Young again.

July 7, 2018 § 2 Comments

I want to be young again.

Not thirty-young.

Not eighteen-young.


I want to be so new my own hands are a foreign land.

So new that light is a stunning surprise.

So new that the temperature of the world shocks me till I bawl—and then the sound of my own voice shocks me again.


I want a body that is still growing up, not down, one that takes me places I have forgotten about as an adult, or have come to take for granted.

I want to sit under the table surrounded by grownups’ knees, unnoticed as those grownups speak adult and pay no attention to their own shoes–but I will, in my secret cave under the table.

I want the line between what is real, and what is not, to blur, so that the imagined is so possible it tingles my spine, even if it puts that scary thing that huffs in the night back under my bed.

I want to be the kid, the junior partner, the one who sits in the back seat and whines.

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My boy lollipop.

December 13, 2011 § 3 Comments

My father’s head was too big for any conventional hat, one with the size printed inside on the sweat band. Even as a small and skinny boy his head was so big people said he looked like a lollipop.

His was a square Swedish head, flat on top, flat in the back. Viewed in a harsh light it had corners.

Within the reach of my memory, except when I was very small, that head was always shiny and bald.

A head like that required a hat that conformed to it, not the other way around, and so he always wore a knit beanie.

His mother, Florence, made his beanies in his early years. Once she lost the pattern only to find it filed in her recipe box behind the tab labeled “Beans.”

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The way I remember it.

February 17, 2011 § 11 Comments

My sister, Claudia, had never heard me do my stand-up-author routine when I got an invitation to speak in the Bronx.  I spent the night with her family in Manhattan and she and I set out.

I hadn’t been given much information about the event, but when we got to the gymnasium where I was to speak I learned my audience was a gathering of Special Ed students, great kids to work with but noisy and exuberant, and this group was huge, the gym an echo chamber.

Standing on the grey linoleum in front of a mike, the cord snaking back between my feet, I started out with the real-life story I’d adapted to create the pivotal moment in my book “Crossing Jordan.”

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Flat granny.

November 24, 2010 § 6 Comments

Wearing goofy smiles, my husband and I stare expectantly at the grainy edge of a playpen on the computer screen–a playpen in faraway Philadelphia.

“Where’s Boo-ba?” I sing-song.  The Pack-and-Play trembles.  Slap.  One chubby hand grips the top rail.  Slap.  Our grandson pulls himself up.

“Hey Booba!” we chorus.

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Dog brain.

November 7, 2010 § 7 Comments

I’m not sure how cat brains work, they hold their cards close, but to me their thoughts seem chilly, like an air-conditioned office.  When observed by a cat, I always feel as if I’m being judged by one of the popular girls in high school.

I’m a dog person.  I like the way dogs think.  Unlike cats, dogs wear their thoughts on the outside, like a T-shirt with a slogan printed on it in CAPITAL LETTERS.  Dog-think is bath water warm.  It’s relaxing.

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The Relic

October 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

When I was a kid my family owned a religious relic.  It hung for years from my bedpost.  Diamond shaped, it was covered with satin the color of a cobweb, or a fingerprint on a pane of glass.  The letters IHS were embroidered on it in lichen green. 

My father’s family, hard-headed Swedes, were Protestants or what my grandmother called Shouting Methodists.  Theirs was a practical faith made manifest in casseroles, Swedish meatballs, and yellow cake served in Fellowship Halls. 

The relic that hung on my bedpost was Italian Catholic in origin, passed down on my mother’s side of the family.  Her parents, who were first cousins, had needed a papal dispensation to allow them to marry.  The pope’s blessing must have trumped the stacked deck of DNA.  The Catholic cousins produced no idiots or two-headed offspring.  The relic sprang from that same well of faith and mystery. « Read the rest of this entry »

A boy and his dog.

September 22, 2010 § 6 Comments

As a kid I yearned for a dog.  I just knew that if you wrote out one of life’s difficult questions and then filled in the answer-blank with, “get a dog,” you would be right nine out of ten times.

My mother’s death was the most difficult question life ever posed to our family, especially for my father who did not believe in the escape clause, “until death do us part.”  He had no desire to remarry.  He had three grown children and their children.  He’d make do with what family he had left.

After her death he spent winters in Tallahassee in the house across the street from ours, and summers “up home” in New Jersey.  When we called him there his voice was rusty from disuse.  “You need a dog, Dad,” I said.   He squeaked out the logical reasons why he could not have a dog.    « Read the rest of this entry »

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