A memoir is a memory. Memories may be long or short, serious or humorous, ordinary or extraordinary. Whatever they are, they are truth as you know it and as your readers will come to know it.

Here are some of the memoirs I have written or edited. Each of these is a chapter in a book.


I throw my head back as hard as I can, and it makes a satisfying whack against some part of Joey’s face. He yelps, lets go of my arms, which he’s been holding behind my back, and retreats. I pursue, and the fight continues. The two of us smack and… Continue


On the lunch shift, the drunks are at tables rather than at the bar, and the waitresses serve them my Bloody Marys and martinis along with their New York Strips. Five or six ounces of vodka and 16 ounces of dead cow in an hour, and then they’re gone—until after… Continue

We Know Where Lopez Is

Any bus ride you take in Puerto Vallarta is a sightseeing tour. It won’t be the kind of tour that tourists from the States get after being sales-talked into a timeshare presentation with free city-excursion hook. It won’t be the kind of tour that expatriates take when they venture away… Continue

You Too Are Us

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Peepee Boy, 10 years old, the instigator, always ready to shock the younger children Katharine, 8 years old, studious Stork Girl, 8 years old, a know-it-all Baby Fairy Girl, 9 years old, demure Belly Buttons Boy, 9 years old, acts reasonably Buffalo Boy, 8 years old, always… Continue

On Time

Every evening about this time, a man with a mean pout and a gold cross at his open shirtfront drives a BMW along the street in front of where I’m living. From various houses emerge my neighbors, anxious for fat grams in 20 bags. Meanwhile, women who want to be… Continue

Every Parent is Proud

“The Phantom … was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by… Continue

Me Mensan

“Sorry,” our young visitor has said three or four times along with “Oh, I don’t think my opinion counts for much” and “I’m not that brainy, really.” This last was in a throaty whisper to the one man at this party I’d really like to communicate with. He’s suave and… Continue

Am I Now a Wise Woman?

This story, “Am I Now a Wise Woman?,” was the first one in a client’s book of memoirs. It contains almost no detail itself, so could be considered lacking in elements that make a memoir memorable. However, it does introduce a book that is rich in experience and, well, wise…. Continue

The Power of “Yes”

As a philosophy of life, you can hardly beat:  “Say ‘Yes!’”   “Can I open one of my presents before my birthday? I don’t want to have to wait a whole five days.” First, we have to talk about who gets to select the present. If it’s Mama, it’s going… Continue

What I Learned in Philosophy 101

I have to procrastinate for two weeks before writing about Philosophy 101. Today is the day, though. No putting it off any longer. Here’s what I remember from that class 35 years ago: Socrates: Knowledge is the only good; ignorance is the only evil. In the first week of philosophy class,… Continue

Something Else to Show I Care

This story was written by a client to warn her grandchildren against falling prey to consumerism and wasting their money.   I just read that each year in the United States, four million tons go from logs to landfills just to make wrapping paper and holiday shopping bags. Here I… Continue

And the Pain is Gone!

I’m old. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, my back hurts, right here, see?  Where my hand is. I get up anyway, go downstairs and let Lilly the dog out, waiting just inside the door for her and absent-mindedly pressing where it hurts. After she comes back in,… Continue

Where is Quinn?

The rule was that you call Grandma when you’re leaving wherever it is that you’re playing. You tell her where you’re going to play next. When you get to where you’re going to play next, you call again to let her know you’re safe. Then, if you‘re ever not safe,… Continue

Pulling the Trigger

When I was 10, the kids in my neighborhood played war. All our fathers were in the military, and with World War II in our recent history, the Korean War just over and the Cold War just beginning, I think we were all feeling that the world was a really… Continue

I Believe…

It’s Sunday and my family is visiting with relatives I’ve never met. I have a scarf on my head that my aunt has lent to me because my mother—slight sarcasm here—“didn’t think” to pack a hat for me. My mother isn’t going to the Catholic church, maybe because she also… Continue

The Names of My Husbands

What can I say? In those days, we married them. You remember, “for better or worse”? My First Husband When I was in high school, I was a distressing two inches taller than pretty could be and an awful four inches taller than beautiful ever was in those days. Not… Continue

The Word that Describes Me

It’s one of those writing prompts you find on the Internet: “What Single Word Describes You?” I am playing around with “honorable,” “intelligent,” and “caring,”—some word guaranteed to swell my chest with pride—when my son, David, wanders past my desk. So I ask him. “Practicality,” he states immediately and firmly…. Continue

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

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