God’s Web of Connection

(My dear Aunt Velma died two weeks ago. She was my father’s youngest sister, just thirteen years older than me, and one of my favorite aunts. She was a master storyteller, never passing up the opportunity to tell us nieces and nephews another story. The one below moved me so deeply I felt compelled to…

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Lullabies, continued

(Note: If you missed my previous November 19 post, “Lullabies,” it might be helpful to begin with that before moving on to this one.) “Thank you for singing me to sleep last night,” I said to my California daughter-in-law the morning after she and her two children arrived at our house the week before Christmas.…

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Lullabies

Part I I’ve been catching up on some podcasts from the past, and the other day I listened to an episode of “We Made you a Song” by The Steel Wheels. The person for whom the song was written in this episode requested a lullaby. She described singing to a child at bedtime as a…

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Wash Day

This chapter didn’t make it into my memoir, even though it was one of my favorites. It holds happy and satisfying memories that make me wish I could sneak back into the past for an afternoon—to sit and watch Grandma iron and listen to her stories. Maybe ask her a few questions I didn’t know…

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Rosa Returns, or A Thin Place on Grant Avenue

(Note: I wrote this seven years ago, shortly after the Memorial Day weekend when this event took place. We still lived in Manassas at that time. The new inhabitants of Rosa’s house were close family friends of hers, and by extension had become our friends as well.) Rosa and I were the only two people…

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Rosa

One of the people I think of on Mother’s Day is Rosa. For twenty-four of the years we lived in Manassas, she was my next-door neighbor. Our backgrounds were very different. She was of French Huguenot ancestry, grew up Methodist, and converted to the Catholicism of her husband. There were political issues on which we…

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Check it Out!

A good friend and member of my writing group, Saloma Furlong, has just posted a short interview with me on her website. She poses a number of questions about my writing process, how I look at it and how I experienced it. Check it out here, if you are interested. We are offering a drawing…

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College Mennonite Church

I’ve just recently talked with my Aunt Dot by phone. She is the remaining member of my mother’s family and is now past her mid-nineties and heading toward one hundred. My mind went back to something I wrote the year she turned ninety, when as many family members as possible gathered to celebrate with her.…

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Watching Aunt Esther

Many mornings I watched Aunt Esther dress. Her bedroom was across the hall from our upstairs living room. I’d go and sit on her bed waiting for her to come from the bathroom in her housecoat. Her dressing ritual was unvarying. She always began with her girdle, the literal foundation of her clothing. It held…

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Paper Dolls

Those of you who have read The Blistering Morning Mist might remember the story about my mother’s paper dolls, the ones I didn’t want to be divided. They still exist, undivided, after almost 100 years. The other day I was searching for something in a storage box of her things and came across them. Glancing…

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