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Trans-Siberia Railroad

June Calender

© Copyright 2017 by June Calender

Yurts seen from the train.

The Orient Express did not appeal to me. Book and movie made it sound too “jolly good” — tea and sherry with Lady La-de-da and Sir Secret Agent. I read that it was impossibly expensive and, by the end of the 20th century slow and grungy. But the Trans-Siberia Railroad—ah, that was a rail adventure of a different sort. Ten days long, eight or nine time zones, wilderness— gritty, only for the hardy who could endure monotonous forest and tundra. . . .


To Oregon, By Blood


Emerline E. Whitman


© Introduction copyright 2017 by Leslie Soule


Photo of Emerline Whitman.

Massacred By The Indians

The Terrible Experience of a Columbia County Girl

To the Editor of the Columbus Republican: 

As I have frequently been importuned by my many friends and acquaintances in Columbia County for my history, I will briefly give you an account in my poor way, of the journey across the plains in the year 1860, hoping that you will be kind enough to publish the same. . . .


Jerry Garcia: I Play for My Life

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2017 by Dale Fehringer


Photo of Jerry Garcia.

Jerry Garcia used to tell a story about an incident at a concert the Grateful Dead played in San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium. Before the concert someone brought in a birthday cake, and Garcia scooped up and ate a fingerfull of frosting. Just then, the guy who brought the cake warned that the frosting was laced with LSD. . . .


Raising Kids

Steve Alexander

© Copyright 2015 by Steve Alexander
     revised 2017


Photo of a baby eating toilet paper.

If there is to be a world fit for good people, there must be parents willing to train their children to create that world and to live in that world.

I think most parents today are on the wrong track. I think they are doing a poor job of raising kids fit for a world of nice people. Most kids of today are ill behaved, whining, screaming little criminals. They run their families, they are a nuisance to others, and their parents (who were raised the same way) let them get away with it. Bad behavior is accepted as “part of growing up.” They call it “self expression.”. . .


A Lucky Day

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2017  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a person holding a bandicoot.

As previously noted, bandicoots haven’t got much road sense.  I think it has to do with their small size and their limited field of vision which just can’t encompass a huge vehicle bearing down on them.  This is the story of one very lucky little bandicoot that I met when I was still living in Western Australia. . . .


Shame of the Tugboat Edison         

David Winnie

© Copyright 2017 by  David Winnie



Newspaper article about the killings.


George Raab was unable to tell if the pounding he heard was from the whiskey he had imbibed the night before or someone’s fist on the door of his room in the Hewitt Avenue flophouse. Opening one eye, he could make out the pale, curved shoulder of a doxie he’d hooked up with the night before.

The incessant knocking was coming from the door, with a shouted voice, “George Raab! This is Deputy Nathan Beard. Sherriff McRae needs to see you, posthaste.” . . .



Burn Baby Burn?

William Wayne Weems

© 2017 by William Wayne Weems

Photo of two shotgun houses.


So I was called during a back and forth debate with Facebook comments. I am aware of the present loose use of that slur, and the contention among some folk "of color" that it is impossible for them to be racist while those of "white" skin are by their very culture necessarily prey to such attitudes. But naïf that I am, I thought my participation in the Civil Rights restaurant sit-ins during the 1960's would somehow insulate me from such a charge. . . .


Doing It By The Book

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2017 by Emily Hart  



Photo of book cover, "The Submissive Wife."

Now I'm not saying that in Jessie Bell's place I would have gone a step further and struck the match, but then again, I'm not saying I wouldn't have.

I was completely surprised the first time.  After all, when Jack made rude little cracks at me I fired back with some smart crack of my own.  That was what we did.  Our friends thought we were cute.  Feisty.  When Jack backhanded me across the face it wasn't just the blow that knocked me off my feet. . . .


The Lesson

Marion Parks

© Copyright 2017 by Marion Parks
Photo of old lady with a pistol.

