Mom–I wish I was a poet

The most influential woman in my life. Mary Elizabeth Woods Lightfoot. Dec. 29, 1913–Jan. 4, 2010.

She was not perfect, but in retrospect, it’s hard to find a flaw.

She didn’t always understand, but she loved unconditionally.

She didn’t hold a grudge that I know of.

She was a great cook, especially for the time that she was raising a family. I wanted TV dinners and Spaghetti-O’s and she was having none of that.

Her faith was everything to her. I think we all disappointed her on that score. Yet, she forgave and loved us with all her heart.


The Women in my Life (to be continued…)


I don’t think about these women very often, but they influenced my early life in interesting ways.

Aunt Helen: Mom described her as “handsome” or “striking,” meaning that she wasn’t conventionally pretty. I remember tuna fish sandwiches with potato chips on them at her apartment in Jamaica.

Aunt Edna: She was the embodiment of womanly elegance. Quiet, with a beautiful smile, and a face that listened to every word you said. I learned from her to always bring a gift when you go to visit.

Mrs. Moran: She wanted to help, influence, give. A Christmas dress from her every year.

Goals 2018

I don’t think of them as resolutions; I think of them as goals, goals for 2018. First, I want to write at least four days a week. That’s one of the reasons that I’m writing this, to start forming a habit. I want to write four days a week and on the fifth day, look for places to submit. I’m going to try to shut off the voices. You know the ones, the ones that say “You are no good! You can’t do anything! You suck!”

The other perpetual goal, it carries over each year: read the books I own.


Generals. They are leaders; schooled in the ways of the military; able to make decisions seemingly with ease; giving orders; afraid of no one and nothing. That’s what we are brought up to believe.

Somewhere along the way someone thought, “Oooh, this school system is messed up—let’s put a General in charge!!” But, it doesn’t translate. That General as school superintendent was not successful. Why? Because it’s not just about making decisions or giving orders. It’s about understanding education, supporting your staff, caring about children.

Now we have General Kelly. He cares not about the American people, I think.

Watching the Changing Leaves

I’m not a science nerd and I’ve never really been a nature lover. Yet suddenly, I am fascinated by the natural world.  Today it’s the autumn leaves—they are changing so slowly this year.  I have my theories on why:  It’s been quite dry for the last many weeks.  It’s a much hotter September-October than I remember for a long time.  But looking around, I do wonder—what’s going on in that tree? What’s the story behind the leaves?

Growing up in suburbia, living in the city, I don’t crave nature, but now I do appreciate it as never before.

Under the Bridge

What did I think would make me happy when I was 21 years old? Losing weight? Meeting a man? Being blonde? Anything but what I was, I guess.

I ask myself today: What is it that will make me happy? A new job? A new city? Losing weight, of course.  I have no desire to be blonde.

Perhaps I will be the woman living under a bridge.  Not worrying about the meaning of life or paying bills or being happy. Just being. I’d walk around, no bags, no baggage, not a care in the world. Just me, under the bridge.

Oh, the Joy!! Part Two: The Junk Drawer

For twenty-seven years I cooked in a kitchen with one drawer. That’s right—one drawer. And, it was quite a narrow drawer. On one side of the counter we had a picnic carrier thingy that held our cutlery. On the other side we had a vessel to hold cooking implements—wooden spoons, spatulas, etc. Propped on the top of the stove was an old black pitcher with still more spoons.

Imagine my joy when I moved into my first post-house apartment and the kitchen had six—SIX—drawers! I couldn’t wait to have a junk drawer. The messier, the better.

Oh, the Joy!! Part 1: The Bookmobile

It’s not like we didn’t have plenty of books in the house; we certainly did. And it’s not like we didn’t go to our public library; we did that, too. Yet there was something magical about the bookmobile. I don’t know if it was because it came to our block or if it was the special tiny space. Whatever it was, I LOVED that thing.

When Miriam and Joe were young our library system tried to revive the bookmobile. I was so excited—much more excited than the kids. I couldn’t wait to go.

Sadly, the bookmobile did not survive.

Voices and Stories

What is the “human condition”?

Sometimes I think it is the recognition that, ultimately, we are alone in the world; in the end, we have only ourselves. Are we always searching for something to counteract that lonely feeling? “The hole”, as it were.

At school we talk a lot about helping our students fine their “voice”. We all want that, don’t we? We want to tell our stories, use our voices, connect with others. Then, perhaps, we know we are alive, we are heard, we matter.

I’m sitting here writing, just a few are listening, but I am, aren’t I?

The Sad, Sad Story

It’s been going on for at least 42 years, maybe longer. I know I was doing it at 16 years old. Tab was my drink back then. I distinctly recall Summer 1981, working at Garvin’s, every day I ate hard-boiled eggs, salad with blue-cheese dressing and Diet Coke.

With lots of digging down into memory I could probably relate every diet I’ve ever been on. Some were formal—Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach—others simply involved giving up cookies, chips, ice cream. They all have one thing in common, just like today, “Please, please, please let me lose 20 pounds.”