View Dana Susan Lehrman's profile

Bike Trail by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Riding a Bicycle

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My friend Alice The summer we bought our weekend house in a Connecticut community friends invited us to lunch and introduced us to Alice and her husband David. I learned that Alice had a doctorate in music,  had worked in both the music and the publishing worlds,  sang in a New York chorus,  and was…
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17 Gas Stations by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Car Trouble

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DISCLAIMER :  Not exactly a car trouble story,  more like trouble in the car. The question is,  why won’t men stop to ask directions? The answer may be in John Gray’s well-known book Men are From Mars,  Women are From Venus.   Or in another fascinating book on gender differences entitled You Just Don’t Understand: Women and…
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Smash-Up by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Car Trouble

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I must confess I’m not the best of drivers. (See  Life is a Highway,  Fender Bender,  and  Rainy Night on the Highway.)
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My Favorite Things by
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(216 Stories)

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I confess I’m not very sentimental.  (See With This Ring and Baby Shoes) But there are some things I own that are older than I am and that I treasure. One is certainly the brass dinner bell my grandmother rang to call the guests to meals at her small Catskill hotel.  (See My Heart Remembers My Grandmother’s Hotel,  Hotel…
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“And that’s the way it is.” by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Broadcast News

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I’ve written about my family dinners as we listened to Lowell Thomas reading the day’s news on our Emerson radio,  and how to my childish sensibility it seemed he was speaking directly to us in the intimacy of our kitchen.   (See Kitchen Radio) Years later on my parents’ black and white TV we watched the…
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Three Noahs by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By What's in a Name

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Noah R,  Noah G,  and Noah L As you may know it’s traditional in Jewish families to give children the names or initials of loved-ones who have died.   And so when we were expectant parents we planned to name the baby after my late father-in-law whose name was Naftali. My woman’s intuition told me…
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The Writing Life by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Why We Write

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Why do we write?   For me words seem to come easily and I enjoy the writing process.   (See Why I Blog) But here’s what some renown writers have to say about their writing life. “I write because I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of living … I must order my life in sonnets…
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Tradition by
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(216 Stories)

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As a child I heard Yiddish spoken by my European-born grandparents and my first-generation American parents,  yet I never had the curiosity to learn to speak it myself. But my parents subscribed to New York’s Yiddish theatre company,  the Folksbiene,  and I’d go with them and follow the plays by reading the English supertitles. When…
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My Father, the Outsider Artist by
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(216 Stories)

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My father Arthur was a wise and quite a wonderful guy,  but I don’t remember him doling out wisdom or advice very often.  Rather he taught by example – he was a man of integrity,  warmth,   and an overwhelming kindness,  although he also had some rather annoying idiosyncrasies!    (See  Saying Farewell to a Special…
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Celebrate Me Home by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Songs We Sang

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I first heard the moving Kenny Loggins song Celebrate Me Home when my husband and I attended a weekend retreat run by a human potential movement called Lifespring.  (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home) I can’t say that weekend radically changed my life as the workshop leader promised,  but it did make me think about the real meaning of home.…
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Jessie’s 79th by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Special Birthdays

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Like most kids I had a yearly birthday party,   and then like many girls of my generation a Sweet Sixteen. In later years we had a wonderful celebration for my son’s 13th birthday at his bar mitzvah.   (see Ghostwriting in the Family) And later a fun party for my husband’s 60th at Yankee Stadium.…
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The Wheat Field by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Mind the Gap

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My grandparents emigrated from eastern Europe,  and my parents lived through a world war – my father sent overseas while my mother worked for the Army on the homefront.  (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home) And like all families there were skeletons in the closet,  and there were suicides on both sides that were whispered about,  and…
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Night Owl by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Sleepy Time

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I’ve always been a night owl,  but once ready for bed I don’t remember having trouble falling asleep – until lately. Blame it on aging,  or Covid concerns,  or worrying about the fate of the planet,  but lately there are nights I toss and turn until the wee hours. So what do I do? Well,…
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My Brown-Eyed Girl by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By The Eyes Have It

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I wear reading glasses, and have had the requisite cataract surgeries,   yet over the years I haven’t given much thought to my eyeglasses or to my changing vision.   But I have thought about the color of my eyes. In Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical masterpiece Carousel, the carnival barker Billy Bigelow soliloquizes about his unborn baby,…
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The Dinner Party by
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(216 Stories)

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“Don’t cry,” she said to me days before she died, “I’ve had a full and very happy life.”
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Danielle Mailer, Artist Extraordinaire by
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(216 Stories)

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Danielle Mailer In her studio  –  Goshen, CT I love art but I don’t think of myself as a real collector,  although I do have 3 Danielle Mailers! Several years ago we were invited to an auction fundraiser by our friend H.  At the time he was director of Wellspring,  a residential treatment center in…
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Dangerous! by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Banned Books

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I read banned books – to protest their banning of course,  but also because they’re invariably such good reads! As you may know,  countless modern classics have been banned or challenged at one time or another,  among them The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,  As I Lay Dying,  Beloved,  The Catcher in the Rye,  The Color Purple,…
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My Grandpa Henry by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Refugees

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HANNAH & HENRY  circa 1915 In the early 20th century there was an influx of East European Jews coming to the States seeking refuge from troubled times at home.   Among them was my maternal grandfather Henry who came with his widowed mother Gertrude,   his younger brother David,  and Gertrude’s elderly and blind widowed…
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Outpatient by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Refugees

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The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is heartbreaking as millions flee their homes and we watch helplessly on the TV news. At the turn of the 20th century,  with the Jewish influx of the time,  both my maternal and paternal grandparents emigrated to the States from Eastern Europe,  my father’s parents from Ukraine. They all came…
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Chipmunk by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By The Great Beyond

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We live in Manhattan and we will love the hustle and bustle of our city life,  but we also love communing with nature on weekends at our woodsy retreat in the Connecticut foothills.  (See Country Living, Wisdom in the Weeds,  and  Pickled) On one recent country weekend I came home from the market with a load of…
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“May You Live in Interesting Times” by
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(216 Stories)

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As we start our third year of this fearsome pandemic it’s hard to believe we’ve gotten through it this far.   Initially I was in a state of disbelief,  and it took me awhile to internalize how serious the situation was.  And then I felt sorry,  very sorry for myself. But in time I saw…
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Posing for the Camera by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Photo Booths

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STEPHANIE & ME,   circa 1965 Before we all took selfies on our cell phones,  and before  “BFF”  and “besties”  were entries in the Urban Dictionary,  Stephanie and I were best friends posing for pictures in a neighborhood photo booth.   We were practically inseparable then and I’ve written before about our long friendship.  (See Postcards…
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Hotel Kittens by
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(216 Stories)

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As you may remember I spent childhood summers at my grandmother Esther’s hotel in the Catskill town of Liberty,  NY.  (See My Heart Remembers My Grandmother’s Hotel,  My Game Mother,  Playing with Fire,  and  The Troubadour) You may also remember that one of my beloved childhood pets – a cat with a beautiful gray coat…
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Our Special Guests by
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(216 Stories)

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My loyal readers may remember that I spent happy childhood summers at my grandmother’s small hotel in the Catskills.  (See My Heart Remembers My Grandmother’s Hotel,  My Game Mother,   Playing with Fire,  and The Troubadour) Here’s another hotel memory,  though this one is bittersweet. Every summer for many years a busload of guests would come up from…
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Say It Ain’t So, Joe! by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Cheating

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Apparently cheating is nothing new,  even the Biblical King David cheated on a wife or two. And cheating in professional sports has been around for a long time too.  Even before Pete Rose and the pine tar,  and the Boston Patriots and Deflategate,  there was Shoeless Joe Jackson and the World Series fix. Joe Jackson was…
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Basement Kitten by
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(216 Stories)

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Always crazy about animals,  I’ve written before about some of my beloved pets over the years,  even my two attention-deficient goldfish!   (See Missing Pussycats,   Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog,  Fluffy and the Alligator Shoes,  ASPCA and Naval Funeral) When D and I were newly married we lived in Westchester in a lovely four-story apartment…
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My Beloved Basement by
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(216 Stories)

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I’ve written before about 2026 McGraw Avenue,  the house in the Bronx where I grew up,  and  in my mind’s eye I can still see every room,  closet,  nook and cranny.   (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home,   Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog,  and  Mr Bucco and the Ginger Cat) And now I even think…
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If It’s Sunday, This Must Be Yorkshire by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Time

