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.

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

Light Up the World

An heirloom might not be expected to survive unbroken during all those relocations: from Albany, Georgia to Bracketville, Texas to Lake Charles, Louisiana to Angola, Indiana; back to Lake Charles and on to California in Walnut Creek, then Reseda and then Canoga Park; then to Indiana in Fort Wayne followed… Continue

My Best Christmas

Since it is December 2012 as I write this, my thoughts turn to a standard chapter in one’s memoirs: My Best Christmas. It was December thirty-odd years ago. At the time, a new job was proving to be stressful and demeaning. I had moved to a different city to take… 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

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

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