Weekend Pilot . . . A Valentine for My Dad

In the summer of 1945 when I am six, Dad has his pilot’s license and the use of a single propeller, two-seater plane. Dad is a bear of a man-burly, strong, and capable of deep growly curses when things don't go as planned. He sings in the shower and whistles as he dresses for the day.

On Sunday afternoons, Mom, Dad, my brother, Ben and I drive to the local airport, no more than a single hangar and a landing strip located in the section of the rich farmlands in Southern Pennsylvania that we call home. Dad flies my brother and me in turn around the countryside. [...]

February 14th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |

My People . . . A Personal History

People, Peter Spier, author and illustrator

People, Peter Spier, author and illustrator, Random House, 1980.

In 1960, a new college graduate, I migrate from my hometown in Pennsylvania to New York, a flaxen-haired twenty-something ready to start “real” life in the city of her dreams. I find an apartment on the Lower East Side, a job as the salad girl in the cafeteria in the Time Life building, and modern dance classes I crave to pursue my desired career.

Within weeks city life lifts me into its cacophonous orbit. I experience its centripetal force as visceral, often intoxicating: every shade of human skin represented, along with varieties of English where not only words I know sound strange, but they pour forth in bizarre accents and weird rhythms.  [...]

A Child, A Grasshopper, and Rachel Carson

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In Support of the Sense of Wonder

Child at Insect Zoo by David Lee, 1977/ Smithsonian Archives

I read Silent Spring, Rachel Carson’s book about the dangers of the uses of chemicals in 1962, the year it was published. Carson opened her narrative with an ominous fable. A village had gone quiet. The inhabitants, even young children, died from no discernible cause. The birds had stopped singing and vegetation withered. [...]

Fortresses, Fences, and Walls

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When Family and Friends Become the “Others”

The five of us settled into a large cab for the 25-minute ride from the hotel to Aunt Gloria’s house. My son, my two grandchildren, and I were visiting relatives in Cali, Colombia with my daughter-in-law, a native of the city. With the success of security measures for city dwellers reported by our Cali in-laws, the summer of 2009 seemed right for the moment of reunion that had been on hold since my son and my Latina daughter-in-law married nine years ago. [...]