Freeport Drive

When I swung forward, I leaned back so far that the trees were upside down. I enjoyed the giddy feeling in my stomach, but eventually the rope burned my hands and I got off the swing and swayed, slightly dizzy, on the ground. The rope was tied to a tree limb at the top and to an old tire at the bottom. I looked down the gentle hill at the carpet of brown and yellow leaves which gave way to grass and then our house and then more grass and then Freeport Drive and then the hill where I rode my bike and the freedom of being 10 years old in Burlington Massachusetts circa 1980. Continue reading Freeport Drive

Spinners

“I have good news and bad news, dear,” grandma says with a sly smile. “Bad news first: we’ve run out of jam for your muffin.”

I must look comically bereft. I’ve been visiting for a week and every morning I’ve had a pile of blueberry jam on an English muffin for breakfast. Grandma has offered pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon; but I have stuck with the muffins and the jam.

“The good news is there’s more in the cellar. Just go down the stairs and on the left there’s some shelves. There’s pickled tomatoes and pickled cucumbers and peaches and blueberry jam. You can’t miss the jam because it’s dark blue.” The pours herself some coffee and sits down with a soft “oy” at the kitchen table. “Go on now.” Continue reading Spinners

Oweanka

“Not yooouuu!”

My daughter Kathryn sat on the toilet, her face red with frustration. She had been yelling “Mama” at the top of her lungs, but Mama hadn’t come. Papa had come instead, and this wasn’t acceptable to her 3-year-old mind. She tottered on the edge of the toilet, her pink cotton dress pulled up, her short hair encircling her miserable face. I knew I would get nowhere with her–she is not to be reasoned with in such a mood–and I left to get her mother. Continue reading Oweanka

Cheaters

“Let me tell you a story.”

The girl stared at the ceiling, and as her father sat on the edge of the bed she scooted back to keep her distance. She sighed meaningfully while her father began talking.

“When I was in high school they had a big Trivial Pursuit contest out on the quad.” The girl had never played the game, and probably didn’t know what a quad was, but she didn’t ask for clarification so her father pressed on. “We had a pretty good team. We were all honors students. Continue reading Cheaters