Equality

In 1952 when I was 9 years old, my father was stationed in Atlanta, Georgia. Soon after we moved into our house there, other officers’ wives started suggested to my mother that she hire a Negro maid (when I was a child, “Negro” was the polite term for black people). …

Buying Corn

The dirt puffs up in beige clouds around my feet as I trudge along the weedy road ruts bordering the fields. The heat pounds on my head. I’ve only been gone from home for half an hour, and already I’m desperate for water. The house where I get the water …

Tough

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 …

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 a city-excursion hook. It won’t be the kind of tour that expatriates take when they venture …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 smart, 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 …

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. …

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, …

My Career–Not!

I’m writing my memoirs, so I have to write something about my career. Well, sigh, OK. A career is something you decide on, plan for, maybe go to school for, engage in with purpose, perhaps even use to identify yourself. Meanwhile, when I was asked, “What are you?” I always …

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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 slapped that huge bronze boot. Then she turned to …

Hardball

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 noodles …