Writing for Retrospect by
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Altho I’ve Retroflashed about my feelings for Retrospect,  there’s more to say about this wonderful website!

In September 2019 at the urging of my friend Betsy,  and after some transcontinental calls to Suzy with tech questions,  I wrote my first Retro story for the prompt Road Rage.  It was about an accident I had with my husband’s beloved T-bird,  a car that had been his mid-life crisis gift to himself when he turned 60.  (And BTW he’s now 79 and the car now 19,  both still running fairly well with the occasional tune-up,  see Fender Bender.)

Since then I’ve written over 200 stories,  in fact several more about my relationship with cars,   see Smash-Up,  Rainy Night on the Highway, and The Chain Letter and the Fender Bender.

I enjoyed writing those as well as some other humorous stories evoked by other prompts,  see The Corpse in the Office,  Spoiler Alert!,  17 Gas Stations,  and Words with Suzy.

And I enjoyed writing to prompts that reminded me of beloved pets,  see Missing Pussycats,  ASPCA,  Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog. and Mr Bucco and the Ginger Cat.

And prompts evoking childhood memories , see My Heart Remembers My Grandmother’s HotelOur Special Guests,  Blizzard, and Skate Key.

Looking back there were also Retro prompts that evoked some painful memories of loss,  and writing about them was cathartic,  see Take Care of Your Sister,  Piano Man: Remembering HerbCantor Gladys and Comfort Food for Renee.

And stories evoked by prompts about home –  see 2026 McGraw,  My Beloved BasementParkchester, Celebrate Me Home,  and Magnolia, The Story of a Garden.

And other prompts that elicited emotional responses and stories about family ,  see My Game Mother,  My Father, the Outsider Artist,   Call Me by Their Names,  Around the World in 80 Days, Hermine’s Morning JoeCollege Girl: for Aunt Hannah,  My Cousin Rick,  Aunt Miriam, Diva,  White Shoulders for Aunt Francesand Family Photo.

And my college years,  see The Fortune Cookie Candidate and Theatre Dreams.  And my dating years,  see Cherry Coke,  The One Who Got Away, and Playing with Fire.

And marriage,  see Bed and Breakfast,  Flowers on the WindshieldBoth Sides NowValentine’s Day in Foggytown, and New Leaf.

And politics,  see Getting Woke,  Birmingham,  What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?,  and The Naked Emperor.

And the joys and trials of parenthood,  see The Great Hampton Babysitter Heist,  Our Noisy NannyAruba Nights,  Reading with Hattie, Baking with Julia,  and Three Noahs,

And stories about my long, rewarding library career ,  see My Snowy Year in Buffalo,  Magazines for the Principal,  and The Diary of a Young Girl.

And just as meaningful as writing my own stories has been reading those of my fellow Retro writers across the country.  Sharing and commenting on our stories has meant more to me than I could ever have imagined,  we have truly become a family and I thank you all.

And to our tireless Retro admins Suzy,  Barbara,  Laurie and Marian I send my love and deepest gratitude!

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Storytelling
Characterizations: funny, moving, well written


  1. John Shutkin says:

    I have so loved reading your stories, Dana — even the ones not about cars. Somehow, you had both depth and whimsy (in the best sense of the word) in so many of them.

    I also give you credit for doing what I just couldn’t get myself to do: go through all my own stories and categorize them; and your category choices are themselves brilliant choices.

    Finally, thanks for so well thanking your fellow Retro writers and our fearless administrators in your last two paragraphs. Let me just piggyback on what you said with a decidedly non-creative “Me, too!”

  2. Thank you John for your very kind words!

    I have so loved the Retro experience, reading all your and our fellow writers’ stories, and the icing on the cake – meeting you and Kathie for that lovely dinner in Cambridge!

    And I must say in your wonderful stories you reveal the most delightful sense of humor – how surprising for a stuffy Harvard lawyer!

    May we stay in touch and meet in CT, MA or NY again soon! Happy 2023!

    • John Shutkin says:

      Too kind, Dana, but thanks. But, as to being a “stuffy Harvard lawyer,” I must protest. In fact, I am a “stuffy Columbia lawyer,” having gone to law school there after Harvard undergrad. In fact, small world that it is, at a memorial service on Friday for one of my Harvard classmates, I met the son of one of my favorite Columbia law professors. He was decidedly unstuffy — but, probably wisely, had not gone to law school himself.

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    Thanks for going back and thinking through the various types of stories that you enjoyed writing and how they affected you, Dana. It is always a privilege to share someone’s life with them. This has been a safe space for all of us and we’ve all learned much about each other. It has been a joy.

  4. Suzy says:

    Dana, thanks for reminding me of those early phone calls we had. It was my pleasure to help you get started, although I would say it was “transcontinental” rather than “transatlantic” – we are both on the same side of the Atlantic! You have shared a mind-boggling 241 stories in a relatively short amount of time. And as John points out, you have now done a great job of categorizing your stories. It must be the librarian in you coming out!

    Thanks for making the trip to meet me in Cambridge, and I’m sure we’ll see each other again.

    • Ah Suzy, thanx for catching my error, transcontinental we are indeed! Will correct!

      I can only tell you again how grateful I am for Retro and for your fine administering, and yes I hope we’ll see each other whenever we find ourselves on the same coast.

      And one of these days I just might beat you at Words with Friends!
      Happy 2023!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Thanks to you, Dana, for being such a prolific writer and for sharing so much of your life story with us. And thanks for suggesting prompts. I feel like I know you even though we have only met through our words.

  6. Khati Hendry says:

    As others noted, I really liked the way you categorized the stories (at least some of them–over 200 stories in all!) and made me think about how my own stories might group themselves. It illustrates so well the various aspects of a life too–so many people, experiences, memories of living in this world. I have appreciated your warmth and humor, and how you have honored so many people. And of course it is wonderful to have met you in person–may it happen again.

    • Thanx for your kind words Khati, and yes indeed what we’ve all been writing and sharing on Retrospect are our experiences in living in this sometimes wonderful/sometimes sorry world.

      In fact I call my own blog World Thru Brown Eyes where lately I’ve been posting some Retro stories as well as you may have noticed!

      As I’ve told you Khati, our guest room awaits you whenever you get down here to the American northeast.

      And that invite goes to all my Retro peeps! Happy New Year!

  7. Dave Ventre says:

    I share John’s admiration at your cataloging skills, on such a large collection, too! I’d thought of going back to find some highlights to mention, but the task grew larger and larger as I contemplated it…and that with well under half your story count!

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