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Is it just me or is time flying by? With the new pandemic normal,  and all of us still somewhat in lockdown mode,  you’d think time would be creeping along like the proverbial snail. And you’d think we’d have all the time in the world to catch up on our reading,  or our knitting,  or…
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Time and the Taxi Man by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Time

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Many years ago on the last day of our Jamaican honeymoon the hotelkeeper called a taxi to take us from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay for our flight home. When the driver picked us up he worried aloud that we hadn’t left enough time for the 100 kilometer trip,  and as we left the hotel…
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Taking the High Road by
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(216 Stories)

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In the early 1970s we spent an unforgettable year in London where my husband was working.   (See Kinky Boots,  Valentine’s Day in Foggytown,  and Laundry Day in London) During that time we took wonderful trips around the UK and Europe.  However the only itinerary that we can still recite verbatim is our Scottish road trip. Edinburgh –…
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Moonlight Sonata by
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(216 Stories)

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I’ve written before about my father Arthur who was truly a Renaissance man.  (See Saying Farewell to a Special Guy,  Six Pack,  and My Dad and the Word Processor) By profession Arthur was a family physician who when asked his specialty once quipped,  “I treat the skin and its contents.” And by avocation my dad was a…
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User Manual by
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(216 Stories)

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Although my son says only wimps read directions,  I really need them to assemble mechanical stuff that I buy. Just recently Florida friends sent us a crate of oranges.  We had an old citrus juicer that didn’t work very well,  and so now with all those oranges to squeeze I decided it was time to…
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Press Queen by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Newspapers

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When I was an undergrad at NYU Heights I was a commuter student,  but stayed on campus after classes as much as I could to enjoy the extracurricular college life.  (See Ghostwriting in the Family,  The Fortune Cookie Candidate and Theatre Dreams) Steve,  the editor of the school paper,  was a friend and I’d often stop in…
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On My Honor I Will Try! by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Scouting

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I was never a Brownie – I don’t remember why,  I guess it was just another example of my parents’ negligence.  (See Tennis Woes) Instead,  when I was in 4th or 5th grade,   too old for Brownies,  they signed me up for Girl Scouts.   But most of the other girls in my troop…
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With This Ring by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Lost and Found

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I’m not superstitious or especially sentimental,  and that’s a good thing because over the years I’ve lost some precious pieces of jewelry –  two or three watches,  innumerable earrings,  and even a few wedding rings. When we married my husband gave me a simple band – not of gold or silver but of jade.  …
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Cookies and Milk by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Guilty Pleasures

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Guilty pleasures?   Aside from dark chocolate and hanky-panky in the afternoon: Long baths with good books Long lunches with good friends The anticipatory buzz in the theatre before the curtain goes up Playing tennis on a hot day in a very light drizzle Playing Scrabble any day Yard Sales Waiting in an airport lounge with…
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Both Sides Now by
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(216 Stories)

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In 1968 Judy Collins recorded the Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now,  and I listened to it over and over again. That year I was looking at love from both sides myself,  and in June I got married for the second time. My first marriage had lasted a little over a year.   Yet during that year…
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Pittsburgh Egg Cream by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Comfort Food

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Egg creams are like mother’s milk for us New Yorkers and they’re on the beverage menu in every coffee shop and diner in the five boroughs.   Yet apparently in other parts of the country this ambrosial comfort drink is practically unknown! After visiting friends in Pittsburgh years ago,   we were waiting for our…
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The Cat and the Forshpeiz by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Comfort Food

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As early as the turn of the 20th century,  East-European Jewish immigrants began traveling north from New York City to vacation and escape the summer heat in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. But it was after WWII in the 1940s and 50s that this influx reached it’s peak when over 500 hotels as…
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Box Score by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Newspapers

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When I was a girl growing up in the Bronx dozens of daily and weekly newspapers were being published in New York City.  My parents read the Times,  the Herald Tribune.  and the New York Post which was delivered to our house every afternoon. The Post was founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton as a…
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Frenched! by
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(216 Stories)

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I was 11 years old the first time I went away to camp.   Until then I’d spent wonderful summers with my family at my grandmother’s small Catskill hotel.  (See My Heart Remembers My Grandmother’s Hotel,  My Game Mother,  The Troubadour, and Playing with Fire) But my grandmother had just sold the hotel,  and in fact by…
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Family Photo by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Group Photos

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I never knew my husband Danny’s father Naftali,  sadly he died while Danny was still in college.   But Naftali was one of nine siblings and I had the good fortune to know many of my husband’s  aunts and uncles.   (See  Tracing Our Roots,   College Girl –  for Aunt Hannah,  and  Minyan – for…
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Blizzard by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Snowy Days

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I was born in Charleston, SC where my dad was stationed during WW II.   After the war we returned to my folks’ native New York where they bought a house on the GI bill.  (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home,  Magnolia, The Story of a Garden,  and Mr Bucco and the Ginger Cat) And so it was…
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Spoiler Alert! by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Comic Relief

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When the Chevy Chase movie European Vacation came out I watched it with my son and we thought it was side-splitting. My husband hadn’t seen it and we regaled him with all the funny bits.  Sometime later we all watched it together,  but to our surprise and disappointment my husband didn’t laugh very much. Then he…
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Words with Suzy by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Games People Play

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I’m not much of a gamester although both my parents played bridge,  my dad played chess,  and my mom played mah jongg,   (See My Game Mother) Of course as a kid I certainly played Monopoly and all the other popular board games of the day,  and in fact for years there was a tiny Clue…
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Life is a Highway by
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(216 Stories)

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You may remember that I’ve banged up a few cars in my day, including my husband’s beloved T -bird.  (See Fender Bender and Rainy Night on the Highway) Finally I decided it was time to face the music and so early one Sunday morning I found myself at a mid-town hotel for a day-long AAA defensive driving course.…
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Rainy Night on the Highway by
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(216 Stories)

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I confess I’m not the best of drivers and I’ve had my share of accidents,  and have also taken some blame when I wasn’t even behind the wheel.  (See Fender Bender,  and The Chain Letter and the Fender Bender) Back in the late 60s I was working in a public library and my schedule included a few…
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The Gossips by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Gossip

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The prolific American artist and illustrator Norman Rockwell painted The Gossips in 1948 and like innumerable of his works it graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. As was his habit,  Rockwell used his friends and neighbors as his models,  and in The Gossips he even included himself  – that’s the artist with his ubiquitous pipe in the…
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“I hereby resolve (after eat healthy and exercise more) … by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Resolutions

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to remember that friendships are more important than telling my book club the novel they all think is so great is really trash to be less judgmental when my husband watches news and sports and reruns on MeTV ad nauseam to call my cousins more often to call my friends more often to stop nagging…
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To an Athlete Dying Young by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Poetry

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I remember that day so vividly,  it’s hard to believe it’s been almost 60 years. In the fall of 1963 I was in my senior year at NYU Heights.  (See Ghostwriting in the Family, The Fortune Cookie Candidate  and Theatre Dreams) I was a member of the college theatre group,  and mid-day on Friday,  November 22nd we…
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Spinning for Hanukkah Gelt by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Dice

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You probably don’t have to be Jewish to know about the Hanukkah game called Dreidel. It’s a betting game where each player antes up and then, depending on the spin of the dreidel  –  the four-sided spinning top that serves as the dice –  they take nothing from the pot (NUN),  half the pot (HEY),…
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The Year of Banana Bread by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Holiday Letters

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Dear Family and Friends, As this year draws to a close I’m happy to say despite the pandemic and the lock-downs we were really busy with lots to tell you in my annual holiday letter! Although our travels were a bit limited this year,  we did take many trips back and forth between New York…
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The Corpse in the Office by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Comic Relief

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I grew up in the Bronx on a tree-lined street that bordered the beautifully designed and landscaped housing complex called Parkchester.  (See Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog,  Magnolia, The Story of a Garden,  Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home) There were seven or eight stores on our street,  a bar called The White Gander,  and several…
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GP by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Family Medicine

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My father was a GP with an office on the first floor of our house,  and we lived “over the store”    (See Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog,  Saying Farewell to a Special Guy, and Turkey and Trimmings with Flu Shot) My dad did it all – delivered babies,  took out splinters and appendix,  and…
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My Zuzu by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Regrets

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I’ve written about my beautiful kid sister Laurie – my Zuzu – who died in 2015 at age 61,  after a long and painful battle with MS.   (See Take Care of Your Sister,  Look for the Helpers –  for Laurie) If you’ve read my stories you know how gifted Laurie was,  and at the time…
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The Chain Letter and the Fender Bender by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Chain Letters

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The first story I wrote for Retro was about some rather costly auto body damage I caused when I was driving my husband’s beloved T-bird.   Needless to say he wasn’t happy about that.   (See Fender Bender) Years before we had another fender bender and although that time my husband was driving,  he nevertheless blamed…
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My Blessings by
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(216 Stories)

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November 26 was my father’s birthday and we always celebrated it on Thanksgiving.   Every year my mother hosted with our extended family around the table,  and after the turkey and the fixings there was always a birthday cake,  and toasts to my dad.   He was an especially wonderful soul,  and it’s not hyperbole…
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Flowers on the Windshield by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Parking

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After more than a year together I knew our marriage wasn’t working.   As we had no kids,  no communal property to speak of it,  and little contention between us,  it was a relatively simple divorce.   The grounds A and I agreed on were irreconcilable differences – which I guess is what most divorces are…
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Mr Skeleton by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Trick or Treat?

