Tag Archives: family


I am from academic chairs, from Bean Boots and Aunt Louise the Christmas cactus.

I am from the little brown Cape house, later gray, antiques and old photographs, comfortable sofas and wood fires.

I am from the brook, the ash tree with the soccer ball dangling from its dead branch.

I am from the paper crowns in Christmas crackers and dry humor, from Brown and Bock and Liston.

I am from inappropriate dinner conversations and a dark family secret aired. From three grandparents who would have loved me and a grandmother who loved me very much.

I am from lapsed Congregationalists and lost Methodists, a musty family Bible, my paternal grandmother’s confirmation corsage pressed within.

I’m from the city of commercial Valentines and Royal Corsets, the Black Forest, the Green Mountains, St. Andrews, Amsterdams old and New, macaroni and cheese and my grandmother’s gingerbread cookie recipe.

From my father, who once licked a parking meter on a winter’s day. His grandmother yanked him off, along with the skin of his tongue. My mother, who tried to flush her baby sister down the toilet.

I am from cemeteries and my mother’s writing desk, shoe boxes and storage containers in the crawl space behind my parents’ bed, photographs and news clippings, letters and genealogy charts.

This post is a response to a Red Dress Club prompt from months ago, titled “Where I’m From”, but I only found the words to finish it now, as the year is both ending and beginning. So here it is, a view of myself as the year turns.

Happy New Year!

Slaughtering the Festivus Tree

Happy December First!
In honor of it actually being acceptable to listen to Christmas music, put up the lights, etc, I present you with our family hunt for a Christmas tree.

My menfolk head into the tree farm forest to find a tree.

What do you think of this one, Daddy? I like it.


Let me help!

He was so very proud of his helping!

Supervising Daddy’s tree removal methods.


When Death walks among the young, he is particularly unwelcome.

At twenty seven, my brother should not have been carrying a best friend’s coffin. And yet, today, he did just that.

I am sad, and angry, and reminded of losses of my own.

I spent today, while my parents, brother and sister-in-law said goodbye to someone taken far too young and far too suddenly, with my brother’s children and my own small boy. I was reminded, as is so often the case, that life refuses to be put on hold for our grief. Children still need naps, and they will persist in laughing, crying, and perhaps if we’re exceptionally lucky, requiring changes of clothing in the middle of the day.

Life will go on. And to properly honor the memories who leave before us, we ought to live. Well, truly, fully, honestly, hilariously, tragically.

So, to Nick, and always to my dear Glenn, you were loved. You will be sorely missed.

To everyone I love, whose lives touch mine, in every way, l’chaim.

To life.

Not Kiddo or Rumplysnort

Perhaps someday, I’ll get my Dad to explain to you the precise origins of my childhood nickname, for I do not know them.

My Dad is the Guy Whose Nicknames Stick. He called me by mine well past the age where I became vaguely embarrassed about it. (Of course, now, when I have moved through acceptance and into embracing such a goofy nickname, he has forsaken it for the more literal Daughter.) He called my neighbor, Juliet, JB (not her actual initials) the whole time she lived across the street. My brother is Boo Boo, my high school friend, Jason, he called Ed. I could go on all day.

While in some cases odd, none of these nicknames are embarrassing, right?

None cause the innocent eavesdropper to snicker, do they?

For me, though, his firstborn?

Not Boo Boo, Ed, JB, or Larry. Not Peanut, or Sweet Pea. Not Hey, You! Not Kiddo or Rumplysnort.

My Dad called me Stink.

For years.

Into high school.

Though in his defense, not in front of my friends. Unless they happened to be at our house. Which was often, since our house was where people often gathered.

And you know what? When I look back, I don’t find that I am scarred by it. In fact, I love it. For my Dad, it was a term of endearment, and indicative of our family’s slightly… um… quirky humor.  So, to the naysayers out there who worry about calling your youngest child Baby, I say, “Be thankful it’s not Stink.”


Up for A Breath

So, it’s been all gloomy fiction and teenage angst (and features!) up in this place lately.

But life has actually gone on behind the scenes.

Take Thursday evening, for example! Worlds collided, universes shifted, and I met Marian! If you’re a regular, you’ll know her from the comments. Her blog is full of beautiful poetry, poignant observations, and general wonderful brilliance. She is delightful, and spending several hours with her, the last of which was spent quite literally unable to part, unable to end the conversation, in my minivan, after having closed down the local coffee place, and the Barnes and Noble down the road, was definitely the highlight of my week.

Last weekend my sister-in-law was in town with my niece and nephew, so there was lots of family fun. Gramma took us to the circus, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth did not disappoint. Even Felix liked it, once he got over the noise and lights. We did a Harvest Fair at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens the next day, and marched the kids to the top of Tower Hill, with it’s lovely view out to Mount Wachusett, over the Wachusett Reservoir. It’s about a hundred yards through the forest. Not exactly hiking, but very pretty! Felix, normally used to having my parents to himself, was especially clingy with Gramma, which was both endearing and irritating. He escorted her up and down the summit path, with much drama and ceremony.

Felix and his cousin A painted pumpkins together. They’re only seven months apart, and I love seeing them play together!

So, long week at work (despite it only being four days) aside, life has gone on and gone well. Sometimes it’s nice to come up out of the fiction for a breath of my lovely life.