Tag Archives: Home

Ethel Mae’s Garden: A Mother’s Legacy

Grief and gratitude, hand in hand

The past few months have marked a series of family anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, and celebrations. There were parties, gatherings, and projects that brought us together. We affirmed our bonds with each other ­— across generations —  in our laughter, our stories, family traditions, and shared experiences — the nature and nurture that created our family. The person at the center —  the heart of our family — was our father’s wife and soulmate, his best friend — our mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Ethel Mae. We are all flowers in her garden. Continue reading

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With a Little Help from My Friends

“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
with a little help from my friends”
— Songwriters: John Lennon/Paul McCartney

It’s the Memorial Day weekend. There are many traditions associated with this holiday. From Wikipedia, “Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May. It marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its unofficial end.” Continue reading

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Home: Hearth and Heart

“In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us.” — Arik Berk

The following essay and poem are excerpts by this author from a new anthology published by Nectary Press, Home: Writers Explore Its Meaning. The anthology features “…writers with Madison, Wisconsin-area ties who were asked to personally explore the concept of home. The result is a collection of place, belonging, identity, resilience, and love.” On November 2, 2016 OM Build and OM Village Tiny Houses Occupy Madison, Inc. hosted a fall fundraiser for the organization. Contributors read their work and the evening included the sale of the anthology, a silent auction of handmade items, and a performance by the Raging Grannies. All proceeds benefited, OM Village Tiny Houses. Continue reading

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Home/Homelessness

“By adapting and adjusting to randomness, you shape but do not control your endpoint.” ― Bob Deutsch

“Without the sleeping bag I’m just somebody up early in the morning, sitting under a tree. With the sleeping bag I’m nobody up early, sitting under a tree: a slight, but important difference in how I’ll be perceived.”  Craig Stone

I started writing this essay on July 4th, Independence Day, which began as a quiet morning that ended in fireworks. It wasn’t a random occurrence, but planned. What happened in between was a combination of the two, the interplay of intention and randomness. Lately, with all the random and planned violence, inequality and poverty in the world, it’s an unsettling and dangerous time, difficult to know how to prevent tragedy, how to be safe, and how to engage in the discourse and solutions. Continue reading

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A Grateful Daughter: A Father’s Day Tribute

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” — Jim Valvano

As my friends, family, work colleagues, and regular readers are already aware, I recently finished moving. I now have only one set of keys, and my material life resides in a single location for the exception of a dozen totes that a friend generously volunteered to store in her basement.  Moving seemed like a never-ending process and I’m grateful it’s over and I can stop writing and talking about it (I will, I promise).  I can now direct my energy to other things, which brings me to Father’s Day and the tragedy in Orlando at Pulse LGBTQ nightclub. You might ask, “How are these two subjects related?” Continue reading

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Another Moving Story II

“Home again; another journey ends. I’m home again and grateful. I sat at my desk, looked out my window on the world — or at least my neighborhood — and journaled. I immediately felt comforted by a familiar ritual as I reflected on the days that led to my arrival here.”

“Today I’ll unpack, find my bearings and my belongings. Everything will find its place again and everything will be okay. I’m home again.”  — Excerpts from Moving Story III, June, 2013 Continue reading

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Another Moving Story

“It’s just as hard to go back to a place you once left, as it is to leave it again.” ― Charlotte Eriksson

Now that I’ve created expectations I offer this disclaimer. This is not a moving story ― as in moved to tears or moved to laughter.  I’m simply mixing metaphors ― that’s what I do. On the contrary, this story is about packing boxes and totes to schlep across town to my new home, after sorting through the ephemera of my life, then shredding, saving, or throwing away the paper trail. Yet, as I’ve recently learned during this experience, both tears and laughter took me by surprise and took me places from the past. Like an archaeologist exploring a lost civilization, I discovered orphaned relics and forgotten memories. Continue reading

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Without Her: A Mother’s Day Lament

“The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her.” — Author unknown

On this Mother’s Day I want to express my gratitude. I’m lucky. My eyes first met my mother’s over 66 years ago on the day I was born. She was the first person I ever experienced in life, whose flesh touched mine, her smell familiar, whose breasts nourished me, and whose arms held me close to her heart. I’m sure I was comforted by the sound of her soft voice and steady heartbeat that I heard while still in her womb. Every year on my birthday I felt intimately close to her. We often shared tears, tears of gratitude and joy. This year was the last one we’ll ever share together. Mom died 10 days after my birthday. This is my first Mother’s Day without her. Continue reading

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On the Move Again!

“The first step in getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.”  — Unknown

It’s that time of year in Madison, Wisconsin when U-Hauls and Two Men and a Truck will soon clog the streets. Popup curbside flea markets appear overnight as university students dump their second-hand furniture and poorly-assembled IKEA desks and bookcases rather than move them. It’s so commonplace that when student leases expire on August 15th, we’ve dubbed it “Hippie Christmas.” Continue reading

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The Loud Family Loses a Loved One

We Say Goodbye to Our Matriarch

First, a little background:  In 1973 American TV audiences were introduced to a groundbreaking 12-part documentary series on PBS entitled An American Family featuring the Louds, an upper middle class family in Santa Barbara, California. This was considered the first reality TV series. Keeping with its irreverent tradition of satirizing American culture, Saturday Night Live in season four, episode six, created its own Loud family, starring Jane Curtin as Mrs. Loud, Bill Murray as Mr. Loud and their daughters, Gilda Radner and guest host, Carrie Fisher with supporting characters played by John Belushi, Dan Ayckroyd and Garrett Morris. Continue reading

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