On Misremembering

  Here is how I remember the scene. My nine-year old daughter has fashioned a muslin prairie bonnet, the kind Laura Ingalls Wilder would wear. She will dress as a pioneer for the school Thanksgiving program, where teachers will showcase costumed students for adoring parents and extended family. “Look mom!” she says, modeling the bonnet. It resembles a handkerchief with earflaps. I say, “That’s lovely, but wouldn’t you like to ask the nice dress-up clothes lady to make one of those … Read more…

Well-behaved Bunnies Rarely Make Literature.

“She’s going to be a great adult.” This nugget of wisdom, offered by my daughter’s 4th grade teacher during a school conference, was a comfort. Few teachers had recognized the diamond within my daughter’s core. Liz was not sweetly compliant, as most girls seem to be. She “questioned authority” before it became a bumper sticker. The phrase, “She’ll make a great adult” provided hope for the long-term welfare of my adventurous child. As soon as … Read more…

Start with the Squirrels.

  “The oldest human longing is self-revelation” Zora Neale Hurston, novelist and ethnographer Lately, I have been thinking about the memoir my father never wrote. I see him in his beige leather recliner, legal pad in lap, poised to scribe a remarkable life: from Depression era chicken farm to college, to a tuberculosis sanitarium, and then back to college— emaciated and still getting pneumothorax treatments, he was one of the few men on campus during … Read more…

Live Free & Laugh

  I have always considered myself an optimist. So, I had tired of my young daughter’s daily complaints  each afternoon when she climbed into the back seat of the car after a grueling day of 3rd grade. Before she could describe the unpleasantry of playground politics, I instructed her to tell me one good thing.  “The cafeteria had grilled cheese today,”was good enough.  This habit helped.  After she had described a small positive event, Susanna seemed … Read more…