Category Archives: Essay/Memoir

Butter, Bread, Beethoven: I Remember My Father by Cora Schenberg

Plate with bread and butter
 

In the Valley of the Bones The hand of HASHEM was upon me; it took me out by the spirit of HASHEM and set me down in the midst of the valley—and it was filled with bones…He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones! Say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of HASHEM!’ Thus said the Lord HASHEM/ELOHIM to these bones: Behold, I will bring a spirit into you, and you will come to life. I will put sinew upon you, and I will coat you with skin; then I will put a … Continue reading Butter, Bread, Beethoven: I Remember My Father by Cora Schenberg

Four Kitten Alarm Fire by James Carbaugh

White kitten
 

Mopsy, our beloved cat of mixed origins and numerous partners, had just had another litter of kittens—this time only four. She had amazed us the previous two times with six, all beautiful and now in good homes. We gave our new little ones the easily identifiable names of Brownie, Whitey, Stripey, and Junior—Junior looking very much like his mother, grey-mixed. They were beautiful kittens and we loved all of them; however, no one loved them as much as my brother BB. He gave them additional names other than the obvious ones—Mudface, Snowflake, Superman, and Hercules. … Continue reading Four Kitten Alarm Fire by James Carbaugh

My First Year as a Cidiot by Mat Zucker

Goats at a wire fence
 

Within just a few months living in New York’s Hudson Valley, we stopped buying our eggs anywhere but Sawkill Farm down the road. “Your eggs are better than anyone’s,” I told Kallie who runs the store and who moved from Brooklyn not long ago herself. She beamed with pride, but I don’t think it was the first time someone gave the compliment. “Cidiot” refers to a hardened city person who moves to the country and acclimates through experience. After 20 years in Manhattan, my husband and I purchased an 1847 cottage in the farm community … Continue reading My First Year as a Cidiot by Mat Zucker

Under the Wattle Bush by Mary Pacifico Curtis

Yellow flowers on wattle bush
 

Heaven and Earth Off the coast of the continent stars pinprick a black sky—tiny and plentiful, a cloud of a luminous multitude—announcement of lives, flows of history that date to creation and reach to uncertain futures through shifts of current day. Bright around the cloud of light: the planets, big stars proclaiming the universe and the lands below. I decided to come here instantly after the announcement that the next global gathering of our public relations agency network would take place in Cape Town. Although my heart was no longer in my competitive career, the … Continue reading Under the Wattle Bush by Mary Pacifico Curtis

Gangsters, Bigots, and Tough Guys: Growing Up Chicago by Alejandro Diaz

Chicago spelled in lights
 

Chicago is in my blood, even though today I consider myself a Californian. My parents immigrated to the Windy City in the late 1950’s; my younger brother, my three older sisters and I were all born on the Westside. Chicago has always been a tough, blue-collar town, made up of different ethnic neighborhoods that can be downright hostile to outsiders. But when my parents moved there, it was also a city where housing was very affordable, where working class wages were strong, and a place where you could get a good education at a fair … Continue reading Gangsters, Bigots, and Tough Guys: Growing Up Chicago by Alejandro Diaz

Toy Piano by Sharon Harrigan

toy piano
 

I’m seven years old, and streams of people lean on the walls of the viewing room, standing in line for their turn to see my father in his coffin. I’m so close that the slippery gloss of the lacquered wood slides against my scratchy dress. The smell of lilies mixes with Mr. Clean, making the flowers seem artificial even though they’re not. The velvet lining, the shiny veneer, the bouquets, and his fancy clothes—a black suit I can’t remember ever seeing him wear—makes me wonder if the man inside is really my father. He should … Continue reading Toy Piano by Sharon Harrigan

On Being a Body by Catherine MacDonald

Vibrant blue flower
 

I am floating in near total silence in the women’s bathhouse at the Jefferson Pools, a natural mineral springs in Bath County, Virginia. Surrounded by six other women, some nude, others in bathing suits, there’s only the swish of a raised arm or a sigh when we reposition ourselves on the bright and squeaky Styrofoam noodles provided to keep us afloat in the warm, clear water. Enclosed by an aging wooden roundhouse, its whitewashed walls speckled with green mold, the pool is deep with a stony bottom and bounded by sparse curtained dressing rooms. It’s … Continue reading On Being a Body by Catherine MacDonald

Two Emmas by Nancy Taylor

statue
 

I didn’t know exactly where we were going as my brother took me for a ride in the countryside of my home county on a late February Saturday. He drove down a narrow paved road and stopped near an overgrowth of trees and bushes. “Do you know where we are?” Not until I heard, “This road used to be dirt” did it hit me—Emma’s. We made our way through tangles of vines and wintery twigs, only to find the four-room house completely collapsed with just an old chimney of “Pee Dee” imprinted bricks left standing. … Continue reading Two Emmas by Nancy Taylor

Holding Onto Silver by Rich H. Kenney

Streaks of color on black
 

In the summer of 1960, my father got high and I held the ladder. “All you have to do,” he told me, “is to hold it steady and turn the radio dial when I tell you. Whatever you do…” he said, sternly, “don’t move the ladder. That means no talking to friends, no kicking pebbles, and no daydreaming. Got it?” With that, he scooted up the side of our house to the second story, fresh paint from his bucket splattering and sticking to Silver, his aluminum ladder. He ascended rungs like a seasoned fire-fighter but, … Continue reading Holding Onto Silver by Rich H. Kenney

Sliding by Anne Carle Carson

snowy neigborhood road
 

It had just snowed a heavy snow, and my mother picked us up early from school. The roads were not that scary or impassable, but she drove with great care that day anyway—this was Richmond, Virginia and no one was accustomed to snow there. We sat bundled in the grey Chevrolet station wagon, all four kids in our colorful, puff polyester coats. I remember liking that name, Chevrolet, saying it over and over to myself. The radio broadcasted the AM station, the one that always shared the school closings or delays, and how much snow … Continue reading Sliding by Anne Carle Carson