January 28, 2006

pictures of John Francis FitzGerald

Please e-mail me any additional pictures you have of him. If a particular picture should go with a particular poem let me know, or if you have something new to post, include that too.

Dad, thanks for these pictures you sent.

please feel free to comment,
just click below on

April 27, 2003

introduction by son and grandson

A green hard cover AnythingBook™ decorated with white and gold Celtic knots, is filled halfway with exactly thirty poems composed by John FitzGerald, my father's father. All the poems were handwritten by his wife and widow, Roberta FitzGerald, my father's mother. Twenty-seven were titled, the other three remain partially untitled. The first poem is dated 1936, one of the few dated poems in this book.

Some of this amateur poetry is great. I had good loud laughs from many of them, and an increased understanding of my grandfather aswell. Several of the poems I cannot understand, from references and from handwriting. Names and locations are the most difficult. They are typed here as they were written, with the only changes being corrections in spelling. If you have any corrections or suggestions, I'm happy to hear or read them.

I recall several occasions I met him. I did not know him well. I was thirteen years old when he died. I asked my father, Dr. Leland Joseph FitzGerald, about his father and he wrote:

He was John Francis FitzGerald, son of James Patrick FitzGerald and
Lulu Ryan (both of Batavia, New York). He was born on June 11, 1918 in Geneva, New York and died here in San Diego several days before his 70th birthday in 1989. His dad, James known as Big Jim, was a wealthy businessman who owned several blocks of downtown property in Geneva, a clothing store, bars, fighters/boxers.

John went to Notre Dame University majoring in journalism, but dropped out following his mother's death. He struggled as a salesman, raising four children and seeking a better life in California, Arizona, and parts unknown. He was very proud of his children and impressed upon them at a very young age about the importance of a college education.
Leo and Ryan at Windansea (2000)

January 27, 1990

His Decision

A terrific boom, the earth shook
Four hundred little ones the disaster took.
As their mangled bodies amid the rocks, dirt and rafters lay,
We cannot help but know they are with Him this day.
So lonely mothers don't weep in vain
As you wander in the cold and rain;
Your precious little ones have a permanent place
Away from many a licentious race.
Their hearts are contented while they play and wait
For their mothers and dads near the Golden State.

The Man in the Mirror

When you've got what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to your mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that person has to say.
For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
He's the one that counts never mind all the rest
For he's with you right straight there to the end
And you've passed your most dangerous difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.


In this lovely wooded haven;
It's such a pleasure to be,
In our beautiful cabin with a dock and boat covered sea.
Dawn by the Mammoth Rock as this place is aptly called.
We found a gorgeous haven, my loving wife,
And where we look out at the beautiful stars
and moon simmering across the sea.
We are so happy and contented in this haven by the sea.
That we wish you all could be with us here through all eternity.
John and Roberta

My Baby Bambi

A saw a little fawn today
She ran into my yard to play,
Tasted the leaves and kinda peeked my way.
She was real perky, had a cute white waggly tail,
Brown body on both sides and pointed little ears.
She was cute as a button and had you almost in tears.
I know her eyes darted up from her shy pointed nose
But she was ready to scamper right down to the tricky little toes
So maybe she'll be looking for her fawn mother cause
dads are always passing the buck
So God willing I'll get to see her another year when she's a bigger girl
If she can escape some deer hunter's gun.

Wake Up America

It is never too late
There are miles to go before we sleep
In the tradition of the great J.F.K., Bobby and the rest
We should never give up the ship
We've only begun to fight
Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead
Speak softly but carry a big stick
The winners are the quickest of the quick
George Washington taught us that and Honest Abe too.
So don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes
We've chased 'em through the rambles and bushes before
and can do it again.
And Winnie Churchill plus F.D.R. and then General Patton followed them.
So be prepared,
Let Peace on Earth be to all.
Men of Good Will and the Love of God and Humanity,
Adios, senors and senoritas…


I have beautiful remembrances of taking you to the mountain top
Covered with snow and then far down below even down in caves
So true there were peaks and valleys in our life but weren't they great?
Yes, I have these remembrances and what have you
of regrets, remorse, or disdain.
Or have you learned me to love me or has it all been in vain?
I'll never know, so someday the one who judges us all may tell me the truth
And then we'll all know for soothe.

Fiesta Del Pacifico

If you're a vacationer and you'd like to know where to go
Head for San Diego to the Del Pacifico,
Whether you're in costume or just wear a smile
You'll find a friendly welcome and be right in style.
We have sites of interest by the score,
Balboa Park, the zoo, and the ocean shore,
Reasonable night clubs, food and the modern store.
We even got an outside elevator,
The Fiesta, she is getting better
This year we've even got Art Linkletter.
If you're a vacationer now you know where to go.
Just come to San Diego to our Del Pacifico.