You sit at the traffic light, waiting for it to turn green; the tip of your fingernails tap out a little rhythm on the metal and plastic disc inside your steering wheel. You look in the rear view mirror and pat a strand of white hair back into place, noting the network of wrinkles making interesting patterns in your face, and you smile at yourself....


Grandmother's Roses


Leslie Soule


© Copyright 2017 by Leslie Soule


Photo of Leslie's grandmother.

When I think about my childhood, what I remember most fondly, is playing in my grandmother’s backyard, along with my cousins. We’d play around the rose bushes, and dig up insects. We’d catch frogs, run around and play tag, or use the old wagon and pull each other around. We had video games, but this was the age of regular Nintendo, and when the weather got cold, we’d play Mario Bros. for most of the day. My grandmother was an extraordinary woman, who’d raised four kids, and knew all their tricks. . . .

Odd Intruder: The Biography of Richard A. Anderson


Leslie Soule


© Copyright 2017 by Leslie Soule


Painting of Richard Anderson.

When I set out to write my stepfather’s biography in the spring of 2011, I found myself standing at a metaphorical crossroad. Truthfully, I felt inadequate to the task of becoming his biographer. However, sometimes in life we are called upon to undertake tasks that we never thought would fall to us. When my stepfather died in November of 2002, ultimately due to complications from diabetes, I was a month from turning nineteen years old. I felt like Frodo from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, accepting a ring of power and a dire quest at such a young and fragile age....



Barry Carver

© Copyright 2017 by Barry Carver


Photo of Chuckles candy.

Isn’t it true of all of us that, as we age, we find more of our parents in ourselves?

Sometimes it is an unhappy realization, but good or bad, we recognize that there is some weight to the argument that the apple never falls far from the tree. For most of us, I hope, it is also true that those everyday, throwaway memories with Mom and Dad – and probably just because so many of them were that: thrown away – become precious....


Taking Out Citizenship In Neverland

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2017 by Emily Hart  



Sunset over the Pacific (c) 2015 by Richard Loller.

I know that Neverland is a real place.  I have visited there often. 

"Tag! You're it!"

"Who made up this stupid game?" I thought, as once again I was the first person tagged."

Being the shortest one in our neighborhood group of kids, except for the "babies" -- younger siblings ranging from toddlers to kindergarten age -- I also had the shortest legs and was invariably the first person tagged.  This meant that I would chase the others around while they took turns resting and building up their strength.  I was at a disadvantage in any game involving running, but tag was the worst....



Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2017 by Emily Hart  



Old graveyard at Summer's end.

The imagination of a seventeen year old girl,  the crisp air of autumn and the scent of apples . . . what can they conjure up?

It was the time of the changing of the guard, the season between seasons.  The air undulated, warm as gold one moment, crisp as the ripening apples the next.  The scent of chlorine perfumed bodies mingled with the odor of turning leaves and soil getting ready to sleep.  Shadows ate more and more with increasingly sharper teeth.  The pendulum movement of the Earth's breath was as rhythmical as the pumping rise and fall of my bike pedals....


The Liberation of France


Margie Hofman 


© Copyright 2017 by Margie Hofman

Photo of liberation parade in Paris.

Yes, I know we all know about it – but do we?

My friend has a small apartment in the south of France, in Nice and she made friends with a schoolteacher who is teaching French children English. The teacher herself is English and started telling them the war time story of the little boats that went out from England to rescue our army at Dunkirk – the children laughed “How was it possible to get 300,000 men away in small boats” The teacher explained that they were ferried to the big boats .

The children aged about 14 or 15, knew very little about war time France and the teacher asked if she knew anybody who had written about war time for children – as I have several stories on the internet, she gave my name.




Mausumi Phukan Baruah


© Copyright 2017 by Mausumi Phukan Baruah


Photo of the author.

Life is a pendulum between a smile and a tear” Riki says philosophically, as she makes her entrance to the Kitty Party organised at Salma’s house while Malini, Meera, Seema and others were waiting for her arrival to start the party.

