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Badges? I ain’t got no stinkin’ badges.* by
50
(59 Stories)

/ Stories

Alas, I have no buttons, pins or badges. Well, I do have a David Bowie pin, a couple peace pins, and a Save The Whales pin. But ever since I got flipped off and practically run off the road because of the “Make Love Not War” and assorted bumper stickers along a similar vein on…
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Charlie by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Pets

/ Stories

Day before yesterday, legs unsteady, he led Garth on a slow walk, no leash. I wondered what had become of them, walked up to the corner and waited. There they came. Yesterday, he let us know he was ready. Our hands on him while the vet administered the dose, we cried, cried some more as…
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The Sounds of Silence by
50
(59 Stories)

/ Stories

What sounds will the next generation simulate? The silence of eyes staring at screens?
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The Look by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Shoes

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Slightly offbeat (as in beatnik), evocative of ‘50s cinema — think Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot — they still look great with skirts of just about any length and style, and with shorts, capris, athleisure wear, and boyfriend or skinny jeans.
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Tattoo Me by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Rites of Passage

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Because all appearances to the contrary, I tended to play it safe...
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Vanity Insanity by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Hair

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I have down-to-there hair. It has almost always been shoulder length or longer. Once, as I was getting into my car, a guy driving by leaned out his window and shouted, “Don’t ever cut your hair!” It’s the first thing people notice about me and, if meeting me for the first time, almost always comment on. I…
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My Daily D.O.S.E. by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Brain Games

/ Stories

The reason brain games are so satisfying is purely scientific: chemicals. We get a DOSE of them when we succeed...
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Back to the Garden by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By The Garden

/ Stories

The minute I saw the prompt, I heard Joni Mitchel singing...
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Found by
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(59 Stories)

Prompted By Lost and Found

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Two men walk along my street, a red string catches one’s eye. He picks it up, admires what he has found, and lovingly presents it to the other.
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Instant Gratification by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Fame

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This is a good morning; sometimes we’re both in the single digits.
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It’s About Time by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Yard Sales

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Ric was a seasoned picker. He taught me to keep an eye out for those special items that spoke to me.
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The Watchers by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By I Swore I'd Never

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“So Mom, guess what happened today?” She’s washing, I’m drying. The house is finally quiet, everyone is settling down, and it’s the first time we’ve been alone together all day. “Oh, Barb, just tell me, I don’t have time to play games.” I know exactly what she’s thinking. This happens every single night. “Remember I…
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Pecking Order by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Birth Order

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I was one of five children growing up. Larry was about four years older than I was, Ricky four years younger, and Keith and Kevin six years younger. So in our family hierarchy, Ricky and I shared billing as middle children.
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The Forgiven by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Forgiveness

/ Stories

I’ve had my fair share of opportunities to forgive if not forget. (If I do forget, which happens, it’s because I’m forgetful, not because I decide to. You can’t decide to forget…you just do.) I’ve felt varying degrees of anger, hurt, or a mixture of the two by slights and outright betrayal. But in most…
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I Need A Hug! by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Pandemic Summer

/ Stories

There was hand sanitizer at every place setting, the centerpiece was a bowl filled with rubber gloves, and for desert we had our choice of individually wrapped pastries.
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Longhand by
50
(59 Stories)

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But I don’t want cursive to die. Because from one hand to the next, it’s such a distinctive expression of who each of us is.
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My Second Hometown by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By My Hometown

/ Stories

The Hollywood Hills in relief against a wide swath of sky made for an ever-changing Technicolor backdrop to the north. From our front yard, if we stood under the magnolia tree just so, we could see the domes of the Griffith Park Observatory, famously featured in Rebel Without a Cause. The Hollywood sign was always in sight, a daily reminder that fame and fortune were within our reach.
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Just A Small Town Girl by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By My Hometown

/ Stories

In my memory, it was almost always summer. Our moms served us ice-cold cherry Kool-Aid in gem-colored aluminum tumblers, our hands soon wet with condensation. Sometimes we’d lick our fingers, dip them into the packets of powdery Kool-Aid, then suck them clean, turning our lips and tongues into wet smudges of gaudy color.
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The Auratone & The Odyssey by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Chance Encounters

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...it's all very rushed and intense and exciting there by the curb, as if each of us is exactly who the other is meant to meet at that moment in time.
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I Protest! by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Protests

