The Kindness Effect

You already know this, but you've probably forgotten. If you're my age, in first grade you were handed a wooden ruler stamped with The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Bulletin boards brandished the slogan. Teachers recited it to unruly children who had to be separated at recess.…

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Best Monday Ever

Everyone hates Monday. It's a flashing signal warning us to get back on the school bus or to grab the broom or to log on at the office. There are chores to complete and deadlines to meet. Enough fun. So imagine my shock when I answered the phone at 11 am this past Monday and…

What To Do with Karen?

Well, there was all that about my kindergarten experience, if you read my previous post. I left out the part about being swatted when I left my chair once. I'd never been grabbed and shaken in my life. I was incredulous and scared. I did not leave kindergarten with a high opinion of that teacher…

Kindergarten Issues

I entered kindergarten in Carmi, Illinois. My mother used to say I was a happy child until then. When she said it after I married Cliff, a kindergarten teacher himself, he asked me what I remembered about my first year of school. My earliest recollection with the teacher happened when she sent us to the…

Pirates and Daffodils

Because I'm an only child, I spent most of my early years creating story lines by myself. Sometimes I served as narrator of a tale. Other times I played a character in the action. One of my favorite stories involved the daffodil fields in my grandparents' chicken lot. I assume my grandmother planted the bulbs…

Both Ends of a Scream

When Cliff and I first got together, he loved recounting his teenaged summers with friends, traveling across America to hear Janis Joplin, The Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers, Jefferson Airplane...The whole suede fringe set. He'd often ask: "Do you know who that is?" I listened politely. Every time. One day he told me again…

Easter Bunny Reflections

Easter happened one week ago with particularly cold, blustery weather. Our next-door neighbors rallied, nevertheless. Three generations shared games outdoors. Bundled up in coats, little girls ran with a big neon egg. Their pastel dress hems flapped in the wind. Indoors, candy-filled baskets delivered by the Easter Bunny undoubtedly lined the hearth. Easter, beyond the…

Good-Intentions Garden Chronicles

I went into motherhood thinking I'd create one treasured moment after another in Maggie's childhood. The house we bought in North Carolina was bordered by brilliant azaleas and pink and white dogwoods. It looked like a fairy squadron descended on us each spring. I decided we should establish beautiful gardens for an equivalent ground game.…