Category Archives: Essay/Memoir

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

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 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

The City of My Birth by Margaret Erhart

Skyscrapers against blue sky
 

The city of my birth, as seen from above, is a ragged landscape of canyons. Highrises, lowrises, the steeple of an old brick church. Streams of yellow taxicabs where forests of hickory and chestnut once grew. To the north lies the green rectangle of Central Park, the woody heart of this metropolis. There, red-tailed hawks and peregrine falcons prey on pigeons and squirrels and sometimes an errant Chihuahua. To the west, across the Hudson River, the fair state of New Jersey. To the east the bridges that stitch the island of Manhattan to the boroughs … Continue reading The City of My Birth by Margaret Erhart

Split Decision by Michael Olenick

Photo of hand ringing doorbell
 

The New Year’s Eve party was near Times Square in the building then housing Show World Center. You sat on my friends’ laps and mine inquiring about our salaries. John had the features of a Jones Beach lifeguard, which, coincidentally, he was. He was neither dumber nor smarter than he looked. Brian was the company ladies’ man, who we had nicknamed Kraven the Hunter. Those descriptions are as dated as the large-lensed glasses we all wore. Another Long Islander, he had studied medieval history at Wichita State because he wanted to get as far away … Continue reading Split Decision by Michael Olenick

On Arizona Highways by Jennifer Cummings

Photo of empty road, going toward mountains
 

There’s a scuba certification center in the middle of the desert, promising a deep heated pool. There’s a billboard with a picture of an elderly couple smiling for the camera, the woman wrapping her arms around the man’s shoulders from behind, with bold white text declaring, “E.D.? Keep the love going!” There’s a prison complex that’s all dirt and barbed wire, directly across from a shopping center advertising multiple designer brands and large stores with mission-style architecture. I stare from the window of a bus as they pass. I’ve driven this highway—which connects my college … Continue reading On Arizona Highways by Jennifer Cummings

Storms by Emily Walling

Photo of dark clouds with sun breaking through over water
 

If you’re standing on a pink sand beach in the Caribbean, the sun burning your back and monstrous thunder speaking to you across the salt water, you should probably listen. I should’ve listened. The sky roared at least half a dozen times, but I mentally shoved cotton into my ears. Bliss and a light day misguided my judgement, the storm rolling in quickly. My husband bleeding on the beach. Carl and I spent the day in the town of St. George on the northern part of Bermuda. We went in and out of the shops, … Continue reading Storms by Emily Walling