Category: Stories that want to be told

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 »

Fifteen years after 9/11: From unity to fracture

9-11-01 It wasn’t often that my husband peppered me with phone calls at the office. He knew that I was usually in session with counseling clients, so my phone was mostly off. When I saw mid- morning that he’d called several times, it made me edgy. I called right away and he said, “Have you... Read more »

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 »

On seeing older folks with walkers: Pity turns to inspiration

Here’s what I used to think when I saw an older person moving along with a walker: “Oh, poor thing!” Averting my eyes, I would try to distract myself before I started contemplating the obvious question, “What if that is me someday?” Then my own mother needed a walker after a series of falls, the... Read more »

The Road Less Traveled led me straight to Old Town, corporate America, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

It was the summer of 1966, after my first year of college. I tried to talk my mother into letting me work at the neighborhood drive-in bringing people their hot dogs, but that wasn’t going well. So I took the other path. I took the YMCA up on their offer to join an internship program... 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 »

Life is like an airplane ride: a chance encounter with joy

There were clouds all the way when I flew into Chicago yesterday. Nothing to see outside, but as it turned out, there was plenty going on inside the plane – fear, relief, compassion, excitement, and some remembered sorrow. Like any flight I suppose, but usually you don’t know about it. My seatmate was already there... Read more »

In line at the post office, I traveled to France: The case for talking to strangers

Post office, Saturday morning, twentieth in line, one window open. Just wanted to pick up a package, had to pick up the package. Time of the essence – movie starts in an hour, 20 minutes away. Checked email on phone, Facebook, even played a game. Another window opened, but only for people sending pre-paid packages.... Read more »

How to prepare for the final conversation with a dying loved one: A chance encounter with grief

“My father is dying,” she said, the lady sitting next to me on the plane. “My sisters and I are time-sharing his care.” This was after we’d chatted about books we are reading, and the mild Chicago winter, and what e-book device would work best for her elderly dad. “There are five of us.” “I’m... Read more »

Who could lose their temper with the good little girl in Apt. 2? And what kind of anger followed?

I was a pretty mild-mannered child, the shy girl who lived on the second floor on the corner, overlooking the library on 111th Street. I lived there with my mom, who was also pretty mild-mannered now that I think of it. The idea that I would do anything bold enough to draw anger seems far-fetched.... Read more »