Hey don’t start boring please, leave your damn philosophy with yourself, for gods sake, don’t spoil our mood in this nice party” Meera says sarcastically, always unable to bear Riki’s works. Maybe she doesn’t understand them. Her motto of life is to relax, eat lavishly, forget the tensions and enjoy life. Her body and dress sense speaks nicely of it- a Body Mass Index of 30 + and always on Designer clothes- Halter tops, Lee or Levis jeans....

What Can You Lasso With A Frayed Rope?

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2017 by Emily Hart   


Photo of a headstone for George Bailey.

     Every year I watch the story of a desperate man and an inept angel with the faith of a child and wonder -- what comes next.  So I got tired of wondering and wrote my own next chapter.

     The house was quiet, with that preternatural stillness that comes after a party.  The guests had all gone home, singing carols as they drifted out.  The children were in bed, if not asleep at least trying to be in hopes of hastening Christmas morning.  Mary had insisted that she could see to the tidying up without his help.  George once again patted Zuzu's petals and thought of this singular night.  Already it seemed in danger of fading, just as a dream fades in the morning.  Did it truly happen?  Perhaps it was just a dream or a delusion as he had first thought....


The Mirror          


Mausumi Phukan Baruah


© Copyright 2017 by Mausumi Phukan Baruah


Photo of the author.

Shalini reached the counter hurriedly. She was a little bit late in her arrival. Mahesh was impatiently waiting to handover the responsibilities to her and leave. He had a tough night. “Hey Shalini, thank God that you have come! I thought that you might have taken leave.”

Shalini didn’t feel the need for an answer. She observed herself in her pocket mirror. Those dark circles under her eyes have made her face so dull. She got a little bit worried. Her beauty is her only asset. And how well she knows it. She adjusted her dress, applied some lipstick to bring in the fresh look and got ready for a new day....


How I Became a Writer of True Stories
(Instead of a Famous Author of Fiction)

Richard Franklin Bishop

© Copyright 2017 by Richard Franklin  Bishop

Photo of a writer working at a computer.

Many people set out early to be something special in life - some children already know what they want to be at an very young age. . . saying: “I want to be a Policeman when I grow up !” I had no such aspirations and drifted along for years with my juvenile peers who showed the same lack of career focus. For me, later in High School and College, it was: “I’d like to become an airplane Pilot.” But the eyes would not have it - not as a Profession. And so, my career plan which had taken so long to articulate became a little Zig-zag....


Sis Frances' Secret

John McLaren McBrydes  

Submitted by Martha DiPalma, his granddaughter 


© Copyright 2017 by Martha DiPalma



Photo of a 1927 five dollar bill.

(I found the following article in one of the drawers of my mother’s old desk. It was penciled on folded, yellowed sheets, the four folds practically breaking through with age. It was marked on the back “Sis Frances.” Apparently the writer had planned to submit it for publication, probably to the Readers’ Digest, as there were superscripted numbers written every so often to count the number of words accumulated. I surmised that he had written this in 1923.)...



Little Johnny Beaman

A Madison Plains Miracle

Aaron Davis        

© Copyright 2017 by  Aaron Davis



Photo of a cabin in the woods.

Way back, back in the day there was a little boy named Johnny Beaman, who was born to the proud parents, Sarah and Mr. Johnny Beaman.

Coming up Mr. and Mrs. Beaman were the typical poor family, stricken with the harshness of poverty.

Mrs. Beaman was a typical old house wife with little education. She barely made it through grade school.

On the other hand, Mr. Beaman was a retired steel worker who took care of his family the best way he could. He had a nice garden beside the house, which sat on ten acres. This was an inheritance given from Mr. Beaman parents a long while ago....


Halloween 1939 in Clay County Arkansas

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of an old house.

  Just in case the reader is not familiar with my stories; I am an old guy writing true short stories of events that happened in my life for the benefit of my great-great grandchildren.  I want them to have some knowledge of their heritage and of old Pawpaw Bob (that is what my kids and grandkids call me).  My real first name is Paul but I was nick-named Petey Bob growing up.

    I was born in Southern Missouri but my family moved to Arkansas when I was six years old.  We lived in the foothills of the Ozarks in Missouri but when we moved to Northeast Arkansas we  lived in the mosquito infested swamps near Big Black river about 9 miles from Corning....


