Magical Memoir Moments

What do you think she calls him?

Your Grandparent Name: A Twenty-first Century Choice

What is one of the oldest jokes about becoming a grandparent? “I don’t mind being a grandma, but I’m not sure about sleeping with a grandpa!” Getting used to the role of grandparent takes time, but is a universal experience. Getting used to the name, these days, is much more culturally variable. Depending on how…

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Carol Bodensteiner joins Mayor Pete and me at the base camp before the Nov. 1 rally and LJC Dinner.

I See Iowa Politics Up Close, and Carol Chooses Her Candidate!

Remember my friend, Carol, who lives in Iowa? I wrote about her in June. We met online as memoir writers, presented together at Prairie Lights bookstore, and have stayed in touch by phone for several years. In June, Carol was still trying to decide who she will caucus for in February. Well, there’s news to…

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Lydia and Grandma ready to explore the front yard as we walk down the street to the EMU front yard on Homecoming weekend.

Little Mystic, Great Mind: Splendor in the Grass

“[To the mystic] grass is really a forest and the grasshopper a dragon. Little things please great minds.” —G. K. Chesterton When little Lydia, almost two and a half, visited our house recently, she spent the first few minutes walking from room to room, noticing things she remembered from her last visit nearly a year…

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A cornucopia of fall produce from the Farm at Willow Run.

The Harvest Comes For You and For Me

Here is a poem fragment I think of every fall. “Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen: reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in. This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always, for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting, after the…

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Couldn't find any Pepsi in glass bottles, so I went with my water bottle.

So Much Fun: Making Collage Photos and Getting Chills

A few weeks ago everyone seemed to be playing with FaceApp, which aged faces of young people. You could see yourself in the future, say, fifty years from now. On our second honeymoon to Nova Scotia, we did the reverse.   These collages were much fun to make. They were taken almost exactly fifty years…

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August 1969. Nova Scotia. Our honeymoon.

The Three Most Important Words in Marriage: Fifty Years of Learning Together

It’s a family joke with us. We picked it up from a friend who asked, “What are the three most important words in marriage?” Our immediate response was “I love you.” We say those words to each other every day. We’ve been doing so for more than 50 years. But our friend said, “No, there…

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Why We Installed Solar Panels: Old Age and the Triple Bottom Line

It makes no sense. We are not likely to recoup the money it takes to buy and install solar. We’re too old. But we did it anyway.   Our next door neighbors went first. They were in their eighties! When I saw their solar panels going up, I remembered a proverb: A modern way of…

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Owen, Lydia, and Julia with their grandparents. June 22, 2019

Grandparent Camp: Like Baking a Cake

Grandparent week at our house started out at the Showalter Reunion. Owen and Julia’s parents drove 8.5 hours to Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia, to participate in the festivities. At the end of the reunion, Owen and Julia jumped into Grandma and Granddad’s car, and their parents drove back to Philadelphia and Montclair so…

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Screen shot from the campaign website store: https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/gear/products/pete-2020-embroidered-hat

In Defense of Iowa Caucuses and an Explanation for Mayor Pete’s Popularity Among Seniors

  My best friend in Iowa is a country girl. Like me, Carol Bodensteiner grew up on a dairy farm in the 1950s. She wrote a childhood memoir, which brought us together. We are both writers. For the last two years, Carol and I have talked with each other once a month, discovering that we…

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My Three Cherished Things: Preserving the Stories that Go With Them

Last week I shared a conversation starter question that ignited a lively discussion. Readers shared three things they most cherished, three things they would clutch in a fire. I promised to share mine. So here goes. My first choice: I was wearing this ring on my right hand while I tried to choose my three…

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