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Every Halloween when my son was young he and the other kids in our 17 story apartment building would start on the top floor and work their way down ringing doorbells. And for the kids who rang our bell,  we’d set up a spooky tableau with a floppy plastic skeleton we kept for years.  We’d…
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Body and Soul by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Family Medicine

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Our generation may indeed be the last to remember when family doctors made house calls with their little black bags and really got to know their patients.    Nowadays with HMOs and PPOs,  and pre-authorization,  and all the other health insurance red tape and rigamarole,  it may seem harder to find a doctor who has…
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Poke-Nook, the Lost Glove, and My Cousin Isly by
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(216 Stories)

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(After drafting this story,  I learned of the sudden death of our friend Arnie.  May his memory be a blessing.) Our poet and filmmaker friend Arnie Reisman was a regular panelist on Says You,  a witty NPR radio show about words.  Over the years I learned a lot from Arnie and his literate pals.  …
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Don’t Know Much About History by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Regrets

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I’m sure most of us with birthdays inching up to four score haven’t gotten this far in life without chalking up some regrets. Did I pursue my early aspirations for an actor’s life?  I didn’t – a reget.  (See Theatre Dreams) On our honeymoon we met a lovely couple from New Orleans who invited us to…
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Tennis Woes by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Hobbies

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I’ve written recently about my pickleball addiction and also about my long,  and rather lackluster tennis career and my parents’ unforgivable role in it.   (See Pickled) Here’s more about that disappointing chapter in my sporting life. My parents were both athletic,  in facf my father was a really good tennis player in his youth,  although…
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Carving Mr Pumpkin by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Trick or Treat?

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It seems just yesteryear,  in our kitchen Noah at age 5  (did I really let him wield that sharp knife?)  and Sarah at 6  (my friend Celia’s sweet niece,  now a mother herself). Me with a headache  (Dana’s famous migraines,  I once heard Celia call them). Go lie down,  I’ll watch the kids.  Celia said.…
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Ferdinand by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Children's Books

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“Once upon a time in Spain there was a little bull and his name was Ferdinand.”  So begins one of the most cherished children’s books of our time,  and my own childhood favorite. The Story of Ferdinand,  written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson,   was published in 1936 while across the Atlantic…
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Art Imitates Life by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Lemons to Lemonade

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I don’t remember my mother Jessie saying  “When life gives you lemons,  make lemonade”,   but it certainly was her modus vivendi.  (See My Game Mother) Coming of age during the depression in New York’s Far Rockaway,  my mother’s parents were necessarily frugal.   But although money was tight,  her lawyer-father was able to send her…
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Distracted by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Attention Span

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I’m a big reader –  or at least I was.    (See Book Slut, or Why I’m in Six Book Clubs) Actually a therapist once questioned whether I had an attention deficit because I told him I was easily distracted. –  I invariably forget pots on the stove,  and my son is not the only one…
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Never Forget by
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(216 Stories)

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Some of the things I witnessed 20 years ago during that awful September week in New York are seared in my memory and I’ll never forget. (See  9/11) The disbelief and horror as we watched TV news clips of a plane hitting the south tower of the World Trade Center,   then the tower in…
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The Parking Lot Seniority List by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Parking

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For many years until I retired I worked as the librarian at Jane Addams,   a small,  inner-city vocational high school in the infamous south Bronx.   True,  the neighborhood was sketchy,   and the local bank where many of us cashed our monthly paychecks was robbed a couple of times,  but our school was…
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Naval Funeral by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Attention Span

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My friends Tippy and Toppy had the fabled attention span of goldfish.  Whenever I made eye contact with them,   they’d meet my gaze for just a few seconds and then they’d turn away – as if they had bigger fish to fry. But they were dearly beloved friends and always  there for me –…
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Afternoon Tea at Hotel Wales by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Home Repair

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When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 our Manhattan apartment building was severely affected,  we were evacuated and moved to a Marriott hotel three blocks away for a few days .  (See Cooking with Gas) A few years earlier we also had to vacate when during a renovation the construction dust forced us out.  (See  (The Lion,…
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The Purloined Passport by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Senior Moments

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I pride myself on being organized,  in fact organizing became my second career!   (See Second Career) And altho I would tell my organizing clients to keep important documents in a desk or file cabinet,  for some reason I always kept my own passport in my dresser drawer. Several years ago our friend Ken told us…
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Bone of Contention by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Mealtime

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My mother never made much of a fuss over mealtimes,   nor did she take much pride in her own cooking – although I never remember a meal at her table that wasn’t delicious.  (See My Game Mother,   Still Life) She was a high school art teacher,   and came home every afternoon,  tied an apron…
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Country Living by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Home Repair

/ Stories

Although I grew up in a house,  most of my married life I’ve been a Manhattanite and an apartment dweller.  (See (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,  Cooking with Gas) However over the years we did spend many wonderful summers in houses at the beach.   (See The Great Hampton Babysitter Heist,  Menemsha Sunset  and Skinny…
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Skinny Dipping by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Nudity

/ Stories

For several summers in our early,  married-without-children years we rented a beach house with our good friends J and K.   After a few years our friends – serious fishermen by then –  opted for the mountains instead and bought a house near a trout stream.  (See Catskill Weekend) We rented that wonderful beach house by…
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Going Back to Work by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Going to Work

/ Stories

I was working as a high school librarian,   with an easy 20 minute highway commute,  when I discovered  I was pregnant.   I happily applied for a maternity leave and told my principal I’d be leaving a week or two before my mid-March due date.   And by that time – with my big…
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The One Who Got Away by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Dating

/ Stories

Like all red-bloodied,  pubescent American girls of the 50s I certainly did my share of dating. In junior high school we started to pair off and with little information and probably more mis-information about the birds and the bees,  we experimented.   (My cowardly parents,   rather than having that embarrassing conversation,   gave me…
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Carousel by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

Although merry-go-rounds or carousels are usually found at state and county fairs,  the oldest platform carousel in the country,  Flying Horses,  is actually a permanent fixture in the charming town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard where we’ve spent many idyllic summer vacations.  (See Menemsha Sunset) When our son was young we often took him to…
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Male Cornea by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Senior Moments

/ Stories

HIM,  upstairs:  “Do we have Alka Seltzer Plus?” ME,   downstairs:  “Yes,  it’s in the cabinet.” HIM,  upstairs:  “Where? ME,  downstairs:  “It’s in the cabinet in the white bin.” HIM,  upstairs:  “Where?” ME,  downstairs:  “It’s in the cabinet in the white bin on the left side.” HIM, from upstairs:   “Where?” ME,  downstairs getting hot…
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Mr Bucco and the Ginger Cat by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Home

/ Stories

My parents’ first house was on a shady street in the Bronx bought after WW II on the GI bill.  My dad set up his medical practice on the first floor and we lived on the floor above.  (See also Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog,   Magnolia, The Story of a Garden,  and Parkchester, Celebrate…
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Piano Man – Remembering Herb by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By That Summer

/ Stories

My memories of that summer between college and grad school,  when I took a camp job with my friend Liz,  are bittersweet. Liz and I were co-counselors for a bunk of kids,  and I had also signed on as drama counselor.   When we arrived at camp I was introduced to Herb,  the music counselor I’d…
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Booktalker – Remembering Sandra by
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(216 Stories)

