Spring Cleaning

April 12, 2015


It’s spring here. In this area of Nevada, that means the pollen lies on the ground like a yellow blanket. I alternate between a runny nose and a stopped-up head. My Sterling Silver roses have gone insane and are blooming in groups of five or six on a single stem. I reward them with coffee…

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April 3, 2015


A woman needs other women in her life. I need the kind of friend who will take me aside and tell me there’s a run in my stocking or that I have spinach in my teeth. In “Lonesome Dove,” when Gus brings the prostitute Lorena to ex-girlfriend Clara’s house in the middle of the prairie,…

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Belle Isle

March 26, 2015


I grew up in the forties and fifties on the east side of Detroit. My favorite park was Belle Isle. It was a magic place, nine hundred and eighty two acres in the middle of the Detroit River. My daddy used to take me there to ride in the pony carts or on saddle. We…

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Better Times

March 14, 2015


I had lunch a few days ago with my daughter and one of her childhood friends. She’d just turned fifty and was lamenting getting older. I managed to pretty much hold my tongue and not reveal too much of what’s ahead for her. There are signs along the way to the place in your life…

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St. Paul Street, Detroit, 1948

March 4, 2015


In the summertime and on days off school, the turn of the century houses disgorged children of assorted ages and types immediately after breakfast. An alley divided the block. Once a week, a horse-drawn wagon came down the alley with an old, black man calling out, “Shee-neee!” Mothers left what broken-but-maybe fixable household discards they…

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White Brocade

February 24, 2015


The Christmas present I loved the best was the little red and white Singer sewing machine my father gave me when I was four or five. I had no interest in dolls except to make their clothes, a skill I must have inherited from my Aunt Dorothy, who spent her life making the most beautiful…

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Maurice Salad

February 15, 2015


I made my own wedding dress. I remember buying the fabric in the basement fabric department at Hudson’s Department Store on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. I loved that store. Shopping there meant I had moved up in the world. Hudson’s opened in 1911. At 410 feet, it was the tallest department store in the world….

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don’t ever start a question with a math problem

February 11, 2015


I’d like to say I have at least a love-hate relationship with math, but there’s no love involved. Start a question to me with “How much is…,” and I will cringe and ferret out a pencil and paper so I can cope with the rest of what’s on your mind. Better yet, don’t ever start…

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February 2, 2015


November has always been a momentous month in my life. I married in November, had my first child in November, and last year, I published Maude my grandmother’s biography, on November 17th. I worked on it off and on for ten years and knew the time had come to complete the work. After two agents…

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Comfort Food

January 24, 2015


There were no cookbooks or recipe cards in Grandma Mayse’s pantry. Grandma never measured anything. When she got up in the morning, she put her cobbler’s apron over her housedress and went to the kitchen. Most of her day was spent there, preparing one meal or another. I remember her chicken and dumplings as my…

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