View Dale Borman Fink's profile

Of navigational impairment and the kind of adventure I never intended by
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(58 Stories)

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Had someone drugged the soft drink they served me, at the offices of the mining company where my newfound friends needed to make a stop? Was I influenced by the sultry thirty-something woman who insisted that I receive my first lesson in appraising sapphires?
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Without Retrospect, we’d all just be bidin’ our time by
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(58 Stories)

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I am so grateful to Retrospect for giving me the avenue and the structure to bring these stories to life.
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Some dream of bedding a person–others just dream of a bed! by
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(58 Stories)

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She wanted me to be her instrument; I just wanted to be her fearless union leader.
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All aboard! Next stop, Bellefontaine! by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Planes and Trains

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“Where’s the bowl, Daddy?” “You don’t need a bowl. Watch this.”
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About that curse, and those few drops of blood by
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(58 Stories)

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in spite of the King's precautions, the princess, who is described as a free spirit, stumbles into...someone working at a spindle. The spindle draws a few drops of her blood...
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“Everything I have is yours” by
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(58 Stories)

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A local jazz singer had called and asked if she might come and sing at Dad's bedside. Would he like that? And would it be all right if she brought along a male vocalist she had in mind?
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A dream, an encounter, a magical moment (and more) by
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(58 Stories)

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When Dave returned to the phone and told me the call had been from a “John Steptoe,” I thought my roommates were playing a practical joke.
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The ancient lodge of the cyclist: “We’re old but we’re steadfast.” by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Riding a Bicycle

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If,a guy isn’t sure what brand of bike he is riding, then you know he’s not in the fraternity. Members not only know what brand they are riding but can tell you whether it’s made of carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium, or steel.
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A guy asks for a pack of Lucky’s but the guy gives him Camels! by
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(58 Stories)

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“Tell me what you read, and I can tell you what you are.” A man said, “I read Spinoza, Shakespeare, Plato and Kant.”
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Turning 40 by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Special Birthdays

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As I made the ascent, I took one bite of apple at a time and challenged myself to see how long I could keep each bite in my mouth before swallowing.
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Irresistible–but banned by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Banned Books

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It was the scrotum of a canine, not even that of a boy or a man that got this award-winning book banned from certain schools and libraries.
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“Can you see the board?” “Yes, I can see the board.” by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By The Eyes Have It

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A few months into second grade, Mom said, “Mrs. Floyd was wondering if you’re having trouble seeing the board. Are you?” “No, Mommy. I can always see the board.”
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First the teeth. Then the car. Then the girl. by
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(58 Stories)

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At the very first event of the reunion—a meetup for those of us who had begun participating in a class list-serve to help us get reacquainted before we met in person--I met the girl.
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A New Hope by
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(58 Stories)

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She rings up the order. She is not wearing a mask. I am not wearing a mask.
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A new look at the tools of a writer’s craft by
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(58 Stories)

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OK, I admit it. I’m not competent at assembly projects, although I do live with one gigantic IKEA wardrobe that I managed to put together by dint of much time, sweat, and profanity.  I am repurposing for “Retrospect” this poem that I wrote a number of years ago. WRITER’S WORKSHOP (Deer Isle, Maine) The view…
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Of Fast Breaks and Thin Mints by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Guilty Pleasures

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With Louie Dampier's basketball prowess setting the stage, I learned just how delicious it could be to eat Thin Mints and Trefoils while listening to or watching tournament basketball.
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The birth of a country story-song by
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(58 Stories)

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Trump was the opposite of everything represented by the big man who worked in the mine. I began with an opening verse whose phrasing was very close to the original. Every morning at the Tower, you could see him arrive With soft, small hands, he weighed two-forty-five Wore an extra-long tie, stared at all the girls’ tits And everybody knew you didn't give no lip to Mean Don
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Call the City Desk! by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Newspapers

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Decades before there was Google, there was “the City Desk.” It wasn’t a digital resource; it was an actual person picking up a phone and dutifully looking for an answer to any reasonable question you posed. “How does the population of Indiana (where I grew up) compare to that of our neighboring states—Ohio and Illinois?”…
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The Boys of Summer (of 1960) by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Group Photos