/ Stories

During my working life I put up with a lot of teasing about whether I fit the stereotype of a librarian.   If it meant a stern old lady with her hair in a bun and her finger on her lips,   it wasn’t me.   And it surely wasn’t Sandra Payne  –  for starters,…
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The Camper-Waitress Goes to the Fair by
200
(216 Stories)

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The summer my friend Stephanie and I were too old to be a campers but not old enough to be counselors,   we worked as camper-waitresses at a children’s camp in the Connecticut foothills.   Stephanie and I went on to become life-long friends,  but a friendship cut too short by her cancer death at…
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Pickled by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Hobbies

/ Stories

For years I worked on my tennis game but I seemed to have plateaued somewhere between advanced beginner and intermediate.    I blame my parents of course for my lack of prowess as they apparently valued piano over tennis lessons for their kids.  (And by the way after all that money spent,  and those fights…
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Dolly and Me at the DMV by
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(216 Stories)

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I was a fairly new school librarian myself when I got a position at the newly opened Harry S Truman HS in the Bronx.   There we were a library staff of three – Dorothy was head librarian,  and Ann and I were the young newbies –  but  it didn’t take us long to bond.…
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Tracing Our Roots by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Family Trips

/ Stories

HERMINE & NAFTALI,  PARIS  circa 1939 I’ve written about a family trip we made years ago tracing my roots to Charleston,  South Carolina where my father was stationed during the war and where I was born.  (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home) More recently we traced my husband’s roots to the German city of Stuttgart where…
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44 Curzon Street by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

I originally published this story for the FAMILY TRIPS prompt,  but if you haven’t read it or don’t remember it,  I hope you’ll read and enjoy it now! 44 CURZON STREET Our son Noah was 7 when we took him to London for the first time.   For our stay I  booked what was called…
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Traveling Light by
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(216 Stories)

/ Stories

For years before leaving on a trip I’d make a list of what to pack:  6 prs underwear,  6 prs stockings/sox,  nightgown and bathrobe,  2 prs shoes,   1 skirt,  1 pr pants,  at least 4 tops,  1 sweater,  rainwear,  jacket or coat,  umbrella,  toiletries,  camera and film,  passport,   plane tix,   travelers  checks,…
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Menemsha Sunset by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

Like most of us I’m sure,   the one thing I can’t leave home without is my cell phone.   If I forget mine,  I rush back to get it,  don’t you? And thinking back to those pre-cell phone days,  I remember when we first got a car phone.   We were soon so used to…
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The Thin Green Line by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Recycling

/ Stories

Although it can be time-consuming and a hassle,  I conscientiously recycle and I try to support organizations and legislation that advocate for environmental action to fight pollution and clean up the planet. I’ve been haunted by images of polar bears on melting ice caps;   and dead whales washing up on beaches with stomachs full…
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Fluffy and the Alligator Shoes by
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(216 Stories)

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Playing with Fire by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By In Trouble

/ Stories

As a child I spent summers with my family at my grandmother’s small Catskills hotel.   (See My Game Mother,  My Heart Remembers My Grandmother’s Hotel ,  The Troubadour) One summer a family with a son about my age –  we both must have been 8 or 9 –  came to the hotel for a week…
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ASPCA by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Naming Pets

/ Stories

“The cancer has spread.”  said the vet,  “It’s time to put her down if you don’t want the cat to suffer.”   So broken-hearted,  we said goodbye to our beloved Lucy Gray. Taking a walk a few days later we found ourselves in front of the ASPCA.  We looked at each other and without a…
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Turkey and Trimmings with Flu Shot by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Vaccination

/ Stories

My dad’s been gone 20 years but lately I think about him more and more.  (See Saying Farewell to a Special Guy,   My Dad and the Word Processor) His birthday was November 26  and we would celebrate on Thanksgiving at my folks’ house,  usually with several aunts,  uncles and cousins  around the table. My…
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My Love Affair with James Joyce by
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(216 Stories)

/ Stories

Playwright Israel Horovitz was caught by several women who said  “Me too”,  and so was Prairie Home Companion creator Garrison Keillor;   filmmaker Woody Allen’s private life has been far from exemplary;   abstractionist Pablo Picasso and novelist Philip Roth were notorious womanizers;   the 17th century painter Caravaggio killed a man in a brawl;…
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I got shot! by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Vaccination

/ Stories

Greeting du jour –  “Got your shots?” RetroFlash / Six Words Dana Susan Lehrman
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My Dad and the Word Processor by
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(216 Stories)

/ Stories

My dad was knowledgeable and proficient in so many areas,   we thought of him as a Renaissance man.  (See Saying Farewell to a Special Guy,   Six Pack) In fact during the last few decades of his life he was even writing his memoirs,  not with an eye to publication but for his own satisfaction.  …
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Kitchen Radio by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Remembering Radios

/ Stories

Back in the 50s it seemed – much to my childish angst –  my parents were the last on our Bronx block to get a television set.   But of course we always had the radio. My dad was a self-taught classical pianist and we had what was then a state-of-the-art hifi system and radio…
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Stay-at-Home Mom by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

I was a young stay-at-home mom when we moved to Manhattan with our 9-month-old baby boy – a perfect confluence of time,  place,  and circumstance!   (See Aruba Nights, Chagall’s Cows, The Alphabet Wall, Reading with Hattie, Baking with Julia) In those early years Noah and I spent lots of time in the Carl Schurz Park playground,   the…
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Six Pack by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Manners

/ Stories

When my mom retired she and my dad moved out of the city and bought a charming little house two blocks from the beach in the Rockaways where they had both grown up and first met.  (See Still Life) But my dad wasn’t ready to retire himself,  he always said that he wanted to die  “with…
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Birmingham by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Inequality

/ Stories

On the evening of April 4, l968 my boyfriend called to tell me he had just heard on the news that Martin Luther King, Jr had been shot.   We cried together over the phone,  and during that call we decided to marry – our small way of bringing some joy back into a sorry…
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Play It Again, Sam by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Rewatchable Movies

/ Stories

Rewatchable?  Round up the usual suspects. Retroflash / 6 Words Dana Susan Lehrman
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Precious by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Rewatchable Movies

/ Stories

In 2010 the Oscar for Best Picture went to The Hurt Locker,  but in my book the award should have gone to one I was glad to watch a second time –  the nominated film Precious.   The film,  based on the young adult novel Push,  starred the amazing Gabourey Sidibe as Precious the abused…
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Only My Hairdresser Knows For Sure by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Haircuts

/ Stories

Oops,  now everybody knows for sure! Retroflash / 6 Words Dana Susan Lehrman
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Milk and Honey by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Inequality

/ Stories

FLU SEASON,  3:00am HE  (coughing,  wakes spouse)    “My throat’s killing me,  I think I need some warm milk and honey.” SHE  (sleepily)   “Oh, you poor boy,  I’ll go fix it.” She gets out of bed,  puts on her bathrobe and slippers,  and trudges off to the kitchen. TWO WEEKS LATER,  3:00am SHE  (coughing,…
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Look What They’ve Done to Your Pear, Milton Glaser! by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Pet Peeves

/ Stories

Lynn Truss who wrote Eats,  Shoots and Leaves: the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation  is a woman after my own heart.   She wishes for a ‘grammar police force’  that would hunt down and arrest merchants with ungrammatical signs on their storefronts and others who abuse the King’s English. I share her peeve and have another…
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New Leaf by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Anniversaries

/ Stories

Over the years we’ve thrown some big milestone parties –  for my husband Danny’s 30th birthday,  our son Noah’s Bar Mitzvah,  our 25th anniversary,   Danny’s 60th at Yankee Stadium,  two  big housewarmings,  my retirement,   my 70th,  and probably a few more. Then a few years ago on a glorious June day we were…
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Valentine’s Day in Foggytown by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Valentine's Day

/ Stories

Early in our marriage my husband had an opportunity to work at the London branch of his company and we didn’t hesitate to pack up and go!  (See Laundry Day in London,   Kinky Boots) We rented a cosy flat with a little garden in the back and settled into London life.  While Danny was at the…
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A Year of Loss by
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(216 Stories)

/ Stories

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the pandemic robbed us of life as we knew it. And in this frightful year I’ve lost several beloved friends.   Although it was cancer and heart disease that took them,  it was Covid that kept us from gathering together to mourn.   Zoom funerals and…
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Elbow Grease by
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(216 Stories)

