The Blog


Her face was everywhere. Growing up Catholic in the 1950s, statues of saints and their pictures on “holy cards” were a part of daily life. But the scarred face of the Madonna of Czestochowa was special. In our immigrant community, she represented the Polish people’s struggle for nationhood. A fifteenth-century Polish historian wrote that the…

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The Last Witness

There is a poem I love called The Last Uncle by Linda Pastan. It captures the feeling I had when my own last uncle died. My mother’s brother John was the last person I knew who had witnessed the Great Depression and WWII. Everyone who knew me as a child had now left the planet.…

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Photo by Alena Darmel on

The Hartwick College Piano Man

A long time ago, in a land far away, an eight-year-old girl who was me stood alone in the Hartwick College parking lot. She was stiff, and scared and not sure what to do. My little family of four had just driven over an hour – a big trip in those days – to Oneonta,…

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It’s Touching

Yesterday, a woman I know only slightly rubbed my arm. “I like to touch people,” she said. “It’s good for us.” She happens to be a very sweet, kind person whom I like, so I didn’t mind. We had a little exchange about how we felt we had to do air hugs at the beginning…

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Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on

If Birds Could Save Us

What would it be like, a world without birds? Rachel Carson said it would be A Silent Spring. We are losing birds at an alarming rate. Since the 1970s, 2.9 billion birds have been lost in North America alone, or 29 percent of the total population. I’m afraid I’ve ignored them most of my life,…

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Pearl S. Buck

Are You a Dangerous Woman ?

Did you know the FBI kept a 300-page file on Nobel-prize winning novelist, Pearl S. Buck? Or that civil rights organizer Pauli Murray was openly transgender? For Women’s History Month, Pearl S. Buck International, where I volunteer, is offering a virtual exhibit entitled “Dangerous Women.” You can view it here. When I took a look,…

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Photo by Jill Wellington on

Code Blue Valentine

One day last week, I drove a friend to her doctor’s appointment. The temperature on my car thermometer read 42 in the garage and dropped ten degrees before I was even out of our street. Going up the highway, the numbers went down…32, 28, 20, 19. Stopping at the library to drop off two books,…

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A Walk In the Wintertime

It’s wonderful what the sunshine does for a cold day. Without it, I don’t know I’d withstand the winter, and it’s not like I live in Iceland. Southeastern PA winters typically have a few very cold weeks, some big snowstorms (which I actually welcome for the stay-inside coziness) and more likely, freezing rain which is…

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Writer’s Tears

We chose the Monday after Thanksgiving to visit the light display at Peddler’s Village, a quaint shopping district in the country about 20 minutes from home. Every year, thousands (millions?) of colored lights sparkle from trees, around the doors and eaves and roofs of shops, spinning around a working water wheel and forming an arched…

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Neighborhood Feng Shui

According to the principles of Feng Shui, it’s best to be able to see the door from where you are sitting. So, when we moved into our townhouse ten years ago, I set up my desk beside the window where I could see anyone in the doorway and look out at the treetops, a small…

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Carol Ann and the Lumberyard

Today I started to write a post about my love of the smell of fresh lumber, but the words felt familiar. I looked up previous blogs and saw that I wrote about this same exact thing in May! Of this year! Covid brain? Maybe. But what about this: Coming out of the shower at my…

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Get It Down (While You Still Can)

Does anybody but me have this underlying anxiety, this fear of aging, of being unknown? Some days I think it’s the malady of our age. Otherwise, why the popularity of so much “escape” entertainment, TV, movies, the web, video games, gambling, drinking, etc. etc.? What are we escaping from? Facing our feelings, says Dr. Margaret…

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