The Racist, the Ficus Tree, and my Garage Sale

(re-run) When I was six, the one black boy in my elementary school was in my class. His name was Teddy. This was white-white-white Iowa in the 60s.  My first grade teacher, Mrs. Van Cura, got angry at the class one day for misbehaving and said, “Whoever doesn’t behave will have to play with Teddy… Continue reading The Racist, the Ficus Tree, and my Garage Sale

Almost Toast

(re-run) Marlene and her friend Beth came out to California from New Hampshire after college to work for Bank of America. They each made a new friend, and each new friend brought another friend to the party (plus one more) until they were a group of seven recent college graduates, living in the city of… Continue reading Almost Toast

Barbies or a Boyfriend?

(re-run) Facebook has done it again. When I think I have no ideas for a blog post, some Facebook exchange with a stranger will remind me of something in my past to write about. The post was a Ukranian girl sitting in a window, holding a weapon. The caption said, “While American tweens are playing… Continue reading Barbies or a Boyfriend?

Butt Dials and Other My-Bads

(re-run) I had lunch with my son yesterday. We tried to figure out why I’d used up all my storage on my cell phone. He took a look, handed back my phone, and watched me put it in my pocket. “You need to hit the button on the side and turn off your screen,” he… Continue reading Butt Dials and Other My-Bads

Uncle Frank and the Jar of Coins

(re-run) I grew up with three uncles, one in Colorado, another on the other side of the state, and one near my home town in Des Moines, Iowa. Uncle Frank was older than the other uncles, but since his daughter, Nina, was my age, I hardly noticed.  He was married to my grandma’s younger sister. … Continue reading Uncle Frank and the Jar of Coins

Queen Victoria, the Cat

(re-run) Renee, the artist, already had three cats. She wasn’t looking for another. So when her daughter-in-law called and said, “Mom, you need to adopt this cat,” Renee was thinking, No way, Renee. But then she heard the kitty’s story, and she had to reconsider. Renee’s son Brian and his wife were moving to Tennessee… Continue reading Queen Victoria, the Cat

Judging from the Trends

(re-run) I was asked to judge a picture book contest. I’m a picture book author of 29 books and also a mom of past picture-book fans. Picture books are books with both words and art, usually 28 to 64 pages, and usually for young children. The gift book people have figured out how to put… Continue reading Judging from the Trends

Government Cheese and Pinto Beans

I was nine or ten when our mom took me and my younger siblings downtown to a place to get some free food for poor people.  Our dad was out of work for six weeks. My mother was humiliated. We waited in line until it was our turn. As the worker handed Mom her block… Continue reading Government Cheese and Pinto Beans

The Day Grandma Got Woke

(re-run) My mom loves to watch the daytime talk show called Ellen. It’s usually fun and games, with hunky guys and Ellen playing tricks on her guests and staff. She rounds out the hour with lesbian jokes, a musical performance by some obscure band, and Ellen surprising some needy but giving person with $10,000 in… Continue reading The Day Grandma Got Woke

Barbies or a Boyfriend?

Facebook has done it again. When I think I have no ideas for a new blog post, some Facebook exchange with a stranger will remind me of something in my past to write about. The post was a Ukranian girl sitting in a window, holding a weapon. The caption said, “While American tweens are playing… Continue reading Barbies or a Boyfriend?