/ Stories

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Book Slut, or Why I’m in Six Book Clubs by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Cliques and Clubs

/ Stories

Most of my women friends are in a book club and some are even in two book clubs.  I’m in six.  I know that sounds a bit crazy,  but it really wasn’t my fault.  Here’s what happened. As a kid I loved to read,  in high school I was a staff editor for the literary…
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My Heart Remembers My Grandmother’s Hotel by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By First Memory

/ Stories

The leader of a writing workshop I took years ago asked us to think back to our earliest memories and write about a place our heart remembers.   I thought of my grandmother’s hotel in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York where I spent childhood summers.  (See My Game Mother,   The Troubadour) When I was…
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Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By First Memory

/ Stories

It’s hard to know if I actually remember some of the stories my parents would tell about my naughty or my endearing childhood antics,   or if I’ve simply heard them so often I think I remember them.  But how I got my puppy is something  I remember as if it happened yesterday. When I…
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A Life in Baseball Caps by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Hats

/ Stories

Altho I can’t remember the specifics,  we each must have brought some head gear into the marriage.  (We eloped so surely there were no top hats or bridal veils in our luggage that day!) When we met we were both NY Yankee fans –  me legitimately so as a Bronx girl,  he counterintuitively as a…
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Bed and Breakfast by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Valentine's Day

/ Stories

On their first wedded Valentine’s Day they had their first big fight.   Angry and hurt,  she ran out to her car before he could stop her. She drove several miles to the small country inn they’d often seen from the highway. To punish him and make him worry,  she promised herself she wouldn’t call.…
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Chagall’s Cows by
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(216 Stories)

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When our son was a toddler many friends began fleeing Manhattan.  They couldn’t imagine raising a child amid all the dirt and crime. “But think of the culture!”,  I’d say. Noah at 5,  wide-eyed at the Mets’ Arm & Armor exhibit.   And making Purim masks at the Jewish Museum,  and model dinosaurs at the…
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Inaugural Poets by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Inaugurations

/ Stories

“Tyrants fear the poet.”                                   Amanda Gorman JOHN KENNEDY and ROBERT FROST Inauguration Day 1961,  the handsome young president and the weathered New England poet,   both hatless in the DC January chill. “The land was ours,  before we…
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Good Girl by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Good Trouble

/ Stories

As a kid I gave my parents little trouble and later showed only the usual rebellious teen spirit.  (They disapproved of guys I dated,  but that’s another story). And altho I’ve stood on picket lines,  argued  before the Corps of Engineers against ecologically disastrous city projects,  marched for good causes,  volunteered for a few,  and did…
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Reunion by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Reconnecting

/ Stories

A few months ago I wrote about three places,  each of which I can claim as a home town.  (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home,  The Lady with the Torch,  Kente Cloth) I was born in Charleston, SC yet for most of my adult life I’ve lived on Manhattan’s eastside.  But the east Bronx neighborhood of Parkchester…
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Thanks for the Memories! by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Thank You

/ Stories

How do I say thank you to four gals I’ve never met but feel I’ve known forever? – the Sacramento ringleader,  lawyer,  activist,  singer,  has a song title for every occasion – the big-hearted brunette from the Windy City,  blogger,  passionate educator,  kid whisperer – the Jersey girl now California techie,  science writer and editor…
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The Plug-In Drug by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

Most of my friends tell me they’ve been TV bingeing for years,  and now during lockdown it’s certainly the activity of choice.  So if that’s your guilty pleasure,  binge away. But I’ve never been much of a TV watcher,  and I couldn’t agree more with Marie Winn when in the 1970s she wrote about the problems…
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My Snowy Year in Buffalo by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Interviews

/ Stories

In the mid-60s I was newly married and heading up to Buffalo, NY for a year while my husband completed med school.  I had just gotten my graduate library degree and applied to the Buffalo Dept of Ed for a school librarian’s job. I was interviewed at the school superintendent’s office by Mrs D who…
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Dear Younger Self by
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(216 Stories)

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What a cutie!   But seriously I’m here to give you some advice. Be a more adventurous eater,  try the sushi. Don’t fight with your mother so much,  you’ll find out later she was usually right. Practice the piano so you can play something besides Fur Elyse. Don’t abandon your theatre dreams and someday you…
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Behind the Mask by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Hello Darkness

/ Stories

Like all families,  ours at times has been an unwilling friend to darkness.   A medical officer in WW II,  my dad served on troop ships bringing soldiers to theaters of war and returning with the wounded and the dead,  and on a Stateside army base during those dark days I was born. And over…
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Holiday in Limbo by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Pandemic Holidays

/ Stories

It’s hard to believe but with the passing of the generations I’m now the family matriarch. It’s not my great-uncle Sid leading Seder but my husband,  not my aunt Babs cooking Rosh Hashanah dinner but me,  not my dad carving the Thanksgiving turkey but my son. But will he this year?  A 4-5 hour drive…
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Skate Key by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Fads and Trends

/ Stories

Home from school,  a hurried snack,  bread with both sides buttered,  chocolate milk,  an apple offered but rudely refused.   (“Don’t be fresh, young lady!”) Skates strapped over shoes,  no purse,  no house key,  no hanky,  just a skate key on a ribbon around her neck,  then out the door.  (“Be careful!”) Down the block,…
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The Troubadour by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Being Different

/ Stories

I’ve written about my childhood summers at my grandmother’s small Catskill hotel.  (See My Game Mother and My Heart Remembers My Grandmother’s Hotel)  Here’s another memory. Once or twice every summer when I was very young,  an elderly man whom we called the Troubadour came to the hotel to spend an evening entertaining the guests with story…
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The Matzo Ball Spelling Bee by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Spelling

/ Stories

On May 30, 2013  Arvind Mahankali beat out almost 300 other youngsters to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.   Arvind,  a 13 year-old 8th grader from Bayside,  Queens and son of Indian immigrants,  was the first New York City winner in almost 20 years.   Interested in words and languages since he was in…
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Good Causes by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Volunteering

/ Stories

When we moved to Manhattan’s Yorkville neighborhood in the mid-1970s I was a young mother on maternity leave at home with a one-year-old,  and every day,  weather permitting,  we’d find ourselves  across the street in Carl Schurz Park.   The park was named in 1910 for the German-born Secretary of the Interior at a time…
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Judy’s Last Gift by
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(216 Stories)

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It’s not hyperbole to say my friend Judy was the most thoughtful and giving person I’ve ever known.  Rather than randomly kind,  Judy was always kind. I met her a few months after I started dating my husband Danny.   He and I had driven from New York to Boston to spend New Year’s Eve 1967…
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In the Abstract by
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(216 Stories)

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In the early years of the 20th century a handful of European artists including the Russians Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimar Malevich,  the Dutchman Piet Mondrian,   and a lesser-known Swedish woman named Hilma af Klint began producing art with no attempt to represent external reality.   Rather,  they used shapes,  forms,  color,  and textures to…
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Rolling Stoned at the Garden by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Beatles vs Stones

/ Stories

I’ve told you about my dalliance in a New York coffee shop with Paul McCartney (See My Favorite Beatle),  so now let me tell you about my night at the Garden with the Stones. Our friends Mary and Frank own a bakery and deli on Mott Street that supplies food to the concessions at Madison…
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Saying Farewell to a Special Guy by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Final Farewell

/ Stories

My father Arthur was a very special guy.   He was widely knowledgable yet possessed an endearing naiveté;  a scientist by profession,  he was an artist and musician by avocation;  annoyingly stubborn at times yet always generous of spirit;  a profound thinker and also mischievous;  a punster and a teller of corny jokes,   my…
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The Fortune Cookie Candidate by
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(216 Stories)

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As the most important presidential race of our lifetime approaches,  and we hold our collective breath,  I remember another trying time and another election,   although one that was relatively angst-free. When I was an undergrad at NYU Heights in the early ‘60s I really threw myself into college life.   (See Ghostwriting in the Family)…
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A Sign on the Doorpost by
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(216 Stories)

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Our post-war Manhattan apartment building recently underwent a major renovation –   new elevators and new lobby furniture;   in the halls new carpeting,  wallpaper and lighting;  and new saddles,  bells and knobs for all our apartment doors. The construction company hired for the job sent a friendly crew of guys who enjoyed the chocolate…
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Cantor Gladys by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Final Farewell

