Living on a Wooded Lot Means a Life of Stewardship and Endless Battles Against Buckthorn

Living on a Wooded Lot Means a Life of Stewardship and Endless Battles Against Buckthorn
When my husband and I moved onto our wooded acre, complete with pond, nearly 20 years ago, I had no idea that we were about to adopt a lifestyle that would have me become a part-time lumberjack with a rather impressive knowledge of how to identify and treat poison ivy. As it turns out, ‘the woods’ do... Read more »

The Blossom Plucker

The Blossom Plucker
If there were one bird to be sent down to help me through the first spring after my father’s death, the Baltimore oriole would have been it. Thus, I was forced to take particular notice of its arrival. The oriole family had been camped outside my kitchen window for days. My husband and I had... Read more »

Miller Beach, My Hometown

Miller Beach, My Hometown
If living back in my childhood home felt confusingly right in its familiarity, another surprise awaited me as I ventured into the town. I was astonished by the way people welcomed me back when they saw me. In fact, as I realized I was being warmly greeted by even the locals who had not known... Read more »
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Going Home Again

Going Home Again
I pulled into the driveway, my highway-weary eyes coming to rest on the odd collection of beach rocks and driftwood in a growing pile near the doorway. “Home, again,” I thought as I pulled my key from the ignition and flipped the ring to locate the house key. Despite the adage warning against such a... Read more »

An Executress Finds Some UneXpected Surprises

My sister called in advance of her arrival from out of town with her husband and young children. We had been discussing how we were going to deal with the twelve thousand discs that comprised my father’s music and movie libraries. Eight thousand movies. My father had discovered Netflix and copying software and had apparently... Read more »

The Receiving Line

The Receiving Line
Dismantling my father’s house took place in stages. The house would be sold, but readying it for market would take months, necessitating that we keep the house functional for my extended stays there while I found homes for nonessential items. In the early days, family and close friends were called to the house to select... Read more »
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Staples and Wire

To read this memoir from the beginning, please visit the Table of Contents. Dear Diary, It’s one of those things you never think about but it makes perfect sense once you hear it: Surgical wire and staples don’t burn. And so you might find yourself some summer evening, after you’ve transferred your father from a... Read more »

The Weight of Ashes

Several days after we said farewell to him, I received a call notifying me that I could return to the funeral home to receive the box of ashes that had once been my father. And just as Billy Collins mused about the one hundred different silences, or as Eskimos are said to have fifty distinct... Read more »

Better Than Any Funeral We Could Have Planned

I had been so focused on trying to honor my father’s wishes and pulling together information to carry them out that I almost missed out on the opportunity to see him one last time. We knew there would be no funeral and that my father was to be cremated, with his asking that I take... Read more »
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The Treasure Chest

Dear Diary, All about me, estates are being dismantled and everywhere are heard exasperated grumblings and resentments over the necessity of dealing with other people’s “junk”. But I can tell by the way the combs carefully sift the debris that the junk is not the issue. It is the as yet undiscovered treasure chest that... Read more »