The Hygienist

Hygienist, in your dental chair
I sit without a single care
Except when tickled by your hair,
And when you do to prep the drills
I never fear the pain that kills.
You make my molar clean
With tastes of wintergreen,
So I lean back in calm reflection,
With close up views of your complexion,
And taste the flavor of your thumb
As you massage my flabby gums.
To me no lady could be smarter,
Than she who scrapes away my tartar,
And none more fitted for my bride,
Than she who knows me from inside.
At least so far as she has gotten,
She knows how much of me is rotten.

Ode to an Unborn Baby by an Expectant Father

Stay in there, little man,
Stay in there as long as you can,
Cause we've been out here years and years
And all you have in store is sweat and tears.
So stay in there, little man
Stay in there as long as you can,
For we know what it's all about
If it's not the croup you'll have it'll be the gout.
You're not hunting snipers in some distant desolate hall
You're dwelling safely inside your protectors walls,
So stay in there, little man
Stay in there as long as you can,
Although we'd miss you very much
That is your cooing, cuddling and such
We don't want to have to say
That we told you so someday
For if we who've been out here are not careful
Later of dictators you'll have a hair full
So stay in there, little man
Stay in there as long as you can.

Little Baby Boy Lost in the Ghetto

As Elvis would say
It happened only yesterday,
Jan 13th, 1981
A tiny newborn was abandoned
In an alley in zero degrees.
His parents didn't want him
They left him to die
Some good Samaritan ladies took pity,
Gave mouth to mouth resuscitation
Called an ambulance and he lives today.


Heavenly angles they surely are
As though their abode was heighth a star [?]
Grab a mop, get a pan
Whether it's a little boy or a big fat man
A Saint Ann fought the plague on an island
And some fight epilepsy
Couldn't you love 'em to death
Not hard to try.

untitled nature poem

Animals, beavers, wasps sting and fuzzy caterpillars
Which turn into spiders in their web
Which even later become beautiful butterflies
Beavers cut up logs with teeth, make dams and form lakes,
Whereby deer, elks, moose and even frogs live in all compatibility
Why can't man—
God's decision to create fish and birds first before man.
Why must mankind go on polluting the environment?

Watkin's Glen

The abundance of water streaming down,
Makes me feel like a foolish clown,
Of course Roberta's here and slows me down,
But the rocks are magnificent,
And the foliage so red, pink and yellow.
It almost takes the heart out of a fellow.

Sales Resistance

You can tell me my neighbor across the street bought it;
That Life would be better for me if I got it
You can say that there's certainly no doubt about it
I just can't afford to be caught dead without it!
You may add it's not sold in a shop or a store—
But you won't get your foot, Mr. Man, in my door!
I'm a housewife who's practical, prudent, and sensible—
The product you're selling is not indispensable!
I'm wary of salesmen who tell me today
No money down and two years to pay!
Installment plan buying is just not for me—
So leave me your card. But I'm busy, you see.
What's that? It's a bargain this month if I buy it?
Well now—let me see—do you mind if I try it?
This product you're selling might be a sensation;
Why yes, you can give me a short demonstration.
A bonus for buying it now? Oh indeed!
A nice hostess gift? Why it's just what I need!
Come in, and I'll write the amount that you tell me—
Well, how in the world did you manage to sell me?

Mary Catherine FitzGerald Orr

Mary Catherine is our pride and joy,
When she came along we needed no boy,
But Elaine is the fair, the lovable Lilly Maid of Actrolol. [?]
And Kevin too what a boy
He's going to be any mom's pride and joy.
Mary Catherine, John Patrick, and Leland Joseph

My Pals

Father Rice is so very nice
And Bob FitzGerald too
Outside forces have entered their life
And caused them both lots of strife.
One has a wife, the other not of course;
But I love them both although they're carrying their Trojan Horse.

Roberta and I on a Rainy September Day

Looking out from our window with the rain pitter-pattering down in a steady stream, we see a wonderland in our back yard we planted Christmas trees and ferns from the Adirondack Mountains and there are two large maple trees that sway in the breeze that the squirrels love to jump from one to another even walking the telephone lines. On our back porch we have what the blue jays think is a feeder box but it's lovely Roberta's plants around the side of the house she has planted tomatoes which have grown in abundance and we can use in all kinds of cooking for Roberta is a master chef so laugh and upturn your fond little faces and dance in the beat of the rain.

untitled sick poem

So you're sick of the way the country is run,
And you're sick of the rationing that is done,
And you're sick of standing around in line,
You're sick, you say well that's just fine,
Yes, I'm sick of the sun and heat
And I'm sick of the feel of aching feet
And I'm sick of the mud and the jungle flies
And I'm sick of the stench when night mists rise,
And I'm sick of the sirens wailing shriek
And I'm sick of the groans of the wounded and the weak
And I'm sick of the sound of the bomber's dive,
And I'm sick of seeing the dead alive,
And I'm sick of the roar and noise and din,
And I'm sick of the taste of food from a tin,
And I'm sick of slaughter—I'm sick to my soul.
I'm sick of playing a killer's role
And I'm sick of blood and death and smell,
And I'm even sick of myself aswell
But I'm sicker still of a tyrant's rule.
And conquered lands where wild beasts drool.
And I'm cured damn quick when I think of the day,
When all the hell will be out of the way.
When none of their mess will have been in vain.
And the lights of the world will blaze again;
And things will be as they were before,
And kids will laugh in the streets once more,
And the America flag will be dipped and furled
And God looks down on a peaceful world.