/ Stories

Gladys and I both lived uptown,   she on Manhattan’s westside and I on the east.   Yet we first met not in the city,   but in Lakeridge,  the Connecticut community where we both spent country weekends.   And once we discovered we both loved Scrabble,  we’d play together as often as we could,  and…
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Give Me the Low Tech Life! by
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(216 Stories)

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What was life like before computers?   Well for one thing we had to look stuff up ourselves.   And in those days to change the channel or turn off the TV you actually had to get off the couch,  annoying as that sounds.     But at least back then you could make calls…
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Kinky Boots by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Shoes

/ Stories

I’m not a big shopper or a fashionista,  but let me tell you about some boots I bought back in the 1970s in London where we were living for an all-too-brief,  magical time.    (See Laundry Day in London). One day I went shopping for some chic black leather boots that were then all the rage,…
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My Aunt, Dede Allen by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Fame

/ Stories

I’ve always been very proud of my aunt Dede Allen.  Movie buffs may know her as a stellar film editor and a pioneer in what had been a male-dominated craft. Dede worked her way up in the film business,  starting as a production runner at Columbia Pictures,  then editing commercial and industrial films and eventually…
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Ghostwriting in the Family by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Rites of Passage

/ Stories

When I was in high school I don’t remember anyone making a big fuss over college admissions.  In fact what I remember most about senior year was shopping for my college wardrobe with my mother,  walking around Greenwich Village with my friends,  and slow dancing to 50s rock ‘n’ roll in friends’ houses when their…
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Missing Pussycats by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Lost and Found

/ Stories

JINX I love pussycats and when I was growing up we had a long succession of wonderful ones.   Our house had a lovely garden and those lucky cats had the best of both worlds – indoors and out. In fact one of my favorite cats was a tom named Jinx,  a dirty stay-out who prowled…
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Tales of the Scrabble Table by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Brain Games

/ Stories

Brought to You by the Letter Y I love the game and that’s why the Scrabble gods watch over me. Last summer I was playing Scrabble with friends out on my deck.  After the game I folded the board and while I was sliding the tiles back into their little bag,  some slid off the…
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Front Row Seats by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Fame

/ Stories

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice!   And if you’re really famous you get to Madison Square Garden. I’ve seen The Rolling Stones at the Garden and two years ago we were there for Paul Simon’s farewell concert.   And a few years before that my friend Vivian and I were at the…
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Still Life by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Lost and Found

/ Stories

My mother Jessie was a damn good pinocle player. (See My Game Mother) But she was also a wonderful artist.   A fine arts major in college,  she later studied at New York’s renown Art Students League with the Russian-born artist  Raphael Soyer celebrated for his paintings of social realism. Jessie went on to teach art in…
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Magnolia, The Story of a Garden by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By The Garden

/ Stories

MAGNOLIA,  THE STORY OF A GARDEN After the war a young couple returned to New York from Charleston with their 2 year-old daughter and bought a house in the Bronx on the GI Bill.   (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home)   There was a wonderful grape arbor in the garden and the girl’s grandmother made wine with…
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Revelations by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Fame

/ Stories

Fame well deserved came to a young African American choreographer one night in 1960 when he premiered a new work at the 92nd St Y.  The choreographer was 29 year-old Alvin Ailey,  and the piece was Revelations. Inspired by what Ailey called blood memories of his rural Texas childhood,  and by Negro spirituals,  gospel,  and…
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Dirty Dishes by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By I Swore I'd Never

/ Stories

I have to admit I’m a bit of a neat freak,  and I’ve  always prided myself on being well organized.   Marie Kondo is my hero,  and in fact home organizing actually became my second career.  (See Second Career) And what I preached to my organizing clients,  I practiced.    I would never, ever leave…
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Take Care of Your Sister by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Birth Order

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I was my parents’ first child and had only one sibling,  my sister Laurie. My folks had always wanted a second child but after I was born my mother had trouble conceiving again.   Of course at the time I was too young to be told or to understand such things,   but years later I…
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Pitcher and Bowl by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Yard Sales

/ Stories

I’m a sucker for pitchers and bowls. As you may know,  pitcher and bowl sets were first found in Victorian boudoirs where they were used as wash basins before the advent of indoor plumbing.  They’re still sought after as decorative pieces,  and I’ve always loved them. A few years ago I was in an antique…
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Catskill Weekend by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Forgiveness

/ Stories

J was my husband’s college roommate and the two have been very close since then.   In fact J and his wife K are among our closest friends –  we’ve vacationed and travelled abroad together,  traditionally spend New Year’s Eve as a foursome,  and are always there to share each others’ joys and sorrows. Yet…
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Getting Woke by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Protests

/ Stories

My folks, and my uncles and aunts were always politically active and die-hard liberals ,  and as children my sister and I and our cousins were used to hearing political rhetoric around the dinner table. Yet despite that red diaper babyhood,  I was seemingly apolitical and remained so well into my own adulthood .  …
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Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By My Hometown

/ Stories

My hometown?  Like many of us I guess I can claim more than one –  born in Charleston, SC but bred in the Bronx with idyllic summers spent at our family-run hotel in the Catskills.  (See My Game Mother) Then after grad school a year upstate in snowy Buffalo, NY,  then back down for several…
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The Summer of My Discontent by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Pandemic Summer

/ Stories

This was to be the summer I really worked on my tennis game,  and planted my garden earlier,  learned to play Mah Jongg,   and caught up on all those unread New Yorkers. And this was to be the summer I finally mastered the  barbecue,  and took out my old bike and checked the tires,…
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The Alphabet Wall by
200
(216 Stories)

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As you’ve surely noticed, when the last few generations of kids write,  they use block letters,  never cursive. In fact they don’t know how to write in cursive because unlike us Boomers,   they’ve never been taught.   Apparently over the years the pedagogical powers-that-be have decreed that penmanship and cursive writing were skills that…
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What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Protests

/ Stories

When our son was young he asked us if we were at Woodstock.  We had to say No,  but we didn’t have an answer when he asked,  Why not? He was disappointed.   I’m sure we went down a notch or two in his esteem. He never asked if we rode the Freedom Bus,  or…
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Kente Cloth by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By My Hometown

/ Stories

I live on Manhattan’s upper eastside across the street from Gracie Mansion,  the beautiful 1799 Federal- style house that overlooks the East River and is the residence of New York’s mayor and his family. On any given day I might see cops,  TV cameras, and angry protesters in front of the Mansion,  or buses dropping…
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The Lady with the Torch by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By My Hometown

/ Stories

Like many New Yorkers I’m sure,   I don’t take in the local sights unless out-of-towners are in town!   So when friends from China were visiting recently we decided to take them to the Statue of Liberty where I probably hadn’t been since I was a school kid. Tickets to tour the pedestal or climb…
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Soul Collage by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Memorabilia

/ Stories

I retired over 10 years ago and since then I gained over 20 pounds,  and try as I might,  I couldn’t seem to lose them. It’s understandable – at my age loosing pounds and inches is hard,  I’m not a gym rat (in fact we have a treadmill in our apartment which collects dust),  …
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B. Smith by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Chance Encounters

/ Stories

 I was so sorry to learn of the recent death of restaurateur Barbara Smith at age 70 after a decade-long and very public battle with Alzheimer’s.   She and her husband chronicled their years living with the disease in their book Before I Forget. I had followed Barbara’s career since she was a beautiful young model…
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Black Tie Optional by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Embarrassment

/ Stories

Over the years I’ve found myself in the same embarrassing situation at least three times,  most recently this past December when we got a wedding invitation from friends. Their son was to be married on New Year’s Eve at a lovely Greenwich, Connecticut hotel,  so I knew it would be a gala affair.   And sure…
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Fernando’s Fritattas by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Recipes

/ Stories

When my son Noah was in high school the headmaster announced the school would be participating in an exchange program with 20 students from Spain.  The Spanish kids would come to New York for a month,  and at a later date our students would go to Spain.  Families were asked to host and we volunteered.…
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Aunt Babs and Uncle Paul by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Aunts & Uncles

/ Stories

I’ve written about all my aunts and uncles before. (See Call Me by Their Names) Here’s more about my wonderful aunt Babs and uncle Paul,  high school sweethearts who met as kids in the Rockaways. Family legend has it that when he was in medical school at NYU,  and Babs was at Skidmore College in upstate…
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Baby Shoes by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Memorabilia

