A brief history of her life. . . . . .
Our mother was born Dawn Gilbert, the second child of Roy and Fay Gilbert. The family lived on the west side of Chicago, in
Austin. Mom had an older sister Wanda (now deceased), and two younger brothers, Wayne (alive and well) and Dale (also
deceased).  She was born on February 28, 1930.  She went to Austin High School, where she met my father George
Stratton.  They married December 17, 1949, moved to an apartment owned by my grandfather Steven, and soon began
their family.  I was their first child and only blue-eyed one(!), Lynn, born on October 12, 1951. Three other children followed
quickly, Karyn on August 29, 1953, Suzanne on July 21, 1956 and finally, a son, Steven on November 19, 1958.  Our family
left the city and moved to Bellwood in 1962, then to "the house that George built" in Berkeley in 1967, where we stayed
until we all "grew up and left home".  I went to Junior College at Triton, then left to see the world, the other kids
graduated and went off to school elsewhere.

My sister Karyn and I then married, but the family was a bit scattered. With the birth of my daughter Danielle on January
16, 1978, the family "came back together again" as my parents used to say. My folks moved to another new home in Oak
Brook, built a large pool in the yard for "the kids", and nine other grandchildren followed five years after Danielle: Tatiana,
Amber, Michael, Taryn, Nick, George, Jimmy, Patricia and Billy.  We have had many wonderful years together as a family and
are all very close, along with many wonderful friends that are almost family to all of us.. We are now sharing the intense
grief over the loss of our Dawn, our Wife, Mother, Grandma, Sister, Aunt, Sister-In-Law, Cousin, Niece and Friend to so
very many. To give you an idea of her persona, when my mom first became ill, she received hundreds of get-well cards from
all over the country; she was loved by so many people. I keep them at my home.  We miss her voice, her laughter, her humor,
her face and everything about her.  I only pray that someday I can capture for the reader one zillionth of the woman that
was my mother.

On February 1st, 1998, my daughter Danielle had her first child, Demetrius Edward Barton, beginning a new generation
while Mom and I held her knees to her chest!  And how she cried at helping in the birth of her great-grandson Demetrius.

So, here we are.  Hang in there, Daddy.  I love you.  Our family is quite fortunate that we have many other special family
members and wonderful friends on which to lean.  Some live here in Chicago, some are spread over the country, and some
are near our "retreat" in Sarasota; we rely on all of them, reminisce and cry with them and share our shock at this
unthinkably sad time.  God Bless all of you for your love and support; you know who you are.
 We go forward and live, and are
infinitely richer for having shared our lives with my mother Dawn.  I hope you enjoy this small tribute to her majesty.  
Forever Love to Mom and all my Family,   
                                                         Lynn (or Babe, Mom,  Grammie, Sis, Deedoo, Auntie Lynn and yes, Mad Dog (don't ask)

What is Poetry at Dawn?

Poetry at Dawn is the name of my Mother's and my poetry company; I was so impressed when she thought of it.  It is also a
site I created to honor and showcase the work and play of my Mom, Dawn Stratton, through this exciting internet.  It began
innocently with a few funny poems and a poem to WGN, our local radio station, which they read on the air, and then people
started asking for framed poems, and began to hire her to do poems for their loved ones.  I would edit the poems, throw in a
small idea here and there, and add some graphics....our first graphics I actually drew!  Soon she was writing poems as they
came to her--serious as well as humorous. We went on hunts for beautiful mats; we bought foam core; we bought a mat
cutter and tried triple mats, cut-out mats, contrasting color double and triple mats . . . then on to professional graphics... as
we learned more and more.  (I am deeply saddened and sorry to say that my Mom  passed away on September 22, 2004.  
However, I will continue to do the site because she lives on in our hearts, in Heaven and in her artwork.)

My Mother was one of those creative people - who did a bit of everything; she wrote poetry and articles, she sang, she
danced, painted, acted, mothered, joked, played the piano and did whatever else she desired. She lived life to the fullest.
As my brother Steve said during her memorial service, "She wasn't the best painter, or the best singer or the best poet.
But she did it all. She was never afraid to get out there." And everything she did, she did well.  That is a pretty remarkable
thing to say about someone.  She lived, and she lived well.  

She also had a hell of a sense of humor and could get anyone on the floor laughing with her infectious laugh and her silliness.  
When I was a youngster and very cynical, I would always tell her to "cheer up" because she was always singing or dancing or
telling jokes.  And if I could only tell her one more thing it would be thank you. As my sister Karyn said during one of my
lonely fits, "We were so lucky to have her as a mother--we were just so lucky."  And it is so true.

So for years in the early 90's, my Mother and I attended craft shows, infant welfare shows, Christmas and holiday shows
displaying her beautifully matted poetry. We brought Kleenex to the shows for the weeping readers. . . while we still tried
out different looks and unusual pictures.  I haven't mastered getting those images to print WITH the poems on the
internet as yet, but
I will.  My Mother gave that to me.  I will; just give me some time.  However, my new husband and
career got in the way and it became too much to continue to work on the shows and the orders.  We were afraid to really go
for it in a big way... DUMB!  Had I known she was going to leave so soon, I would have dumped the house and the job.  I credit
my Aunt Barbara with finding a solution for my having all of these wonderful poems, and I can't believe I didn't think of the
internet sooner.  I've been fooling around on the internet for years and I'm sorry for the wasted time that everyone could
have enjoyed the work and play of this extraordinary and very beautiful human being. I miss you Mom.

I also want to take this time to thank Suzanne, my younger sister, for putting her life on hold to nurse and care for Mom
during her illness. Looking back, we weathered one bad piece of news after another.  For a brief period, remission! A small
miracle as she bought another year or so. Suzanne stayed at her side, helped her dress and eat and walk. She took her to
her chemo; she took her to her radiology, she shopped and drove and carried.  Suzanne exhibited her love and devotion
through her deeds.  This is another special human being, not only for the nursing, but for staying balanced and honest. She
never lied to my mother or downplayed her illness. None of us did.  At the end, we put her bed into the "great room" so we
could all crawl in with her to say our good-byes.  And so, before her history, I want to thank you, Suzanne, for your selfless
intervention; for rearranging your life to care for our Mom so that strangers didn't have to do so.  Although we all tried to
help, you were the one to whom all the most difficult and heartbreaking chores fell.  I am humbled by your inner beauty and
the depth of your love and dedication.   Bless you, Tia.