Betty Kaplan, US



Chapter 2 ( or is it 3)?

On April 1st, my 15th birthday, my father, four sisters and I moved from Springfield, Mass. to Brighton Beach, New York.

On that very day, I met Norm, a young man who would eventually change my life. We were later happily married and lived as one. In the early years, I devoted myself to raising two daughters Ellen and Jayne. Later on our careers intermingled. He became a sportswear buyer and I managed a retail women's fashion store.

My girls became lawyers and took on productive lives of their own. Jayne lives in California and Ellen now resides in Northern Florida.

My husband and I moved to Florida when we retired. His passion was golf and I became a "golf widow." My sister, Ruth who was a great artist, introduced me to watercolor painting. Low and behold, I discovered a hidden talent. Finding this fascinating, I took some courses at Florida International University. There I learned the technique of painting wet on wet. The Red Mountains are an example of what can happen when you throw some paint on a wet drawing paper.

Some of my favorite paintings are The Lion, The Cat, My Blue Apples, and a painting taken from a photo while on a trip to Hawaii. The Lion hangs in my great-grandson Zac's bedroom while The Cat hangs in the bedroom of my great-grand-daughter Zoe.

When my husband passed away - what was I to do? Part of me went with him.

now in a small box
the ring that hugged my fingeró
autumn deepens

My daughters were instrumental in encouraging me to study haiku as a way to overcome my loneliness. Haiku taxes your memory and makes you look at life through different eyes. Haiku has become a pleasure. I have become quite adept at this. I have been published in many journals: Lynx, Frogpond, Hermitage, South by Southeast and American Tanka.

Getting involved in collaborative writing is a joy and a great way to develop new friendships. Although I have never actually met many of my cyber friends, I feel I know and love them. I am so grateful to have found these exciting activities. Thanks to my dear sister and my dear daughters. They have added a new dimension to my life.

Betty Kaplan



How I Learned About Haiku

I was out to dinner with my daughter Ellen. She said, "mother, I would like to send you on a cruise. The single women on my cruise seemed to have a good time."

I answered, "yes, but after the cruise, everyone goes their own way."

"Would you like a computer?"

"Yes, I would."

"What will you do with it?"

"I don't know. Let's see..."

So, she sent me a computer.

At first I tried the chat rooms. Boring! But I did meet a woman Adele. Adele was into poetry. She sent me to a haiku site. When I told my daughter Jayne, she promptly sent me two wonderful books. The Essential Haiku Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa by Robert Hass and Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac by William J. Higginson.

At the haiku site I saw the name Francine Porad who I had seen in one of the books. I took the liberty of writing to her. She was just wonderful. I would send her my poems and she would say, "no, these are prayers, not haiku." The poems went back and forth. Finally, I sent her my first haiku.

grandson cuts coupons
from Toys -R- Us catalogue
letter to santa

And Francine answered, "Now you have it."

I shall always remember Francine Porad. She was my mentor and I will miss her. Francine died this year.

And Adele never did learn to write haiku.

peep peep
breaking out of the shell
a baby robin


View the Water Colors



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