Category: memoir

The Sisters' Writing Club and why you should want in

The Sisters’ Writing Club, the latest chapter in my writing life, is the brainchild of my sister-in-law Nan. She proposed it and all of us signed on immediately. The club invites all five of us to write a brief piece on the same topic every month. We share our pieces via email, then respond with... Read more »

Money and Me: How my first purchase shaped our relationship

I entered my earning years as a ten year-old babysitter, racking up the hours at 25 cents per. Lucky for me, there were some newly built three story apartment buildings erected behind my older red brick one, just brimming with little kids. Did I know enough to take care of infants? Toddlers? Dogs? No, but... Read more »

The best meal of my life: Fried chicken with memories

The best meal of my life was on a beautiful fall day, crisp and bright blue, the day of the memorial service following my mom’s death from Alzheimer’s Disease. She had died a few weeks earlier, under hospice care, with two of us present. The relief we felt was real, as the years’ long decline that took... Read more »
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My Favorite Post of All Time: Up the mountain to the past

Usually, as soon as I’ve finished writing one of these posts, it shifts automatically into my mental archive, so that when someone says, “Hey, I liked that last post,” I have to inquire what it was about. Once I send one out into the world, my brain gets busy searching for the next one. Yet... Read more »

An argument for fall: its invitation to live for today

I’m never happier than right now, when the wind shifts, and the AC stops blowing on me at my desk so that I have to go get a jacket inside my own house, and the bugs go away. I can still hear locusts at night, but they are fading. The first dry leaves crackle under... Read more »

The religious conversion that didn't happen: My mother vs the men at the door

When a couple of roving evangelicals showed up at the back door of our apartment, that door being their best chance since the front door required a buzz-in and there was no intercom for them to use, my mother invited them in. They sat in the two soft chairs. My mother sat in our one nod... Read more »
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You can go home again: My tour of Beverly and my past

Here’s how I got back to Beverly where I grew up: my cousin Cheryl came to town from Florida to visit her son who has settled here. She and I, who have managed a Christmas card and more recently an email connection, actually met face to face for the first time in decades in a... Read more »

St. Patrick’s Day: A day to ponder where we came from and why

I’ve got bigger ideas in mind this St. Patrick’s Day than green beer and Irish dancers. It’s got me thinking about how we all got here into this grand but troubled country, and how the rifts between us continue. I guess I’m Irish, but not in a South-Side-Irish way of clans that live in the... Read more »

My trips with my lifetime friends: what I hope will never end

I’m never going to give this up. Every other year, I go on a trip with the friends I’ve known the longest and the best. We started being something on my fifteenth birthday when they threw a surprise birthday party for me after a humiliating social defeat – not getting invited into a high school... Read more »
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The lessons of this Thanksgiving, from food to old movies

What I learned this Thanksgiving: The bigger the group around the dinner table, the more likely they are to put up a picture on Facebook. You can make gravy with Bisquick in a pinch. My local Baker’s Square restaurant sold 3,000 pies on Wednesday. Multiply that times the 13 Chicago area Baker’s Squares and you... Read more »