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.”

Abandoned Houses: Part Two

Every house tells a story. A student said this when I was talking about my fascination with abandoned houses.

Every house tells a story.

Not just empty houses. Every house tells a story of those who lived there. Who they loved, perhaps. What they valued. What their joys were. The things they worried about.

It might be the story of a family—struggling or content; grieving or joyful. It might be the story of one person—happy and fulfilled in life or wondering why they feel so lonely.

As many people as there are, that’s how many stories houses hold.



Garrison Keillor and Me

“A Prairie Home Companion” has changed over the past year. Garrison Keillor, the founder, host, and writer, retired and a new voice took over. I listened yesterday and thought, “Oh, they are trying to keep the show alive and bring in a younger audience, while not alienating the older folks.” Pretty good job so far.

Then I thought about Garrison Keillor. It must have been really hard to walk away from something he loved, something he created, and hand it over so that it can continue on. Much the way I felt when I walked away from 16 Belmont Court.

Chipping Away

For so very long I was wife and mother. We had our things that we did and we had our places we went. One of those places was AV Ristorante Italiano, located at New York Avenue and Sixth, NW. Even before David died, AV closed. The owners got an amazing sum of money for the property and rode off into the sunset, counting their dollars. We were sad because it was our place.

Now I drive by and there is a gargantuan building going up at 6th and New York. I feel like someone is chipping away at my life.


Labels–I’d love to know what you think

My son really hates it when I ask the question, “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?” He says he hates labels—they reduce someone to just one thing. That’s not how I see it. When I ask that question, it helps me understand how someone interacts with the world at a very basic level.

I think labels can be good, overall. Sure, they can be misused—but what isn’t these days? Labels, especially the ones we give ourselves, can help explain us to the people we meet. I’m an Irish Catholic girl from Long Island–don’t you forget it!


Abandoned Houses

I’m fascinated by abandoned houses. Drive through the American countryside and you will see an abandoned house from time to time. Who just walks away from a house and lets it rot by the side of the road??? I sold a house, left it behind, and it almost crushed me, so I don’t understand how a person—or a family—can just leave a house and let it decay.

Don’t we love our houses? Aren’t they symbols of something greater than just a place to lay our heads? Where are the ones who lived there, loved there, and walked away?