/ Stories

I'll let their stories speak for themselves, and for me.
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Yep, This Happened by
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(59 Stories)

Prompted By Embarrassment

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The manicure station is close to the door leading to and from the main lobby, and it’s always fun to sit and watch the steady stream of fit figures come and go.
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Verve by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Magazines

/ Stories

The crown jewels of his magazine collection are the first eight issues of Verve. He wouldn't let me touch them, but would instead slowly turn the pages for me.
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More About Aunt Blanche and Uncle Ernie by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Aunts & Uncles

/ Stories

Because, really, how many middle-aged couples would be willing to take in a small child and turn their comfortable lifestyle on its head with bottles and baby food and diapers and naps.
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Evidence by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Memorabilia

/ Stories

Once the spine gives way, the rest is easier, and now I have at it.
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The Cheesecake Chronicles by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Recipes

/ Stories

Some kid named Steven Spielberg was a friend of my boss and, before he landed his first gig, basically squatted in the tiny empty office across from mine.
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Ladder’s ‘Bout to Fall by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Superstition

/ Stories

David, with his long dark hair, and Michael, with his shaggy blonde mane, have formed a band ­— The Lion and The Bear — and they’re booking regular gigs around town. David has also started dealing weed in earnest, so now the cash is flowing from two sources. He’s made some solid connections in both…
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Snippets by
50
(59 Stories)

/ Stories

For the final touch she dabs perfume — Shalimar, always Shalimar — behind her ears, on the inside of her wrists — her pulse points, as she calls them — and giving me a wink, a dab between her breasts.
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panacea for the quiet by
50
(59 Stories)

/ Stories

It’s almost as if I was prepared for this breathtaking pause.
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Extra Money by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Door-to-Door Sales

/ Stories

I also have a few leftover Valentine's cards. Now that I look at them, they seem a tad racy for a kid to be selling...maybe they somehow got mixed in with the others.
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Dream House by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Dreams

/ Stories

We often dream of houses, and of stairways…they’re classic symbols. We enter, exit, ascend and descend the various layers of our psychology, psyche, soul.
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May Day is Lei Day by
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(59 Stories)

/ Stories

Two weeks into our vacation, I don’t want to leave. I’ve fallen in love…with an island. Kauai. “So don’t leave,” Susie says. My best friend is like that. “Stay with us!” “But how would I make a living? What would I do? I wouldn’t want to be a court reporter here, wear stockings and high…
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Laurel Canyon by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Close Calls

/ Stories

We hit it off, our kids gurgle at each other, she could use some help, and the next thing I know I’m serving quiche Loraine, gazpacho, green salad, fruit salad, peach tarts, sparkling water and wine to about thirty members of the cast and crew on an old western set in Chatsworth.
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My Name is Barbara… by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Nicknames

/ Stories

Barbi Benton pretty much owned the spelling of her name, and in the 80s, despite the fact that we had the same hairdo, I was dismissive of her anyway, for being in Playboy, and for being Hugh Hefner’s main squeeze.
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We Are The World by
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(59 Stories)

/ Stories

We set off en masse to a restaurant nearby called The Carnivore where we have cocktails, then nibble from platters of, so help me, wildebeest, zebra, ostrich, and a few other exotic meats. After dining it’s back to the hotel bar for nightcaps.
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Outsider No More by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Finding Your Tribe

/ Stories

I always had a sense of something missing, of being on the outside of myself.
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Caregiving – It’s Complicated by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Caregiving

/ Stories

...so the three of us made up a rotating schedule of who would spend the night with her in her apartment, now retrofitted with a hospital bed in the living room.
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TO MY LEAPLING, MY LEAPIE, MY LEAPER by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Leap Day

/ Stories

Bette Midler loaned one of her legendary mermaid outfits to Susan for the festival parade.
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Genius by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Family Myths

/ Stories

I grew up to the sound of hushed whispering; entering a room and the conversation stopping; discussions behind closed doors . . .
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Can You Tell Me How To Get to Sesame Street? by
50
(59 Stories)

/ Stories

. . . it even had a breathtaking westerly view of the city promising fiery sunsets. That was all the drama I wanted.
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Retirement? Who, Me? by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Retirement