David vs. Goliath

(Me vs.The Airlift Service Industrial Fund)

Richard Franklin Bishop

© Copyright 2017 by Richard Franklin  Bishop  
My Military Life Series (Without Deadly Force)
Part One - Enjoying Asia
Part Three - My Life As A Non-Combatant
Part Four - A Mysterious Disappearance
Part Five - Controlling An English Disaster
                       (Of American Origin)   
Part Six - Well, Major, What Do You Know?  
Part Seven - David vs. Goliath   

Photo of C-5A with smaller aircraft.


On 21 June 1957, after graduation from USAF Officer Candidate School (O.C.S.), I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant (a Gold Bar) in the United States Air Force at the ripe old age of 26 ½. I had been admitted to the program bumping hard against the upper age limit.

Since most newly Commissioned Air Force Officers came from College ROTC Programs, they were usually in their early twenties. Now you have to know that 2nd Lieutenants have it pretty tough while accumulating experience and during that time are endowed with such sobriquets as “greenhorns” and “wet behind the ears” by both other Officer ranks and Enlisted personnel; not to their face, of course! My Father, a Veteran of World War I, told me that back then they were called “90-Day Wonders."...


How 15 Cents Saved Me From

A Life of Crime

Circa 1942

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of steam locomotive wheels.

    ...I was in the ninth grade in Gary High and my little brother Billy was three grades behind.  We walked to school everyday along with our best buddy Billy Ray McDaniel who was in the middle of us age wise.  We walked the road to town and then peeled off on the railroad track which took us right by the school.  Usually we came back the same way but sometimes we would go back to town a different way.

    Now here's the thing, as kids are wont to do;  we had our motto and modus operandi.  Our goal each day on the way home was to somehow beg, borrow, or steal 15 cents so that we could each have a nickel to buy a big ole RC Cola.  Our success depended on this to brighten up our otherwise boring lives in this hot and dusty little town.  Remember, this was before I-Phones, internet and even before TV.  We didn't even have a radio so we had to make our own entertainment....



Barry Carver

© Copyright 2016 by Barry Carver


Photo of Barry and his dad.

My Dad finished his day’s work at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Assembly Plant, hopped into the family station wagon and made the drive from that Detroit suburb to the more distant one we then called home.
My Mom had gotten the five of us still at home, of six kids total, to finally head off to bed.  She turned on one of the silver, built-in, two bay electric ovens and chose from the freezer my Father’s evening meal.  It must’ve been about just after 11pm.
It’s strange the things you think growing up.  Dad’s evening meal would consist of either a potpie or a Swanson’s TV dinner.  The fridge always had a stock of those foil-encased delicacies and we kids thought it quite the treat when we got the same thing for dinner that Dad would get when he came home....



Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2016 by Dale Fehringer


Stylized photo of Betty.

The past few months have been hard for all of us. A divisive election and difficult times ahead will present challenges to all of us. If you need some inspiration to help you carry on, Betty’s story might provide it.

Betty said she should have known it was time for new tennis balls on the feet of her walker. The metal legs were scraping the sidewalks and the neighborhood dogs were barking when she walked the streets. So she asked a volunteer to replace the tennis balls, and now her walker glides with barely a peep. Betty is happier and so are the neighborhood dogs....



Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2016 by Dale Fehringer


Pencil sketch of Bea.

As I get older, I see evidence that happiness isn’t necessarily related to wealth. Sometimes, the people who have the least are the happiest, or at least they are content. That was the case with my friend, Bea. She found a way to get by and be happy with the cards she was dealt.

I used to drive Bea home to her apartment on Fridays after lunch at Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center. My friend, Ruby, who was in charge of the senior program, got me started when she asked me to drive Bea home one Friday. Bea had shown up that day for lunch with a bad nosebleed and tissues stuffed up her nostrils. Ruby got the nosebleed stopped and I drove her home. It turned into a regular thing....


