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Heart on a Red Sleeve by
50
(84 Stories)

Prompted By Customer Service

/ Stories

My story begins at the end of a harrowing week, the week my 81 year old father died. His kind heart, the one he always wore on his sleeve, finally gave out. He had warned me in so many words: you never have as much time as you think you do. He died on a…
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The Name Game by
50
(84 Stories)

Prompted By What's in a Name

/ Stories

My name is Risa. That’s R-I-S-A. When I was growing up, I was the only Risa I had ever heard of. Surrounded by a gaggle of girls named Karen, Kathy, Linda, Carol, Nancy, and Diane, I was one of a kind. I got used to fielding the comments and questions: No, it’s not short for…
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My Dad’s Guide to Living a Rewarding Life by
50
(84 Stories)

/ Stories

This is what I read at my Dad’s funeral in 2001. It sums up many of the life lessons I learned from him. My dad was a teacher, and like many outstanding teachers, he never took time off from teaching. Sure, there were vacations and summers, but he was always on the job. If no…
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Just the Way You Are by
50
(84 Stories)

/ Stories

Billy Joel’s recording of  “Just the Way You Are” was released (or “dropped” as we say now) in September of 1977. By early 1978, the song was still getting a lot of airplay on the radio. During the nearly four months my daughter was in the Intensive Care Nursery at UCSF, my husband and I …
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Six in the City, revisited by
50
(84 Stories)

Prompted By Snowy Days

/ Stories

The first time I saw snow was the year my family lived in Manhattan. My sister and I attended elementary school across the street from our building.  We’d bundle up in our new winter coats, pants, mittens, and boots. Just one winter: getting used to the smell of wet things drying on the radiator, taking…
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Dr. Andrews: A Trailblazer by
50
(84 Stories)

Prompted By Family Medicine

/ Stories

This prompt gave me the opportunity to write about my pediatrician, Dr.Elizabeth Torrey Andrews. In a weird coincidence, I googled her and discovered an obituary in the Reed College magazine, the college my younger son graduated from. Dr. Andrews was only a Reedie for one year (1923), then transferred to the University of Oregon, following…
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What Are You Going to Be? by
50
(84 Stories)

Prompted By Trick or Treat?

/ Stories

As kids, we started thinking about the next Halloween on November first. Over the next several months, ideas were floated, refined, discarded, and resurrected. These were the most important decisions a kid could make in those days. As a parent, I had to wait patiently while my kids repeated this cycle of indecision, hoping that…
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A Gift So Nice I Got It Twice by
50
(84 Stories)

Prompted By Children's Books

/ Stories

The Indoor Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown was written in 1942. I received a hardcover copy of it in the 1950s. This  book, a colorfully illustrated story of the little dog Muffin who has a cold and must stay inside to rest,  was a gift from my across-the-street neighbor John. John was a bit…
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Boy-Crazy in the House of Girls  by
50
(84 Stories)

Prompted By That Summer

/ Stories

  “You can’t do that to another girl!” Alex was really pissed. I didn’t understand why she was pissed at me, exactly. It had been her boyfriend’s idea to walk in the summer moonlight and make out in some neighbor’s yard, not mine. It would have remained a regrettable secret, but Alex (not her real…
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The $64,000 Question by
50
(84 Stories)

/ Stories

Who was Harold Mendelson? He’s a guy who grew up in the Fillmore District of San Francisco and went on to become a famous actor and game show host. He was also a lifelong buddy of my father’s. You never heard of Harold? But does the name Hal March ring a bell? Even though he…
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