had told me ten years ago that I would feel any sadness over the end of periods, I never would have believed you. No way!

Like Jane, I planned to laugh. I also planned to drink champagne and sing to the Period Goddess in the Sky, “See ya, sweetie.  I’m done!”  I did drink champagne, and I said my goodbyes to the Period Goddess.  (She’s the one who, sometimes, gives you a break and helps you NOT get your period on the cruise to the Bahamas.)

But I understand the “kind of wistful death” that Jane describes.  I feel it too.

Am I mourning  the college girl, long gone, who dealt with periods as she juggled research papers, boyfriend, and dorm conversations that ended in happy hysterics?   Am I missing the possibility of one more sweet baby?  Am I grieving for a body that amazed me because it could count the days?  Am I worrying about the body now, which certainly seems less efficient, and the one to come?

For those of you who are finished, what are your thoughts about no more periods?  Any sadness, or just glee?  And for those of you not there yet, any idea how you will feel?

In Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft, Jane gets to the heart of why we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard: “We write to know ourselves.”

And so a challenge for you:  Write your own period poem!  Please do.  Silly or serious or anywhere in between.  Or perhaps simply jot down some words that capture your thoughts about periods and/or not having periods anymore.

Be bold and brave!  You can even use red ink. 

Email your pieces to me, (BKYounger at, and I’ll gather them together for a fun, literary post on Friend for the Ride.  

You’re welcome to substitute a pen name for your real name or just send your first name. 

Thanks from me AND the Period Goddess, who loves to read poems on her favorite topic.

The Poem:  “The Last Time” is posted here by permission of the author. The poem was first published in Women.  Period.  Edited by Julia Watts, Parneshia Jones, Jo Ruby, and Elizabeth Slade.  Spinster’s Ink, 2002.

The Poet:  An opening page in Take Joy describes Jane Yolen as “America’s Hans Christian Andersen (Newsweek) and a modern-day Aesop (New York Times).”  You can learn more about her as well as follow her  insightful journal on her website,

Photo:  I used Take Joy by Jane Yolen (Writer’s Digest Books, 2006) in critical essays I wrote while studying for my MFA in Writing at Vermont College.  Now I read it to recharge my writing soul.  The cover illustration was done by Linda Holt  Ayriss.

Women. Period is a collection of poems, essays, and short stories about menstruation. The forward states that the book “celebrates both the diversity and the universality of the female experience.  We are many; we are one.”   The cover was designed by LA Callaghan.  (And that’s some cover!)