Money and Popsy in New Orleans 

Martha Yarborough DiPalma

© Copyright 2015 by Martha Yarborough DiPalma


Photo of the St. Charles streetcar in New Orleans.

This writing is a description of some of my early life with my grandparents and a few of my aunts and uncles and cousins.

Money” and “Popsy” McBryde lived in a big old white house at 1537 Henry Clay Street in New Orleans. I remember visiting my grandparents for a few weeks during several summers. Here is my first attempt at using their typewriter in the summer of 1951 when I composed a letter to my mom and dad: (In nine-year-old cursive, I had added a P.S.: “Thanks for letting me stay.”)...


Elephant Man

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2016 by Emily Hart   


Photo of a vase of white roses.

The snow crunched beneath his boots as he walked.  He had stood here by this swing set in blistering sun and wind driven rains needled with ice -- and in snow like tonight, December 24th.  The swings moved slightly in the night breeze as if ghost children played on them.

What a thought!  He cursed himself silently.

"Where are you, Peri?" he said.  "Where are you?  Little girls are supposed to be safe at home eating gingerbread cookies and listening for sleigh bells on Christmas Eve."...


Gallows Flower

Emily Hart 

© Copyright 2016 by Emily Hart   


Photo of a vase of white roses.

Out on the prairie the loveliest things can be the most deadly, as a man sometimes finds out too late.

There's nothing so lovely as a flower on the prairie -- set against the harshness of a that bleak, unforgiving landscape.  It is like a bit of grace.  That was Flora Grace Coronach -- as fair to look at as a flower.  She looked like a day lily, bright and lithe.  She moved like water in a brook -- cool and laughing.  When she spoke to you it was like songbirds come back in the spring.  A woman like that should be dressed in velvets and satins and fine laces and have no work harder to do than lifting a teapot.  She should be mated to man who has earned the respect of other men....


Petey Bob's Train Ride

A True Story

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of steam locomotive wheels.

It was during the Great War. The year was 1944 and I was 13 years old, getting ready to be 14 on July 23, 1944. 

My family lived in a small town in East Texas not too far from Longview. We had moved to Texas from Northeast Arkansas where my dad had a small farm. He had gotten hurt and was unable to work the farm so we moved to Texas where Dad's extended family lived so he could help out around their sawmill.

My mom's family lived in Southern Missouri near the small town of Doniphan. I wanted to visit my Grandma and Uncle Paul when school was out that Spring so Dad drove me to Longview to catch the train....


What Lies Ahead            
Gayle Thawley

© Copyright 2016 by Gayle Thawley



Photo of the World Trade Center before the attack.

How lucky we are that we do not know what lies ahead as nothing that picture perfect September morning prepared me for the hours to come. For that matter, nothing in my life prepared me for the hours to come.

Standing on the small wooden porch of the portable classroom I lovingly called ‘Math Heaven’ at Kilmer Middle School in Fairfax, Virginia, I felt my first feeling of relaxation since my summer vacation had ended just two short weeks before. The tedious attention to the details of a new school year had dominated my life completely. Class lists for 152 students, preparing lesson plans, meeting after meeting, the list went on and on....


Fear and Loathing the Tokyo Hospital Scene, or

Marcus Welby, M.D.: Alive and Well, and Practicing in Yotsukaido


Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2016 by Carl Winderl

Photo of a Japanese hospital sign.

This piece is for all those Bostonians who must have been living in Tokyo while I was living in Japan, for a year or so, just outside of Tokyo, about an hour east of it.

Whenever I’d go in to Tokyo, it seemed to me that all the Americans I saw there must have been Bostonians. Only rarely would I ever see anyone I knew for sure was a bona fide1 tourist. The rest, I was certain, were from somewhere in New England – or most assuredly from Boston itself.

It had to be them, to coin a paraphrase. I mean, really, who else but New Englanders are notorious for being cold, impersonal, even obnoxiously unfriendly, on a good day. On most days, regionally proud of it. And on a bad day, who else goes out of their way to be rude. But I’ve changed, largely because of my experiences in Japan. So, surely if you’d seen me there – trying to catch some fellow American’s eye, ready to say hello, or offer directions, help in some way, if needed . . . yes, that would have been me....