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A group photo of my Fall Creek Little League team from the north side of Indianapolis in the summer of 1960 evokes a cavalcade of memories and reflections. It gives the lie to any assertion that group photographs, as a genre, are stiff or staid or a matter of meaningless formality. This one helps me…
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A cup of tea, a game of backgammon, and memories of Mao by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Snowy Days

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Dan and Sally invited me in, and with their daughter, we played backgammon, and they made me a cup of tea and offered me some cookies.
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On the way to Toledo by
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(58 Stories)

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To play the “Gas Station Game,” you began by taking turns choosing different brands of gas, the way you might pick players on a pickup baseball or touch-football team. He would pick first—that was just the rule—and he would always pick Standard,
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Greetings from Skampy and Bucko and the whole family by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Holiday Letters

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Humans are so superficial! They love the blue jay because of its striking color. Don’t they ever notice what a bully and a pest he is?
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And now for an unexpected interruption of logical sequence by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Comic Relief

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He would hold the instrument behind his back in his left hand, the bow behind his back in the right, and play. Once he had your attention, he would proceed to lie down on the living room carpet and continue, with no loss of rhythm or resonance
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Just a pack of gum for Chanukah by
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(58 Stories)

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Mom probably figured, “Dale has never in his life had his own package of gum. He only gets to chew a piece now and then when someone offers him a stick.
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A more rustic form of “chain letter” by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Chain Letters

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Instead of glancing at their cellphones or GameBoys while walking around the streets, everyone would be furtively eyeing the trees, searching for evidence of that crevice or fissure that might hold a secret treasure.
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The time I didn’t stand up by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Regrets

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Within the next few years, the American Academy of Pediatrics would declare that no child should have her or his recess taken away because of their classroom conduct,..
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Love, baseball, and literature in a time of cancer by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Lemons to Lemonade

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Jacob and I had our baseball mitts with us. During my recovery, after I moved into the Family Lodge with them, we played catch on the lawn, trying not to let the ball go into the flower beds.
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“Terrifying and beautiful,” in pen and ink and oil paint by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Children's Books

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The book pretends to be about Philippe Petit. But its hidden subject is about how those who listen are supposed to act in the face of fear. What if there are winds swirling, and what if material objects—even the most massive ones imaginable--turn out to be anything but fixed and permanent?
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“Como ameneciste?” by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Manners

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The people of "La Po’lvora," and especially the children, will always remain in my heart and mind as exemplars of the utmost courtesy and compassion in a time of dire need. They showed us something much deeper than just “good manners.”
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One child’s path from marginalization to equality by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Inequality

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My own reconnecting with Laurel took place during the December holidays, spring breaks, or summers, the only times I was home from Harvard. I recall how special it was ...picking her up from the House family and bringing her home for the weekend.
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The Slurping of the Soup by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Pet Peeves

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And he cooked with a smiling twinkle,/His paring knife a-twinkle,/ His graters and ladles a-twinkle, as he prepped an amazing potage.
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A shave to remember by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Haircuts

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“Let your beard grow for 30 days. And quietly remind yourself That you are a son in mourning for your mother."
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A Letter from the TRANSITIONAL RETIREMENT ZONE by
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(58 Stories)

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As I prepared to clear out my office, the authorities began to inform me and the rest of my cohort that a dread disease was raging across the land, and that we were especially prone to catch it. Few of us believed it, but as you know, one plays along.
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A great big, beautiful tomorrow—and a cherished yesterday by
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(58 Stories)

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“There’s a great big, beautiful tomorrow, shining on the end of every day. There’s a great big, beautiful tomorrow, and tomorrow’s just a dream away.”
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Tonsillectomy, Age Three by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By First Memory

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My tonsils are out A nurse speaks: “Do you want ice cream, or ice chips?”
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A picnic with Velma by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Reconnecting

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She didn’t seem thrown off by how forward I was, or by the fact that I had not bothered to give her any advance notice I was even going to be in her region of the country! Or by the suddenness of this entreaty following a gap of 16 years.
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The Valentine’s Day When I Turned My Opinion Column into a Personal Ad by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Valentine's Day

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Why not put aside issues of public concern and instead use my column for a private purpose: to advertise my availability as a single man?
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“Get yourself a hat so you look like somebody!” by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Hats

