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 …

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 …

My Dude Ranch

My father was to be stationed at a new air force base in Uvalde, TX. Several months before we were to transfer there, he made the trip by car from our then-current posting at Albany, GA, and rented us a house. Almost as soon as he signed the papers and …

I’m a Good Girl

I’m home. My school books are on my desk.  I’ve got my grape Kool Aid and, oh, there are cookies cooling. Mama knows I like chocolate best. Is it hot enough? The thermostat says 78 degrees. Darn, only 78? It’s gotta be hotter than that. I got all sweaty just …

Damn Doorframe

How old am I? If anybody asks, I have a proud answer: “I’m 5.” The neighbor lady who brought me home to my mother asked me that. But that’s not the question now. Now, it’s “Why did the lady have to bring you home?” and “Did you cross the street …

Why Katharine?

When my mother found out she was pregnant the first time, she knew immediately that it was a girl. My father was amused. Nobody could know the sex of a baby until it was born, so this must be just one more piece of evidence for the foolishness of women. …

Katharine Who?

I was in a doctor’s office the other day—yes, a doctor’s office, bastion of the hopefully-healthy old. As almost-usual, the doctor’s assistant couldn’t find me in the computer system the office uses to keep track of all the patients the doctor could not possibly remember on a more personal basis. …

My Grandfather

The knock came long after the family had gone to bed. Dr. Waller answered the door nonetheless—in those days, doctors were on call 24 hours a day. Standing on the porch were two swarthy men with long black hair, wide sleeves, intricately stitched vests and knives. Come with us now, …