The smell and taste of food can be an extraordinarily powerful trigger of nostalgia. One of my earliest food memories is the smell of homemade bread waifing through the house. I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old when that yeasty aroma of baking bread forever imprinted on my brain so much so that when I smell bread baking today – nearly 60 years later – I melt with desire (and its not for a man). All I need is a bread knife and a bit of jam and I’m in heaven.
Lest you think I grew up nourished by homemade bread, let the record be set straight. Homemade bread ended with the birth of my third or fourth brother. From then on it was Pepperidge Farm white bread, Thomas’s english muffins or white sandwich rolls. The 1960’s and 70’s changed the food landscape and nowhere was that more evident than in the home I grew up in in northern New Jersey. Out with the fresh and in with shelf stable boxed, canned, and frozen food. Convenience was the priority. Nutrition wasn’t even an afterthought. Read more
My sweet dog, Skeeter passed away this week. He was 18 years old and I was the lucky one who spent the last 6 years of his life with him.
In the Spring of 2015, I was running on a dirt road in central Iowa when a spry lean dog that looked like a Jack Russell ran out of a distant barn and followed me home. He seemed a bit detached but intent on hanging out with me so I gave him a bath (he was filthy), fed him, and then drove him back to the barn he came from. This back and forth went on for a few weeks. I would go out for a run and Skeeter would appear and follow me home where we would hang out. How he always heard me running down that dirt road I’ll never know. Read more
The Purple Harmony Pillow
When I used to walk through an airport and see someone tugging along a pillow with the pillowcase billowing in their wake, I often stared and wondered if the pillow was for comfort, familiarity, or even a germ thing? I didn’t get it because for decades, I could rest my head on any pillow and get a decent nights sleep. But then things changed; I got older and started feeling tightness or discomfort if my head and neck were not properly supported, all of which started me on a search for the perfect pillow. Read more
I Am Not Alexa
Just a few short months ago, we were doing simple things – turning the lights on and off, playing music, and shopping on-line – all by ourselves. But, things changed around the holidays when the cloud-based voice service called “Alexa” entered our home. Thinking her dad would love to have someone turn the lights on and off, give a weather update, or turn on whatever music he wants to listen to, my daughter decided to give him “Alexa” for Christmas. But, my daughter was also thinking of me. Read more
Last Sunday, my dog, Daisy passed away. When I first started writing this essay about losing her, the focus was on everything that happened in the last 17 hours of Daisy’s life: from the moment she had the first seizure to the moment she died in my arms. The story was so sad that I just cried as I read it and decided to start over. Daisy’s life was so much more than what happened at the end. Her death was tragic but her life was not so the focus had to be on the 13 years, 4 months and 2 days she lived on this earth.
Daisy was born in Interlaken, Switzerland on January 1, 2007 ringing in a new year with her arrival. We were “allowed” to purchase Daisy because we were living in a small town outside Geneva at the time and her breeders couldn’t show her (she had faults, namely her tear ducts were blocked). To us, she was just perfect: a Pembroke Welsh Corgi that looked like a chubby little fox. Her name was chosen by our daughter because she loved to eat daises in the spring fields. Read more
Some Humor in These Times
Last week, my television started acting up which normally isn’t a big deal but with being isolated at home, the television has become more important. In truth, CNN has been my lifeline to the outside world keeping me informed.
The picture started changing into static lines of multicolored rainbows and I kept getting a message telling me to check the connection with the receiver, an error referred to as “771.” After verifying the cables were hooked up correctly, my husband called the cable company and spoke to a guy in the technical assistance department who walked him through all sorts of troubleshooting options before deciding we need a service call. Read more
The Christmas of ’51
Several years ago, I posted a story about the Christmas holidays and the Christmas of 1951, when my husband was 4 years old. It’s a story worth reposting because its message conveys the real meaning of the holidays: being with the ones you love. Read more
The Halloween of My Dreams
In the November 3, 2004 issue of the Washington Post, Marjorie Williams, a writer wrote a column called “The Halloween of My Dreams” which described a day helping her daughter with a Halloween costume – glitter and all – and watching her 8-year old run out the door to go trick or treating. The story touched my heart and I have never forgotten it. For any mother who realizes those seemingly normal moments with our children are really gifts that pass by in a blink of an eye, it’s a must read.
In 2011, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists rightly named it one of the top 15 newspaper columns in American History.
Sexual Assault Victims: What I Remember
In the summer of 1972 or 1973 when I was 11 or 12 years old, I was sexually assaulted by a gang of boys, which included my five brothers, cousins, and a boy unrelated to me. I was with my family (my parents, five brothers, aunt, uncle, and cousins) in Maine, staying at a rustic vacation retreat owned by friends of my parents. Actually, the owners weren’t exactly friends of my parents. My father worked with a man named Art Kearney at Paine Webber whose wife’s family owned the vacation property in Maine. The Kearney’s had several children including a son named Dave who were roughly the same age as us so vacationing together seemed like a good idea. Read more