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He traced his commitment to wearing hats to his first jury trial.
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Counter-Inaugural 1973 by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Inaugurations

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I marvel at the significance of having an elected official there to register his dissent against a sitting President from his own party.
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Who wrote the Book of War? by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Good Trouble

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We painted the door green, and then in white we painted, “Dean of Repression.” We brought the door to the plaza in front of Holyoke Center, and attracted a crowd with our kazoos, our tambourines, and our RAT songs.
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An art exhibition during a pandemic by
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(58 Stories)

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I was missing those illustrated elevator rides. I was regretting that we wouldn’t be able to go to lunch together after the appointment in the third-floor cafeteria, with its salad bar, its fish baked on the premises, its hardy soups, its many dessert choices. 
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Seeking help is a good thing! Self-reliance? Not so much. by
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(58 Stories)

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I realize the only experience you’ve had of asking for help from a teacher in your entire school career came in your calculus class during senior year—and that was traumatic for you.
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The most wonderful “thank-you”–without those words ever being spoken by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Thank You

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Was it that kind of child-centered activity that made Anissa look back on that time, and on me, with such fondness?
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A different form of binge-watching by
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(58 Stories)

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The equipment I am using...is not a traditional stationary bike: not even one of those souped-up Peloton bikes that are so highly promoted.  it is one of my own road bikes, minus its rear wheel.
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Riding in the dark: a high school memory by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Hello Darkness

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Dan seemed to implicitly understand the concept of ethos, which I learned about two to three decades later. It comes from Aristotle, and it means establishing credibility, giving the audience a reason why they should listen to what you have to say.
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“Full field investigation” by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Interviews

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What was it like for my neighbors to have an FBI agent knock on their doors in December 1970 and ask questions about me.
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Gluttonous for glory–spelling glory, that is! by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Spelling

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Floating somewhere unknown, however, was the fateful word gluttony, gearing up to topple me at some future moment when I might bite off more spelling splendor than I could chew.
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We have no problems, mon. Only situations. by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Volunteering

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I found myself talking during naptime one day to Rosita, the Urban Court staffer whose job was to conduct outreach for the new program. I started asking her a lot of questions and soon found myself recruited to the training.
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Home from college by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Pandemic Holidays

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Now it’s my turn. I have a son who comes home from college.
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Richard to the Rescue by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Fads and Trends

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I made mental notes and subtle comparisons and contrasts between the Beatles, the Dave Clark 5, the Kinks, the Moody Blues, the Searchers, the Zombies. I
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Not just the very first customers–we were the only customers! by
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(58 Stories)

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I had learned that as a general rule in France, one could eat breakfast much more economically in a bar—and more swiftly too--than in a bistro, restaurant, or brasserie.
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There’s a lot of that going around lately by
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(58 Stories)

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I don’t believe either of us campaigned on any issues, stands, or ideas. I do remember some of my slogans.
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Joey’s button by
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(58 Stories)

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I knew Grandma Geitel as a seamstress, a maker of chicken soup with knaidelach, someone who drank hot tea in a glass with sugar cubes, and someone who liked to gossip about her eight sisters and their lives and times.
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An Unforgettable Ride by
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(58 Stories)

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Is it really the ride boards that I miss most from the era that preceded our high-tech world? Is it the different channels that existed for making human connections?  Is it the seemingly greater opportunities for adventure, even for risk-taking?
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The Phone Call by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Final Farewell

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The names that populated his stories brought his remembered world to life.Hugh E. Morgan walking along Broad Street in the 1920s...John Roth, forever known to his peers as “Skunky Roth,”... Jim Parva, an umpire...who alternated between a falsetto and bass voice in calling balls and strikes...
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A Walk on the Beach by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Rites of Passage

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I don’t know whether any grains of sand got into my toes, but a new idea entered my head. It was time to leave the marriage behind.
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Reciting by heart–and from the heart by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By Brain Games

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As most language was eluding her, it was wonderful that she was able to profit from the memorization exercises of her childhood.
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Roselle’s Cactus by
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(58 Stories)

Prompted By The Garden

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I watered it as faithfully as I heated up boiling water for tea—in fact, I would fetch water for my teapot and fill the watering can for the cactus in a single trip
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