/ Stories

I’m not the sentimental type,  but when our son outgrew his first pair of baby shoes I decided to have them bronzed – separately. I gave one shoe to my mother-in-law who was then a widow,  and the other shoe to my parents. Years later when my mother-in-law died we took back her shoe,  and…
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Laundry Day in London by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Door-to-Door Sales

/ Stories

Remembering gentler times when we weren’t so wary of door-to-door salesmen and had more trust in the kindness of strangers,  I think about laundry day in London. In the early 1970s my husband had the chance to work there for a year and we grabbed it! I took a leave of absence from my teaching…
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Comfort Food for Renee by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Recipes

/ Stories

I met Renee about 25 years ago when we were both working as librarians in the Bronx – she at New York Public Library,  and I at Jane Addams High School. Renee had been trained as a book discussion leader,  and as part of NYPL’s outreach to schools program she came to the neighboring Lehman…
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Old Wives’ Tales by
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(216 Stories)

Prompted By Superstition

/ Stories

I’d never put a hat on the bed. I hold my breathe when I drive past a cemetery. When I see a nun in a habit,  I pull on my buttons. I’d never walk under an open ladder. I always bring the cup to the kettle,  never the kettle to the cup. I never open…
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Sheltering in Place by
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(216 Stories)

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Back in early February – which now seems a lifetime ago  – my husband Danny was told by his cardiologist that he would need surgery to correct a blocked carotid artery.  Of course I couldn’t resist chiding him that years of unhealthy snacking had finally caught up with him. Danny’s surgery was set for Tuesday,…
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(The Lion, The Witch, and) The Wardrobe by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Dreams

/ Stories

Every New York apartment-dweller dreams of more living space,  and I was no  different! We moved into our 2 BR, 2 BATH, RIV VU upper eastside apartment when our son was less than a year old.  We loved  our building,  our local park,  and our neighborhood..  My husband’s office was in the E 40s,  and…
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White Shoulders for Aunt Frances by
200
(216 Stories)

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I’m from a small family and have always felt close to my aunts and uncles.  Now, like my parents,  they’re all gone. (For more about my family see  Call Me by Their Names) My parents were each the middle child of three, and both had strong bonds with their siblings and stayed close despite geography,…
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Hermine’s Morning Joe by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

I happen to be a tea drinker,  but I do like the smell of coffee brewing,  and when the coffee smells especially good I think of my mother-in-law Hermine. My mother was a very good cook,  but Hermine was an extraordinary one.   I,  on the other hand,  never prided myself much on my culinary…
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The Value of a Dollar by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Door-to-Door Sales

/ Stories

I must admit I’ve never sold encyclopedias,  Fuller brushes,  or life insurance door-to-door,  and the closest I’ve ever come to being an Avon Lady was selling costume jewelry at Macys. When I was in college I lived at home and commuted to NYU.  Many of my high school friends also commuted to local colleges,  and…
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Theatre Dreams by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Dreams

/ Stories

When I was very young my parents took me to see the original Broadway production of The King and I and I was spellbound.  I listened to the cast album for hours and I dreamed about growing up to be a famous actress. One of my adored great aunts was a star in the Yiddish theatre.…
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Cooking with Gas by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Close Calls

/ Stories

“Now you’re cooking with gas.”,  my grandmother used to say.  I thought of her after Hurricane Sandy hit New York on October 29, 2012. Although we live uptown,  our proximity to the East River puts our apartment building in the city’s infamous flood zone A.  When Sandy made landfall that day,  rain and river water…
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Unleavened by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

Passover is a joyous holiday when we Jews celebrate our freedom from bondage in Egypt.  Every year at the Seder we retell the story of our ancestors who followed Moses across a desert in search of a new home in the Promised Land. The Bible tells us that these ancient Hebrews left in such haste…
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Passover Shopping List by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

As the Passover season approaches I often find  myself laughing over something that happened many years ago. We were having 18 for Seder,  and after calling the butcher to order lamb for my traditional stew,  I wrote out a long shopping list for everything else I needed,  and headed for the  supermarket. Not surprisingly,  the…
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And Things That Go Bump in the Night by
200
(216 Stories)

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It’s been one week since we started our unplanned Covid 19 quarantine/staycation and I’m still reeling with the disbelief and the worry.  And each day brings news of people we know or of well-known personalities who’ve been affected. Yesterday we learned of the coronavirus-related death at 81 of one of our greatest contemporary American playwrights,…
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9/11 by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

I’ll never forget the date my husband’s college roommate Joel came from Newton, Mass to spend a few days with us in New York – it was Monday,  September 10, 2001. On that Monday Joel drove down from Newton to JFK.  His cousin and her three kids were arriving from Israel and Joel picked them…
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Call Me by Their Names by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Nicknames

/ Stories

My parents named me Dana after two relatives they never knew – my father’s grandmother Dinah who perished in czarist Russia,  and my mother’s uncle David who drowned as a teenager in the Rockaways. I like my name and never minded that it’s a bit uncommon, but it’s always disconcerting when people spell it wrong…
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Minyan – for Uncle Sol by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Finding Your Tribe

/ Stories

I don’t think of myself as an especially spiritual person, but after the death of my husband’s uncle Sol,  I had a religious experience. Sol,  who died just short of his 96th birthday,  was a surrogate father of sorts to my husband,  and grandfather to our son,  and a much beloved presence in all our…
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Yad Vashem by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Finding Your Tribe

/ Stories

I’m not a religious person but I’ve always been proud to be Jewish and deeply connected to my faith – and moreso when I’m in Israel. The summer before he graduated from high school,  my son Noah spent 6 weeks there at a scouting program run by the Israeli army called Chetz V’keshet  (Arrow and…
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Look for the Helpers – for Laurie by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Caregiving

/ Stories

My sister Laurie spent the last two years of her life in a Rockville, MD nursing home –  at 59 she may have been the youngest patient there.  I was Laurie’s medical  decision-maker then and eventually her court-appointed legal guardian. Laurie was strikingly beautiful, her looks and her persona unforgettable.  I always thought of her…
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Birthday Calendar by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Leap Day

/ Stories

When I was a kid I thought it was very special that the year I was born – 1944 – was a leap year and that it had not one but two 4’s in it! And I was proud that I was born in the leap month of February,  but I did wish my birthday…
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Aunt Miriam, Diva by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Family Myths

/ Stories

My glamorous and beautiful great-aunt Miriam Elias lived a rather scandalous life,  or so goes the family legend! Miriam was born in 1897 near Kamenets Podolski, Ukraine in a small village near Odessa.   Her village,  she once told us, was very much like the fictional shtetl Anatevka  immortalized in Fiddler on the Roof.  Her…
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Reading with Hattie, Baking with Julia by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

When our son Noah was young he watched all the usual children’s TV shows of the time.  His favorites, as I remember were Sesame Street,  Mr Rogers, and The Electric Company. Watching The Electric Company,  Noah delighted in Morgan Freeman’s character Easy Reader, and Hattie Winston’s character Valerie the Librarian,  maybe because his own mother…
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Parlez-vous Francais? by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

I originally published this story for the RETIREMENT prompt,,  but if you haven’t read it or don’t remember it,  I hope you’ll read and enjoy it now! PARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS? When I retired after my long and happy career as a New York City high school librarian I had many options.  I could apply for a…
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Wisdom in the Weeds by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Retirement

/ Stories

When I retired friends asked me what I would do with all my free time. ”Oh, I don’t know “ I said,  “probably just more of the same things I enjoy – reading,  theatre,  travel,  tennis.” ”Why don’t you try something new,  try gardening,”  one friend suggested,  “it’s great physical exercise and surprisingly spiritual.  Try planting…
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Mr October by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Super Bowl

/ Stories

Super Bowl,  Final Four,  World Series – it’s all the same to us sports widows, so here’s another sad tale! A few years ago my friends Pat and David and I were planning a reunion for our former teaching colleagues at Jane Addams,  the small inner-city high school where we first met in the 1980s.…
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Sports Fanatic by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Super Bowl

/ Stories

This may not exactly be a Super Bowl story as we’re a baseball family,  but it’s as close as I can get! A few years ago our friend Jon called on a  Saturday morning.  It just happened to be the third day of the World Series. ”We haven’t seen you guys in awhile,  how about…
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Postcards from a Secret Admirer by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Snail Mail

