Surveying the Storm

I’m looking out the window at the flat two acres of fresh snow in my neighbor’s yard. The far end of the property is lined with a regal stand of mature pine trees, the backdrop for winter’s seasonal performance. Intermittent gusts of wind pick up the sparkling material and carry it in amorphous shapes over the pristine surface, ghosts rising and frolicking briefly in morning…

Continue Reading

New Year’s — One Way or Another

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take…”  Joseph Campbell. Two years ago, I almost moved to New York City. I came to Boston from New Jersey in 1967 and never looked back — that is, until December 2015. The closing of 2017 brings…

Continue Reading

Fateful Encounters

Today, December 7th, is my mother’s birthday. Rose was a member of the greatest generation, born in 1915 and living through the technological advances and formative tragedies of the twentieth century: the major wars, the Great Depression, the loss of her extended family in the Holocaust, the assassinations. She was a “late bloomer” in her personal life and began the career of her young dreams…

Continue Reading

Thanksgiving of Change

My Thanksgiving table over forty-one years of marriage began with Paul’s two little boys, my parents from Linden, New Jersey and Paul’s parents from Dorchester/Mattapan, then expanded to include our own son and daughter. My husband, a hairdresser by trade and an outdoorsman by nature, wielded sharp instruments expertly, whether an axe, a scissor, or a carving knife. After he sliced the turkey, he carefully…

Continue Reading

Is this Paris?

UNE FEMME TRES CHIC Is this Paris? No, it’s New York City on a September afternoon. Walking at my leisure, free to take in the street life, the buildings, the signs, the storefronts, the ornate facades and wrought iron grill work, I see Frenchness everywhere. WEST 73RD BETWEEN COLUMBUS AND AMSTERDAM I’ve collected several books of photography over the years that for me embody the signature sensibility…

Continue Reading

Costco Memories: The Red Mixer

My husband Paul loved the Costco Wholesale Warehouse with a passion. He discovered it when it first opened on Route One in Danvers in 1990. Eventually, we went there together, pushing our basket up and down every aisle and taking in the fascinating new seasonal items (lawn chairs, umbrella tables, plants, pergolas, backyard storage sheds) or household and food products in super-sizes and quantities. The huge Cheerios boxes…

Continue Reading

Sisters, Tell Me Your Story

My dad, Julius Weiner, left me a significant artistic legacy, a collection of sepia photographs he took in the 1940s and painstakingly developed in his darkroom. I plan to compile a book of selected photos and write an imaginative essay or poem to accompany each one. I’ve organized them into categories: parades, musicians, landscapes, buildings and industrial sites, 1939 World’s Fair, and scenes from his favorite venue,…

Continue Reading

Jean: Pioneer, Mentor, Truth Teller

I picture my Aunt Jean in her iconic pose, elbow on the kitchen table with Winston cigarette in hand, sipping from a mug of strong black coffee, then listening to talk shows on her bedside clock radio far into the night. I sometimes joke with her daughter, my cousin Donna, that her mother never ate or slept, she only worked, smoked, and caffeinated. When she hosted bridge games for her friends, she offered Danish pastries to accompany the main dish, the percolating pot of Maxwell House.

Four Ways to Care

Continuing with my “Caring for the Caregiver” series, this is a piece I wrote for an upcoming issue of my local senior citizens newsletter, The Wenhamite. The assignment for Lois Lane, Girl Reporter (me) was to write a short article about what was helpful to me as a caregiver.

Caring for the Caregiver

September is National Senior Center Month. I write this piece with appreciation for the support I received at the Beverly Council on Aging over the past five years. I’ve been a senior before – Linden High School class of ’62, Douglass College class of ’66. It took fifty years, but now I’m a senior again!

What’s Right with this Picture?

My birthday week in New York City began today, a Sunday morning on the Upper West Side. In years gone by, the highlight of the weekend was the Sunday Times delivered at dawn, or picked up at the news stand before breakfast. Now it’s digital, absent the weekend ritual of sharing the coveted sections between family members, waiting turns but enjoying fresh coffee and bagels with cream cheese in the interim.

Weather Report: Chance of Clearing

If we reconstruct the run-up to a meaningful encounter or life-changing event, and follow the trail of random decisions that preceded it, it would be a miracle that it happened at all. In my case, my very own existence depended on the direction of a weather pattern and a decision made as a result by my mom Rose while on her summer vacation in August of ’42.

The Story of my Name

It’s the beginning of August, giving me time to prepare for the birthday that will close the month for me, then open my new year. This turns my thoughts to origins, the origin of my name in particular. In the PBS series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” the main character, a crusty British barrister, refers to his wife in the third person as “She Who Must Be…

Continue Reading

My Suitcase, Myself

  I’m packing for my trip to New York City to take care of my little grandson for the week. The mid-July weather will be blazing hot with no rain in sight, no need for a “just in case” raincoat or umbrella. My suitcase is carry-on size, constructed of space age material and shaped like a mini-Airstream aluminum trailer. I’m on the ready to roll…

Continue Reading

Taking our Time

On the train from Boston to New York City, I can’t help but think of what awaits me there, a summer week with my little grandson. From the moment he was born, this child brought pure joy into my life – the first time I freely opened my heart after I lost my husband Paul in December, 2013. During his first year, I commuted between…

Continue Reading

Summer into Fall: 1950’s Style

Fall is the beginning of time for me. I was born on August 30th, and each new year of my life coincided with the opening of school. The night before the first day of school, I set out my clothing after looking through my drawers and closet a thousand times. One year, I had enough inventory to wear a different outfit each day for two…

Continue Reading

At the Epicenter of Life: A Summer Day in Essex

      “Enjoy the little things, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things” – Robert Brault I look back with love and longing over the thousands of pages in my book of married life – days, years, decades of treasure. Yet, the days upon days of routine become indistinguishable one from the other, punctuated from time to time…

Continue Reading

72 is the new 72

You are familiar with the saying that goes around and comes around when the subject of age comes up: “50 is the new 30, 60 is the new 40, 70 is the new 50” in various iterations. Now that I’ve reached the “70 is the new 50” plateau, I’m ready to claim my age for my own. “I am really 72, that’s it!” In making this…

Continue Reading