/ Stories

(Sung to the tune of “I Won’t Grow Up” from Peter Pan) I won’t grow up, I don’t want to stay home. And just do whatever I want Like sleep or write a poem.   I won’t grow up, I don’t want to stop working And just do whatever I choose Like Facebook lurking Not…
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Stupor Bowl by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Super Bowl

/ Stories

To me, football looks like huge men pretending to play tag but actually trying to kill each other. Okay, so I’m not exactly a sports fan. When I dated, I’d get that out of the way early on to avoid disappointment down the line. My husband, Garth, does follow sports, but he’s not a true…
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Moving Days by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Moving Day

/ Stories

I’d been flying into closed windows, falling to the ground momentarily dazed, then picking myself up and taking flight again.
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GHOSTS by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Snail Mail

/ Stories

Or maybe that’s part of why I eventually “ghosted” him. I didn’t yet have the maturity, the empathy, the compassion that being involved with someone like him would have required in the long term.
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Who’s Your Daddy Now? by
50
(59 Stories)

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I guess I’m looking for signs that he’s my father, but he just looks like, seems like, acts like an ordinary man to me, any man.
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Time and Again by
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(59 Stories)

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I decide to track him down through Dorrie, a mutual friend I’d almost but not quite lost track of...
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To Be or Not To Be by
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(59 Stories)

Prompted By Get Organized

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Someone else will just have to do my dirty work, someone without a sense of attachment, someone who won’t feel like they’re severing a lifeline to a lifetime.
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Chafing at “Charity” by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Charity

/ Stories

I knew what they were doing, they were helping me out, but they were doing it in a way that allowed me to feel as if I were also helping them out.
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Blue on Blue by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Baby Books

/ Stories

Once an art teacher had given our class a homework assignment to collect photos for a collage, including a baby picture. When I’d asked my mom for one, she’d told me my baby pictures had been lost in a flood; yet, here they are.
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I’m Just Wild About…Owie by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By The Crush

/ Stories

I groan with muffled desire and slide down in my seat, but before I know it my mom pulls over and gestures for him to hop in.
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Who’s Your Daddy? by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Surprise!

/ Stories

I have the distinct impression of brightening light, as if the sun has just moved out from behind a cloud.
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Get Over It by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Ageism

/ Stories

As we’d let our fingers do the walking earlier in the day, Garth holds up his iPhone to show him the item we're looking for. There it is, supposedly in stock, in this store.
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 “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah” (Bully Anthem) by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Bullying

/ Stories

A cootie is a body louse, but it’s also a children’s term for an imaginary germ or repellent quality transmitted by another child who is perceived as different.
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Scams and Shams by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Hacks and Scams

/ Stories

We pair up with strangers, hold hands and look into each other’s eyes for an extended period of time; we change partners and smile goofily at one another for another extended period of time; we fall backwards into yet another stranger’s arms and trust that we’ll be caught.
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Word Nerd by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Working

/ Stories

As a court reporter, I am an officer of the court, and as such, I get some respect. I cover my ‘shroom tattoo with a Band-Aid and wear stockings and high heels.
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Janet by
50
(59 Stories)

/ Stories

A man would be waiting for us—not always the same man—then off they would go and I would sit with her infant daughter, already fast asleep in her crib. 
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Word Games by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Games People Play

/ Stories

This time I was prepared. I knew what they wanted: not only smarts, but big energy, personality plus.
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Road Rage At Any Age by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Road Rage

/ Stories

But road rage has a way of sneaking up on you, and you’re embroiled in it before you have time to actually think.
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Aunt-Blanche-Uncle-Ernie-and-Carla by
50
(59 Stories)

/ Stories

I know this house by heart. It’s actually more of a bungalow, with whitish exterior stucco walls and a brick-red tile roof. It sits at the front of a small courtyard, and I am often brought onto the little front porch where I sit in my wooden high chair and watch the world go by.
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Almost Famous by
50
(59 Stories)

Prompted By Fame

/ Stories

As a budding talent, at 13 I auditioned for Gidget (Sandra Dee got the part) and, at 14, Pollyanna (Hayley Mills got that one). Alas, I was shyer, scrawnier and frizzier than pretty much every girl I competed with, yet compete I did as I was sure the right role would release the extremely cute and bubbly teenager that lived inside me.
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