My Neighborhood

Picardy was the center of my universe growing up. We played, fought, slept and discovered much of life there. That was in the 1950s. World War II was a very fresh memory for the adults back then. Segregation was commonplace. And the social and economic classes of the time were readily apparent. Picardy Place, later Picardy […]

Air Rifle for Christmas

All the boys in the neighborhood had at least one, some two. We called them air rifles. You cock it with the handle and then “fire” a single chuff of air. A hand at the end of the barrel would feel the air but 12″ farther out you’d hardly notice. Regardless, it made a nice […]

Family, Always Family

Terri is the middle child in our family. That’s her in the light-colored coat and hat in the foreground. Our common environment included a comfortable upper-middle class upbringing with a loving family, good schools, medical and dental care, and only the occasional aberration of some all too human attribute to … strongly shape … our […]

Twists and Turns

That’s me in red on the left. Dad, farther away, is wearing the hat. Two years later, he would have a heart attack. I vividly remember him on the bathroom floor in his underwear and Mom shooing me out, “Get ready for school.” The ambulance took him away as I rode off to school not […]

Keep or Discard?

Long hair, moustache but no beard yet, I was in transition. This was the Vietnam era and few draft-age boys or their parents wanted Country Joe and the Fish’s lyrics to come true, “To have your boy come home in a box.“ Rejection was the order of the day, rejection of the government, rejection of […]

The Rock

The Rock began in a tool room in the back of Bebop’s garage. It was three backyards and two fences from mine. The first addition was two wooden “bunks” mounted to the wall studs. With Bebop’s direction — it was his garage, after all — I cut some of the boards and hammered some of […]

Christmas Is Complicated

… and should be. Past, present and future are all there at once. Childhood memories, who is and isn’t there today and hopes for better tomorrows roll back and forth stirring connections and provoking strong emotions that cannot be put into words. Disappointments and regrets churn with pure, clear joy like a roller coaster with […]

The Green Chair

Family is like this; it stays with you no matter what. And this chair is family. My grandparents bought it in a brown fuzzy tweed and had it in their living room. I can remember its scratchy, burly texture. At the earliest parts of my memory, I remember sitting in my grandfather’s lap in that […]

The Help, A Dissenting Review

There is much truth in the movie. The dialog, the attitudes, the laws, the houses and decors of the two sides of this story are all spot-on. I saw and heard nothing that jarred me out of that era. In that respect, the movie took me back and planted my feet and awareness completely back […]

Steel and Steam

I was a terrible student. I rarely did homework but somehow slid by with Cs and just barely advanced from grade to grade. What homework I did was driven solely by fear of a teacher’s wrath but, over time, my skin grew thicker with each passing year. “Homework time” was spent alone in my room […]