Tag Archives: Memoir

Battle of the Sexes Redux

It’s just really important that we start celebrating our differences. Let’s start tolerating first, but then we need to celebrate our differences. — Billie Jean King

“I wanted to use sports for social change.” — Billie Jean King

“You’ve Come a Long Way Baby.” — Virginia Slims cigarette slogan, first sponsor of the women’s tennis circuit which later became the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association).

Each generation experiences firsthand a series of events which become mile markers and touchstones for our lives. The past two weeks, I was reminded, while watching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s riveting PBS documentary series, The Vietnam War, of being a baby boomer who came of age from preteen to young adult during the Vietnam War. Beginning last year, and continuing this year, I watched documentaries and narrative films about the anniversaries of Civil Rights protest marches, riots, and tragedies, most recently the film Detroit. On Friday, the reminiscing continued when I saw the new film, Battle of the Sexes, chronicling the $100,000 tennis television spectacle between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, billed as the “battle of the sexes,” women’s libber vs. chauvinist pig.  Continue reading

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No More 9 to 5!

It’s still winter in Wisconsin. After a week of record-breaking temperatures of spring-like weather — a hopeful tease of things to come — then came the rain, sleet, ice pellets, followed by snow and howling winds. We’re reminded that winter remains for a few more weeks before spring arrives. Spring is a season of hope and new beginnings. So is my life today, as I cross the threshold of my third act. Cue up Dolly Parton, no more “9 to 5.”  Continue reading

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One Is NOT the Loneliest Number

A Valentine’s Day Dispatch from a “Just One.”

First, I want to go on record that yes — I would L-O-V-E to be in a long-term, committed, romantic relationship with the right person — heck yes — perhaps I’d even consider getting married again, unlikely, but possible. Having said that, I must admit that being single, or “just one,” is not the loneliest number, despite the lyrics of the song One (click to hear Harry Nilsson perform the song) made famous by Three Dog Night, which was written by Harry Nilsson, who is one of my favorite songwriters, (I know I’m dating myself here). H-m-m-m — “dating myself” ­ — it’s kind of a metaphor for being single on Valentine’s Day. 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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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

“I watch the ripples change their size
but never leave the stream
of warm impermanence
so the days float through my eyes” — David Bowie, Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

The summer is beginning to wind down and autumn is right around the corner. I often muse about the changing seasons this time of the year and reflect on my life, time-hopping from the past to the future, then back to today. Though it’s common to look back at the preceding year on New Year’s Eve or look ahead to the coming year the next day, I usually follow the school year calendar and my annual staycation. Some habits are hard to break. Continue reading

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Ode to Blue-Collar Working Class Heroes

“There’s room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill”
 —John Lennon, Working Class Hero

In July both the Republican and Democratic Presidential Conventions concluded. Each party, their supporters, speakers, and candidates have driven stakes, describing in detail— some more than others — their position on the issues, their plans for the future, and identified who their party represents, or not. The Republicans embraced fear, law and order, and promised to “Make America Great Again.” The Democrats expressed optimism for the future and reaffirmed that America is already great, in fact, in the words of Michelle Obama, “This right now is the greatest country on earth.” And as a people, we are “Stronger Together.”  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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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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Full Moon on Christmas Day: Part II

Christmas Present and Christmas Future

“Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.” — Cheryl Strayed

This is Part II of a personal essay on the holidays. The subject of Part I was pre-holiday musings and reminiscing about childhood Christmas celebrations past. I’m grateful to my parents for their gifts to me, most importantly their love, nurturing, and support and for the delight I experienced on Christmas morning as a child when I saw the decorated tree and gift-wrapped presents.

Part II is also recognition that things change; we experience loss in our life as we age. Loved ones leave us, others die, and some traditions are more difficult to sustain.  People move across country, move on from childhood to adulthood, and sometimes family members and loved ones create chasms too difficult to bridge. Continue reading

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