Rosa is Ready

One year I wrote a poem for my granddaughter Rosa to recite to her at bedtime when she would be visiting that summer. I now remember only the ending:  “Rosa is ready, ready for bed.”  And that for several weeks after writing the poem, I smiled a lot, looking forward… Continue

My Favorite Car

In 1967, I bought a 1947 Renault Quatre Chevaux for $50. I drove the car for a year and abandoned it the day the entire front end fell off the frame onto the pavement. On a weekend shortly after I bought the car, I drove it to the beach with… Continue

I’m an Egghead

I’m the new student in fourth grade in Atlanta, GA, in 1952. I’m on the playground for the first time and am beset on all sides by eight or 10 kids I haven’t yet met. The biggest one, male, swaggers a couple of steps closer to me and demands to… Continue

Hang onto that Boogie Board!

I’ve often noticed that my mind works overtime. Right now, for example, while 8-year-old Quinn struggles against the awful tide, I’m rehearsing what I will tell his father: “I told him to come closer to shore if he felt the tide dragging him out.” Oh, for God’s sake, never mind… Continue

A Creature!

Noise-loud-scream-female-near-Rosa! I launch away from the kitchen sink, skid across the linoleum, tear through the bedroom, and round the corner to the bathroom. My granddaughter is up against the bathroom wall, white faced and wailing. I lean down to her and put my hands on her shoulders. “What? What is… Continue

What Does Your Mother Do for You?

My granddaughter Shayna stayed with me for several months when she was 10. During the visit, she often complained about her mother. “My mother doesn’t….” “My mother wouldn’t….” “My mother never…. ” she would say, and then, “Why?” I was all too aware of why. Shayna’s mother, my daughter-in-law, was… Continue

Not Your Mundane Music

At an age so young I may not have known what “virgin” meant, I used to sing the “Virgin of the Sun God” right along with Yma Sumac. On my father’s record player–vinyl, can you imagine? I marveled at the diva’s Inca-princess costume on the cover of the Voice of… Continue

The Trash Man

Quinn is visiting. My grandson, age 5, is delighted with swimming at the beach near where I live, with his summer daycare where they let him climb almost as high as he wants to, and with taking out the trash. I’m living in an old three-story residence hotel no longer… Continue

Cold Fish

For someone born in Florida, raised in Georgia, Texas and Louisiana, and residing in Southern California, a visit to Angola, Indiana, in January is a revelation. The so-called “blizzard box” is well stocked with coffee, bread, butter, powdered milk and cans of chicken noodle soup, so there will be something… Continue

Mean Grandma

My granddaughter Shayna lived with me the year she was in first grade. I worked, so Shayna went to after-school care along with many of the kids in her class. At the after-school playground, kids would be playing ball, skipping rope, putting puzzles together or just milling around. As end-of-work-day… Continue

Introducing Abraham Lincoln

Shayna was 4. She was standing still as a statue, small fists clenched, glaring up at Abraham Lincoln in the park. I waited to see what she would do. After almost a minute, she took a deep breath, marched boldly up to that statue and slapped that huge bronze boot…. Continue

Winter and Spring

She sat on the couch quietly. After some time, she got up and gathered together the paraphernalia–the plastic containers and rubber tubes and the needles they had stabbed into his arms and chest and then pulled out and thrown on the floor. Not good for the children to see. She… Continue



On the way home from his third week in first grade, David sat quietly looking at his lap. It was hot and I was tired, so I didn’t ask my son why he wasn’t his usual talkative self. By the time we got home and I got the groceries out of the… Continue


It’s Day Three of my life as the mother of Vivian, and I’m frazzled. Acquiring an 8-year-old ready-made might upset anyone’s equilibrium, but it isn’t just that. Half the time, I can’t even understand what my little girl is trying to tell me. Right now, for example, as I’m pouring… Continue

Still Driving

I remember the long hot drive to Tijuana from Los Angeles and, once there, the driving round and round the streets searching. There were no phones, no phone books, no signs on buildings.  What would the signs say, anyway? “Anglo Abortions Performed Here.” I stopped somebody on the street and… Continue

No Other Choice

David was about 3, and he and I were living in Monterrey in California. I was working as a waitress and making just enough to pay for the basics—rent, child care, food, utilities, phone, gas. I had developed an infection in the lymph nodes in my groin and had to… Continue

Get your Comeuppance Here

In first grade, I read the entire chapter “See Spot Run” during the first reading session on the first day. Within a week, I had had so much “Fun” with Dick and Jane that I was up to “Go little pony. Go fast.” on page 52. Meanwhile, the other kids… Continue

No More Bikini

A car in the street next to us slows, and the driver, a sinister, scruffy guy about my age, leans across and rolls down his passenger-side window. He is staring at my daughter. Vivian is striding down the sidewalk just in front of me and seems oblivious to him. The man… Continue

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