/ Stories

I don’t remember how it started, or which one of us sent the first one,  but when we were in junior high my best friend Stephanie and I began sending each other picture postcards that we’d sign “Love from your Secret Admirer”. I know it sounds like a silly adolescent game – which of course…
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Cherry Coke Redux by
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(216 Stories)

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A story called CHERRY COKE I posted awhile ago at the prompt THE CRUSH seems to work here too,  so am posting again,  here’s the link. Cherry Coke
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Moving Day Blues by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Moving Day

/ Stories

I haven’t moved very often in my life, in fact for the past 40 years we’ve lived in Manhattan in the same “7 rms, river view”.  We love our apartment, our building,  and our neighborhood,  and don’t plan to move any time soon. But over the years I’ve had the moving day blues when good…
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The Irishman by
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(216 Stories)

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I must offer this quick take on The Irishman  and a plug for it’s re-recording sound mixer, my cousin Tom Fleischman! I’m proud to say Tom has won many awards including a 2012 Oscar for his work on the film Hugo, and has worked with Scorsese on many other films and loves the guy.  Here’s a link to…
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Second Career by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Get Organized

/ Stories

I must admit I take little pride in my culinary skills,  am not a fashionista,  and may not be up on pop culture or as knowledgeable as I should be on world events,  but one thing I am is organized!,   Yet over the years little did I know that organizing would actually become my second…
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Bless the Bread by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By The New Year

/ Stories

A new year for many of us means a time to take stock,  to make resolutions,  or to once again start that illusive diet.  But for my son Noah it means the rock, jam-band Phish will be on tour at Madison Square Garden once again for several consecutive nights. A few years ago the New…
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Parasite and Roma by
200
(216 Stories)

/ Stories

I love the movies and try to see all the good stuff. Last month I read the glowing reviews of Parasite ,  the new South Korean film directed by Bong Joon-Ho,  the Palme d’Or winner at Cannes.  And then when friend after friend after friend recommended it,  I was really intrigued and put it on top…
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Third Degree Burn by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Holidaze

/ Stories

Last year at about this time I  burned the top of my foot.  It was very painful and it looked pretty bad,  and so I went to the dermatologist. He examined the wound and asked me how it had happened.   I was too embarrassed to tell him the whole truth,  and so I was…
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Early Thanksgiving by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Holidaze

/ Stories

As I was preparing for Thanksgiving last month I thought about a Thanksgiving we celebrated several  seasons ago. That year as  November approached  I fretted over the many regrets I’d gotten in the past to my Thanksgiving invitations. One of my cousins and his family usually celebrated with his in-laws;  another often went to an…
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My Cousin Rick by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Cousins

/ Stories

We were shocked some months ago to learn of the sudden death of my cousin Rick at age 66.  The family gathered in Rochester where Rick had lived, and several of us spoke at his moving memorial service. Since childhood my redheaded cousin had suffered a debilitating mental illness.  His devoted parents Mary June and…
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Retreat by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Cousins

/ Stories

A dozen or so years ago my cousin Kathy called from DC and asked me to join her the following month for a Jewish women’s retreat. Because geography had always kept us apart,  spending a weekend with my cousin was wonderfully appealing and a women’s retreat would be a new experience for us both. Kathy…
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Surprise Party by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Surprise!

/ Stories

When her husband Andrew was about to turn 40,   my friend Simi decided to throw him a big surprise party and she asked for my help. We were both stay-at-home moms then with plenty of free time on our hands for surprise party planning.  In fact for weeks before the party we must have…
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Bus Stop by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Ageism

/ Stories

While I was waiting at 86th Street for the Fifth Avenue bus the other day, a young woman, probably in her 20s,  walked up to me and asked where she could get the limited. I told her the limited bus stop was about two blocks south,  and she thanked me and started walking down Fifth.…
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College Girl – for Aunt Hannah by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Ageism

/ Stories

“One is never too old to learn.”,   Hannah told us when she announced she was starting college in her 80s. My husband’s aunt Hannah was the gentlest soul I’ve ever known.  No one in our family can remember her ever saying a harsh or an unkind word. Hannah and her siblings fled Hitler’s Germany…
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My Favorite Beatle by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By The Crush

/ Stories

Like every girl of my generation, I had a favorite Beatle and about a year ago we actually met! My husband and I were having lunch at Lexington Candy Shop on Lex & 83rd,  a favorite local coffeeshop.  The place prides itself on it’s celebrity patronage with signed photos on the walls of Woody Allen…
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Cherry Coke by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By The Crush

/ Stories

I must confess I often find myself googling my college crush. Actually M was more than a crush,  he was my steady boyfriend during my freshman and sophomore years,  until I took a camp job that following summer and met someone else.  But that’s another story. M was a class ahead of me and after…
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Library Lesson by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Libraries

/ Stories

I can’t let this week’s Libraries prompt go without thinking about my time in library school. I was an English lit major in college and on track to teach high school English.  But an aunt and a family friend were librarians and they both encouraged me to consider that field.  It sounded perfect! I applied…
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West with the Night by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Libraries

/ Stories

Walking down a tree-lined block in the East 80s the other day I passed a brownstone with a pretty patio fronting the street.  There on a small table someone had  left an open library book. Always curious about what others are reading,  I looked through the wrought iron gate to see the title – it…
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Magazines for the Principal by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Magazines

/ Stories

I had a long and happy career as a school librarian,  the last years spent at Jane Addams,  a small vocational high school in the south Bronx.  The neighborhood was poor and rather sketchy,  and the students,  burdened with lives lived in those mean streets,  were sometimes difficult.  But our dedicated faculty strove to educate…
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The Diary of a Young Girl by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Libraries

/ Stories

Among my friends and the distaff side of my family are many very accomplished women – doctors, nurses and therapists, a pharmacist and a research scientist, lawyers, two judges and a diplomat, a film editor, a TV producer and a theatrical director, several writers and artists, and a publisher and two poets. Also among them…
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Rosie and Milt, the Literary Lady and the Second-Story Man by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Hacks and Scams

/ Stories

My uncle Milton wasn’t exactly a hardened criminal,  but the truth is he was once caught breaking and entering. Most of the time Milt was a mild-mannered, slightly absent-minded professor of chemistry at Smith College and lived with my aunt Roseanne in Northampton, Massachusetts in a wonderful Revolutionary-era house at the end of Poplar Hill…
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No Dice! by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Hacks and Scams

/ Stories

Try as I might, in my seven decades – most of which were lived in New York City of all places – I can’t remember being the victim of any shady deals or crooked schemes. I never shot craps in Vegas nor have I even been to Foxwoods. I was never conned in a dark…
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Why I Blog by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Why We Write

/ Stories

I originally posted this story on my blog World Thru Brown Eyes,  and after I was introduced to Retrospect I published it for the prompt Potpourri – Writers Choice.   But if you didn’t read it or don’t remember it,  here it is again to tell you Why We Write! WHY I BLOG One evening several years…
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Our Noisy Nanny by
200
(216 Stories)

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When my maternity leave came to an end and I was ready to go back to my teaching job, we knew we needed a nanny for our three- year old. Mary Rambatt had cleaned house for us weekly for years and we asked if she could care for Noah while I was at school.  Mary…
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The Great Hampton Babysitter Heist by
200
(216 Stories)

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When our son Noah was very young we spent several summers in the Hamptons in a rented house a short drive from both the beach and the town. One summer my husband Danny invited his business colleague Stan to join us for a weekend with his wife Lynn and their two sons. Noah was about…
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Aruba Nights by
200
(216 Stories)

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Somewhere among all the art work, photos,  and birthday cards I’ve saved over the years are a few sheets of drawing paper with crayoned sketches,  fastened together with string to make a little book – a precious  piece of memorabilia from my son’s childhood. Noah must have been about four when we took him on…
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My Game Mother by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Games People Play

/ Stories

When I was a child my grandmother owned a small hotel in the Catskills where my family spent idyllic summers.  Sadly when I was 11 she was no longer able to run it and the hotel was sold.  But when I think about the hotel, it seems only yesterday we were all there. My father…
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Fender Bender by
200
(216 Stories)

Prompted By Road Rage

/ Stories

Not quite a road rage tale,  but one that could have been! When my husband turned 60 he bought himself a birthday present – a light green Ford Thunderbird convertible.  Needless to say he loves that car,  and although I’d always thought of cars as basic transportation,  I must confess I love that T-bird too!…
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