The Heirloom Box

My great grandmother had passed away.  Mom and Grandma were going over to the house, and Sis and I got to go with them, because we were the oldest kids in the family. I didn’t remember my great grandmother except for when she was in bed, dying, her white hair spread over the floral pillowcase.… Continue reading The Heirloom Box

Grandma’s Basement

My grandfather and his dad built a house into the side of a hill. The main floor had three small bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room and stairs to the kitchen below. The kitchen looked out over the hill down to the creek and had windows and a back door with a screen door. The… Continue reading Grandma’s Basement

The Danger of Family Secrets

To this day my mother says, “It was a different time. That’s what families did in those days.” She is talking about family secrets. Mine had a whole bunch of them. My dead Uncle David, with his farm painting on the living room wall of my grandparents’ house, was a mystery to me.  He’d died… Continue reading The Danger of Family Secrets

More Machu Picchu

(part two) Christy and I finished our breakfast at the hotel up at the top and looked into the fog. The buses wouldn’t start arriving until noon. “Let’s hike up the big mountain,” she said. “Okay,” I said. My lost and found tennis shoes were too small, but I had cut out the toes so… Continue reading More Machu Picchu

The Navajo in the Room

My mother’s brother was a college professor at Shiprock College (now renamed Diné College) in New Mexico.  He met and married my aunt Grace, a Navajo woman.  This was exciting news in my all-white Iowa family. Uncle Jim was coming to town with his new bride. Uncle Jim was tall and slim, and had a… Continue reading The Navajo in the Room

The Gun at Grandma’s House

The thing was cold, black, and heavy. Even though I was just a kid, maybe nine or ten, I knew a gun when I saw it. I’d been jumping on Grandma Nellie’s bed. The pillow had fallen on the floor. The gun had been under the pillow. I put everything back the way I found… Continue reading The Gun at Grandma’s House

Neighborhood Pack Rat

You know our kind. We save everything, just in case. I might need that someday. I’m going to wear that size again. That thing on the side of the road still has use left in it, and it’s free. That has a good memory for me. Who keeps stuff that evokes bad memories? No one,… Continue reading Neighborhood Pack Rat

Scary Surprise at Grandma’s House

The thing was cold, black, and heavy. Even though I was just a kid, maybe nine or ten, I knew a gun when I saw it. I’d been jumping on Grandma Nellie’s bed. The pillow had fallen on the floor. The gun had been under the pillow. I put everything back the way I found… Continue reading Scary Surprise at Grandma’s House

The Moon Landing and a Funeral

The day we landed on the moon, my parents took the family to a picnic/fishing spot at the Des Moines reservoir. I was going into high school in the fall, so it was a dorky thing to do on a Sunday, but hey? I couldn’t drive yet, and the food was always good on a… Continue reading The Moon Landing and a Funeral