Tag Archives: Sisters

Another Dispatch from the Hideout

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu

It seems that I’ve retreated to the hideout again. For those not familiar with my earlier post, the hideout is a virtual one, described as follows, “I don’t have a cabin in the woods, or a bunker in the basement, I only have my home, a 645-square foot apartment. It’s where I wake up in the morning, retreat at the end of the work day, hideout on the weekends when I’m writing or feeling introverted, and end my days, often falling asleep on the couch watching TV. Yeah, I’m that girl. I live alone and most days I’m happy with that choice.”   Continue reading

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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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Marching, Mourning, & the Meaning of It All

How marching with the pink pussyhat power posse of my family and friends — and people from all over the world — helped me mourn and mark the anniversary of my mother’s death.

My mother’s favorite color was pink. I grew up in a home in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s that boasted a curvaceous coral pink sectional couch. Our bathroom was always painted pink, with bubble gum pink towels, little pink perfumed soaps, and plastic pink flowers. Mom always dressed in pink, including the day we buried her. At the visitation, our family wore pink in her memory; pink flower sprays adorned her white casket and flanked her like honor guard sentries. When family members returned home after the funeral service and burial — the sky was resplendent in pink — a message from our mother wishing us safe travels. 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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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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The Tale of Two Quilts

“What goes around comes around.” — The basic definition of how karma, the law of cause and effect, works.

“And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take.” — Lyrics from the Beatles song, The End, composed by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon-McCartney. It was the last song recorded collectively by all four Beatles from the album, Abbey Road.

This is a tale of two quilts, two long-term relationships, two sisters and two lessons about karma.   Continue reading

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Conversations w/My Next Girlfriend: Episode 8

Note: This is eighth in a series of imaginary conversations with my next girlfriend.

Dear Next Girlfriend,

This past weekend I returned to my hometown of Racine, Wisconsin to celebrate the wedding of my niece Jennifer and her spouse Becky. They were married earlier this summer when same sex marriage was legalized in Wisconsin. They’ve been committed, loving partners for 12 years. I wish you could have joined me; it was a wonderful event and for me an affirmation that love is love, especially when families are able to accept, support and love their LGBTQ relatives and welcome their partners unconditionally. I am grateful to be a member of that kind of family. Continue reading

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Home for the Holidays

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” — Oscar Wilde, A Woman of of Importance

In less than two weeks I’ll travel home to Racine, Wisconsin for the Thanksgiving holiday along with countless other families and friends all over the country who will travel to celebrate with loved ones.  I also scheduled a few days off of work to use some vacation days before I lose them when my work anniversary arrives the beginning of December. At first I thought I’d have staycation time for myself at home before and after the holiday, to tackle some “to-do if I want to items” and see a couple of film matineesand then I talked with my parents. Continue reading

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Boomer’s Playground

“What can ever equal the memory of being young together?”  ― Michael Stein, In the Age of Love

Perhaps it’s because it’s the day after Halloween and the sight of all those delighted kids in costumes, maybe it’s due to social media and the TBT (Throw Back Thursdays) photos on Facebook. It may also be prompted by friends and family who are amateur historians and family genealogists, or maybe it’s simply because I’m at the age and I’ve become that older person who likes to reminisce about the past. I remember the past as being a simpler time. As a memoir writer I can also edit my stories, edit my past, and remember the glory days. Some days it’s comforting to remember just the good times. Continue reading

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A Triptych of Films about Family Love

“Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” — David Ogden Stiers

During the past week, I’ve seen three films, Love Is Strange, This Is Where I Leave You, and The Skeleton Twins.  What do a story about gay partners who marry after 40 years together and then lose their income and home, a family sitting Shiva after the death of their father and husband, and twins estranged for ten years who reunite after one of them attempts suicide, all have in common? What is the familiar theme? Quite simply, like David Ogden Stiers quote it’s family and, “…no one gets left behind or forgotten.” Continue reading

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