Chinese Laundry in San Diego

Dedicated to Edith and Dale Bault

After work one fine day
I was whistling and singing along the way
Stopped off at my China Laundry for my shirts
And was told, "So solly, Cholly, no tickee, no washie.
Come back tomorrow with right tickee and me give right laundry."
So I argued but went whistling and singing along the way
To return the next day
With the right tickee
For right laundry.

The Hostages Are Back

The most eventful week in history has just occurred.
Around the world the occurrences were heard.

Lame duck President Jimmy Carter led the hostages out of Iran
To the tune of over 2 billion bucks

All 57 hostages are now relaxing at West Point with other bucks
They were captive for 466 days
But now all the yellow ribbons across the USA have come down.
President Regan was inaugurated
And Oakland humiliated Philadelphia
In the Super Bowl at New Orleans
All within one week.
Question should we retaliate against Iran?


She's my queen
She's short and squatly
I'm 6 feet tall and didn't know how we ever got together at all.
She loves all her children especially Mary Catherine and she loves me too,
And she's a trooper through and through.
Forty years we spent together
Neither one cheated on the other
Closely our religion we have followed no matter where we are.
Surely she deserves a metal and will be risen above the stars up to the Blessed Virgin Mary and I hope she takes me there too.
Now I have her in this beautiful haven beside the woods,
trees and glistening stars for we can swim and take a canoe
out beneath the moon and twinkling stars.
Steve, Leland, John, and Mary Catherine

Crossroads - Including Mary Catherine

Why after all these forty years
are you considering leaving me?
You must know I'm your benefactor and laborer
Otherwise you never would have chased me.


As we sit in this candlelit rendezvous,
My sweet loving heart of you.
For forty years we now miss our swimming fish in the water
But the music is lovely in these hallowed walls
But Roberta is still as lovely as she was sitting here with me.
The food and drinks are as fine as could be
As we renew our wedding vows here at the York Inn in Phelps
on 25 day of Feb 1981


Lovely Cedar Inn

High atop Bean's Hill a mile or so away,
As a lovely haven in distress a place so young gay,
My brother's son Billy's wife Yvonne walks there
As a lovely waitress her hair and figure so fair
Sitting beside Roberta and I
while we were eating our New England clam chowder
Was a table of very entertaining gentlemen of occupations diverse,
Went through their whole routine without having to rehearse
There's music and history at Ronnie Snyder's place
The spirit of Notre Dame seems to rock the place
The drinks are very reasonable
and you can smoke a good cigar or cigarette with impunity,
Where no one will bother you
So drink up and be merry and leave with a very nice feeling
to return another day.
The sun is shining outside and you feel like going out and rolling in the hay
Be sure to say adios to Steverino on the way out
Super bartender.

Mary Catherine

Why is she as sweet as she is
I know why, 'neath the California sky
Sunlight cured her "incurable leg situation"
I know why she can cook, play tennis and reach the sky,
She's one of God's chosen people and I know why,
We love her dearly her mother and I
And someday we'll all be together in that cloud in the sky
To Mary Catherine FitzGerald.

Mary Kay FitzGerald Orr

Mary Catherine is a beaut,
She's got the best kids that ever came down the chute.
Of course there's Johnnie, Leo and Steve
Right up sleeve.
She's our first of the best
Much better than the rest
Kevin and Elaine are something else.
Top of mast or top of the shelf.
Fourth degree K of C.
Leo, Johnnie, and Mary Catherine

Stupid Cupid

Stupid Cupid, why did you match her up with me.
Stupid Cupid, right from the start
You forced me to marry an old fart.


I like to wander down the corridors of the mirror of your mind
And see what wonders there I can find
Are you stalemated there or running ahead or behind of your mind
One will see before the race is won
Whether you are going to even see if you're done.

untitled life advice

My father was going to plant me a money tree in the back of our house
Sometimes I think he thought I was a louse.
Because I laid on the couch a lot,
He thought that all my energy had gone to pot,
And he said he planned to build a mattress for my back
With a tennis racket in my hand and a radio beside,
Sometimes I thought he hated my hide.
But I realize now it was all for the good because he said
"Deal squarely with your fellow man to everyone be kind.
Look forth to bright and sunny years and never look behind."

"As you wander through life, my boy, no matter what your goal
Keep your eye on the donut not upon the hole."
Eventually I became a great tennis player through the notion.
Sorry he did not live to see but it will always live in my memory.
A swimmer and diver would have made him proud
to see me follow through to carry on the FitzGerald name
distantly related to John FitzGerald Kennedy.
Lulu Ryan and Big Jim FitzGerald

The Way to Live

There's a time to work,
There's a time to play,
Neither one can be altered in any way,
But always save time on the Sabbath to pray.