All posts by Susan Shafarzek

Plight of the Humble Bee by Richard Key

Closeup photo of honeycomb
 

Richard Key is the 1st place winner of Streetlight Magazine‘s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest Honeybees are swarming outside my home office under the eaves of the roofline. I would say they are hovering like tiny drones, except they probably are tiny drones. They seem very interested in a certain corner of the house. I’m afraid I’ll get stung if I investigate too much, but I know exactly what they’re up to. Six years ago we had a similar problem and called in a “bee man” who opened up that same space, vacuumed them out with a … Continue reading Plight of the Humble Bee by Richard Key

The Silence is Deafening by Benjamin Rempel


 

When self-isolation measures were first enacted, five-year-old Vivian seemed excited about the whole thing. A new experience, unique to this time and place. She was playing with her mom, she yelled from her porch, so all was good. She rode her scooter up and down the driveway when the sun was out; hung drawings across her wide front window when it was time to come in. Not everyone was as excited though. “Why shut down the entire country?” my Toronto neighbor lamented. “You can’t stop everyone from working! Our economy will be in the toilet!” … Continue reading The Silence is Deafening by Benjamin Rempel

The Stairway by Thomas Laver

Photo of stairway leading up
 

The visit was long overdue. At my wife Margie’s suggestion, I decided to do something about it. So, on a summer day that was forehead-dripping hot with a steely blue sky, the two of us strolled in shorts and sandals up the Toronto street where I first lived. The cicadas sang lustily. Did they remember me? We walked past Charlie Haskin’s house. It hadn’t changed as far as I could tell. I recalled sitting in the back seat of his big gray Ford Tudor sedan in 1946 while waiting for my mother to emerge from … Continue reading The Stairway by Thomas Laver

A Birth by Jess Williams

Photo of newborn baby
 

Daniel and I had done a lot of preparation for labor, I thought, but I never considered that it would start during the night. I had pictured it many times and it was exclusively a daytime event. In fact, it started in the morning, like most civilized activities. Like a workday. But that wasn’t how it happened. I spent the night of October 15th-16th intermittently awake with contractions. I didn’t wake Daniel up to tell him the news, though, because I’d read a passage in a birthing book about some Amish woman who didn’t tell … Continue reading A Birth by Jess Williams

Full Circle by A.R. Bender

Photo of Tacoma
 

Not long ago, I walked along a rustic road that wound its way through a thickly forested area, taking in the sounds and sights of nature. Eventually the growth of trees thinned out and I came upon a somewhat ramshackle building situated behind a gravel parking lot. There I stopped, as if waking from a trance. Just a short time before, I’d been strolling in a neighborhood of stately, craftsman homes that were built during the time when Tacoma was first being settled in the late 1800s. From there, however, I must‘ve followed a road … Continue reading Full Circle by A.R. Bender

We Have Winners, We Do

Close up photo of sparklers
 

Just as we were hunkering down in the midst of this global emergency, we received the last dozen or so entries for the 2020 Streetlight Essay/Memoir contest. That was a happy distraction! And this is too. None of the many, many wonderful essays we’ve been reading for the past three months has been about the virus and I’m kind of glad about that. It’s good to acknowledge there is a world outside this present catastrophe. I’m happy to be able to invite you to look at these examples of strong writing, acute vision, and a … Continue reading We Have Winners, We Do

Side Effects by Philip Lawton

Photo of spines of books on shelf
 

The day before I turned 40, a Sunday toward the end of the merry month, we went for a drive from our home in West Hartford to the town of Litchfield, Connecticut. I was at the wheel, my wife navigating, our children, a thirteen-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl, on the back seat of a dark red minivan. I had a lot on my mind, my job was exceedingly demanding, my father, gravely ill, but it was a glorious afternoon for an unhurried Memorial Day weekend trip to that scenic part of the state. We … Continue reading Side Effects by Philip Lawton

What We Forget by Tom Coates

Picture of American flag overlooking river
 

I remember the moment I knew my grandmother’s mind was slipping away. My cousin leaned in to give her a kiss and say goodnight. “Goodnight, Dahh-ling,” she replied as only she could, and then, to no one in particular, “Who was that?” Granted, the woman had nine kids and eighteen grandchildren, and she may have had a rum punch or two, but still, it struck me. Two years later, a few days before Christmas, I sat with her on a bench under a blanket and a blue winter sky in the field behind the old Virginia … Continue reading What We Forget by Tom Coates

The Pulse(s) of February by Susan Shafarzek

Photo of fancy chocolates
 

The other day I heard somebody use the phrase, “the dead of winter,” and I thought, wow, it surely is. Punxsutawney Phil to the contrary—nor yet the strangely benign weather we’ve been having here in central Virginia, it’s the nadir, the bottom, the halfway mark. As dead as winter gets. Dark in the morning, dark in the evening and the trees still putting scratch marks on the sky. People are apt to scream for no reason, dogs are restless. Cats stare out the window with a patient but hopeless look. If you have a canary, … Continue reading The Pulse(s) of February by Susan Shafarzek

The Fairest of the Fair by Anthony J. Mohr

Photo of Hollywood sign
 

Not until age seventy did I recall a place I’d never been—the Teenage Fair. Launched in 1961, it became a so-called “mini world’s fair for teenagers” which featured, according to one of its newspaper ads, a “battle of the beat, model cars, drag strip racing, dance contests, custom car caravan, surfing movies, Miss Teen International Pageant, harmony folk festival, movie, TV, radio, and record guest stars, judo, beauty clinics, thrill shows, photo and home movie expositions, fabulous fashion shows, dream cars of the future, bands and drill teams and nonstop record hop.” Also, someone told … Continue reading The Fairest of the Fair by Anthony J. Mohr