Women and Children in Need

living in poverty
Photograph by Steve Liss

When my husband was a little boy, according to court documents, his mother, a widow, left him and his sister in the care of “vicious and immoral people, without proper food or sanitation.”  Due to her neglect, the county removed her youngest two children—my husband and his sister—from the residence and she lost all parental rights.  The older daughter, thirteen-years-old and pregnant, was sent to a state school for girls, where her baby was born and placed for adoption.  An older son, age sixteen, joined the army.  My husband and his sister were ultimately separated from each other.  When he was two and a half and she was five, they were adopted by different families.  They never saw their mother again. Continue reading Women and Children in Need

Roots, Trees, Facts, and Fiction

cropped-untold-story.jpgAlex Haley’s book, Roots, first sparked my interest in the study of family history. It fostered an acute awareness in me of the strength, the pure willpower of each of our fore-bearers, to survive. The legacy we all share, regardless of our biological beginnings, is that we are all descendants of survivors—generation after generation of survivors. That book gave me a better understanding of the miracle that each one—in his or her own place and time—survived at least long enough to produce what would become us! You know, that is an astounding thing when you think about it. Continue reading Roots, Trees, Facts, and Fiction

The Spirit of Poetry

bluebird sings
E. M. Forster, the English novelist, short story writer, and essayist whose work was one of my earliest inspirations, remains one of my favorite English authors. Forster’s creed of life can be summed up in two words, “only connect”, taken from the epigraph to his novel, Howard’s End.

The first of Edward Morris Forster’s work I read was his essay, What I Believe, and his words had a very personal affect on me.  It seemed as though I had met a new friend with whom I shared a “secret understanding” and felt reassured about my own beliefs. Continue reading The Spirit of Poetry

Down Home Sickness

Home sickness image
“He came with her.  Mary said it didn’t matter what anybody thought.”

“Mary’s the daughter?”

“No-o-o-o.  Mary’s the mother.  I can’t remember what the girl’s name is, but she’s the one that lives up north, someplace in New York.  Anyway, that’s where she met that nigger man she married.”

“Mother, please.”

“What?  Why, I have to watch everything I say to you, Lana!” Continue reading Down Home Sickness

Sycamore Trees Make Me Lonesome

Sycamore-Trees-Pictures-2Just up the road from our driveway, in the yard of the house at the corner, there grows this ancient sycamore tree. I am sure it is ancient—it’s gigantic. Its white and gray mottled bark wraps a trunk as large in diameter as a medium size tabletop. In places, the bark peels and curls away, like dried hide, revealing smooth white skin underneath. And its leaves, resembling great webbed maple leaves often as broad as eight inches, quickly cover the ground when they start to fall—pieces of brown and yellow parchment for a child to rustle around in, or to make pretend dresses from as I recall. Every time I notice that old tree, something similar to melancholy comes over me, and I am reminded of years past, and feel unsettled, sad. Continue reading Sycamore Trees Make Me Lonesome

Aging Has Its Perks

Old woman and flowrsA long time friend emailed the following piece to me a few years back, one of those “forwards” we like to share from time to time, and because it came to me without the actual author’s name, I am sorry that I can not give credit to the source. But I’m sure it was written by a wise, thoughtful, fun-loving woman!  I would like to re-post it here:

I would never trade my amazing friends, wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.  As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of  myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating  that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but  looks so avante garde on my patio.  I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. Continue reading Aging Has Its Perks

There is A Story There

writing cover

As a genealogist, I often discover occurrences where the facts beg to be more closely examined. Odd circumstances poke at my natural skepticism. Actual recorded facts, or the absences thereof, nag at me and I wonder what happened? Why? In order to ease frustration accompanying the realization that some things can never be known, I simply don my fiction writer’s cap and let the process begin, for there is always a story there. Continue reading There is A Story There