Marion Parks

© Copyright 2016 by Marion Parks
Picture of a kaleidoscope image.

          "Old lady, said the Jester,  as he twirled around me, the bells on his 3-cornered cap tinkling with a mystical sound....


A Turkey Hunt

Gene Fletcher

© Copyright 2016 by Gene Fletcher

Photo of running turkeys. (c) 2012 Richard Loller

Before the arrival of civilization and the so called rule of law, hunting was primarily for food. The people who hunted used simple tools to supplement the effectiveness of the guns that all local citizens carried. The tools for the hunt included duck calls, turkey yelpers and a light to shine the eyes of game during a hunt at night. . . .

My first Turkey hunt came as a surprise when I was about 14 years of age. My father and my uncle Ben were talking over their plans for a Turkey hunt the next day. As I listened quietly, enjoying my status as the oldest of my generation, thus being allowed to stay up later than the little kids, I heard the plan unfold....


Our Garden Goes To Pot

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2016  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a boy hoeing a garden.

In 1970 my husband decided it was time to do something more exciting than living in South Lowell, Massachusetts, and working as a technical model maker for Raytheon. Before I got though listing reasons why we should stay in our little blue house with our two daughters, we had joined the Peace Corps and were getting off a DC-3 in Swaziland, a tiny kingdom in southern Africa.

We had several adventurous weeks in a training program, doing in-depth language classes and meeting lots of local people. The new life became “normal” amazingly quickly. Shortly after we moved into our permanent quarters, I decided the big back yard filled with semi-feral lawn should be put to use as a garden....


The Judge

Gene Fletcher

© Copyright 2016 by Gene Fletcher

Photo of a judge's gavel.

He was a retired federal judge who had been called out of retirement to serve on a three judge panel that was the federal court of appeals for our area. He had retired about 20 years ago so my guess was that he was about 80 to 85 years old. He looked like an actor direct from central casting. He had a healthy appearance and he had a fondness for humor. The kind of humor that appears in the daily lives that each of us live, but it is humor that is often unrecognized as we shuffle along in our somewhat boring routines....


Pestered By Parrots

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2016  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a parrot eating fruit.

Native Australians will probably never understand what an amazing experience having wild parrots in one's yard is for immigrants from places such as New England. If the most colourful thing you ever saw was a blue jay, the sight of a pair of western rosellas in red, blue, green and yellow is staggering.

I had been dragooned into bird-watching by my mother at an early age, and spent many a damp spring day in Massachusetts doing Audubon surveys with her, but nothing had prepared me for the colour and diversity of Australian bird life, particularly the parrots....


The Chachapoya Culture


Richard Franklin Bishop


© Copyright 2016 by Richard Franklin  Bishop      

Photo of a Chachapoya building.

Why is it that we who live in the Americas just can’t bring ourselves to believe that once upon a time there were brave people who decided to “go for it” and actually made it across the Atlantic to the “new World” -- before the Vikings ? Perhaps it’s because no one has ever stepped forward with convincing evidence for such an adventure. With all Academia staunchly set against the idea, the proof would have to be the “irresistible force against an immovable object.”

Fans of Pedro Álvares Cabral (Brazil discovery date: 1500 A.D.) are especially sensitive to any research that would tend to overshadow his celebrated but involuntary storm-tossed landing in present-day Brazil made accidently while attempting to circumnavigate Africa.

Fans of Christopher Columbus (New World discovery date: 1492 A.D.) are a little less rabid on the subject but band together steady as a rock in denying that anyone but the Vikings could have landed in the Americas earlier.

But now, I’ve come around to agreeing with the late Dr. Cyrus H. Gordon, who asserted in his book, Before Columbus (Crown Publishers, New York, 1971), that there were scores of ancient visits to the “new world” and that many of them were on purpose -- not just accidental; probably seeking natural resources such as gold or silver or tin or iron ore -- whatever the technology of the times required....


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