Words From Now and Then

What’s In Your Bucket?

“You’ll hate yourself if you don’t see it.” So said my husband’s cousin Jimmy. He traveled to Florence after law school and visited the magnificent marble sculpture of David by Michelangelo. The iconic larger than life slayer of Goliath is viewed by thousands of tourists every year. When I mentioned my forthcoming trip to Italy…

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Election Time. Who Cares?

Around this time of year, when I was quite young, a car rolled slowly past our house with big round “loudspeakers” fastened to the roof, from which blared the voice of a man telling us who to vote for, a voice I heard even after the car rounded the corner and moved down the next…

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Continuous Small Treats

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” – Iris Murdoch I have a little routine, and I suspect many of you do, too, when I need to do something hard. I promise myself a little treat, and to keep from worrying about the hard thing, I think about what the…

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The Mysterious Black Madonna

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 Pexels.com

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 Pexels.com

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 Pexels.com

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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