Doc and Lillian

When I was just out of college and teaching in a small town in Nebraska, I rented a refurbished farmhouse from the superintendent.  His dad was Doc. Doc’s wife was Lillian. They became my surrogate Nebraska grandparents. Doc used to be a dentist, and one day he presented me with a mood ring. Remember those?… Continue reading Doc and Lillian

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

My Fake-Coffee Half Hour

It’s funny how a person’s perception of what is good changes with the circumstances. I used to look forward to my can of Diet Coke every day until I reached my mid-forties. Then the stuff was too hard on my stomach, and I gave it up. I used to look forward to my cup of… Continue reading My Fake-Coffee Half Hour

Date with an Older Man

(re-run) I said yes. To a date. With a much older man. My girlfriend met him and didn’t approve. But she also said she wouldn’t dance with any guy she wouldn’t want to kiss. I dance with everyone – men, women, kids – many of whom I would never put my lips on.  Does dancing… Continue reading Date with an Older Man

My Fake-Coffee Half Hour

It’s funny how a person’s perception of what is good changes with the circumstances. I used to look forward to my can of Diet Coke every day until I reached my mid-forties. Then the stuff was too hard on my stomach, and I gave it up. I used to look forward to my cup of… Continue reading My Fake-Coffee Half Hour

A Disco Era Story

The band room was a freezer. “Vamos a sentarnos en el pasillo, clase.” “What?” “We’ll sit in the hallway today.” It was zero degrees outside. The school district wanted a Spanish class but had no classroom for me. I’d complained a zillion times – when the band teacher held private tuba lessons in his office,… Continue reading A Disco Era Story

The Longest Day of my Life

Today is the anniversary of the longest day of my life. Eight years ago, the movers showed up at 7:00 a.m. I had expected them at 8:00. They had a medium-sized truck. There was no way everything would fit. I had the Suburban and the Subaru, but they were already packed to the gills. The… Continue reading The Longest Day of my Life

Since You Asked, Latino or Hispanic?

Have you ever noticed when filling out a form for any government thing, like a driver’s license or a passport, that the form will ask you to check a box regarding your race?  If you haven’t read all the choices, please do so next time. There is a box for Hispanic and another box for… Continue reading Since You Asked, Latino or Hispanic?

Show Me the Numbers!

At a recent wedding rehearsal dinner, I sat across from a well-off, pension-receiving white guy who started a conversation about immigration. Sorry for him that he did not know he was sitting across from a Spanish teacher/book author who has studied and followed Hispanic cultures for most of my life. And I’m old. To sum… Continue reading Show Me the Numbers!