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Lona Matshingana

© Copyright 2020 by Lona Matshingana

Photo of kids playing.

The beginning of a new season was something we all cherished in Tembisa, South Africa. Tembisa wasn’t a beautiful place because it was filled with shacks as it was a poverty stricken place and when I stayed there, we stayed in a one room house, that was part of other one room houses but it was surely packed with beautiful people inside and outside. . . .


Your Missing Daughter
Letters to an Unknown Father

Brenda North

© Copyright 2020 by Brenda North

Photo of a hand writing.

Brenda is the only child of her mother but has never known her father or if she has any half siblings. All of her life, she has wondered about her father and wanted to know him. These letters have been a way for her, after sixty plus years of these feelings, to release the hurt and anger about her situation. . . .

An Echo Of Things To Come

Garry Goodfellow

© Copyright 2020 by Garry Goodfellow

Photo of Garry's horse.

The chamber of the dawn seemed gigantic, the mountains having lifted up the roof of heaven higher than the man had seen for a long time, the woodlands below the sunrise proving a wonderful lack of mankind and a glorious after-life beyond this world. The Day Star flashing in the East, his face turned toward the distant moon, the high hills cast their gaunt shadows as the wind that blew with a spirit of rest, and the grass was bright with the dew. . . .

Pohnpei, The Hotspot of Micronesia

Alan Kim

  © Copyright 2020 by Alan Kim


Photo of a view of Pohnpei.

We learn in school in history and world geography of different countries, cites and cultures. While learning about foreign places like Paris, Tokyo and Sydney, we dream about traveling there and around the world. It is when we actually go to these places that we experience and learn what’s like living there. To take in the sights, sound and food of different cities around the world is exciting. . . .

Pandemic Diary

Judith Nakken

© Copyright 2020 by Judith Nakken

Photo of a military ward during spanish flu.

 This is my stepfather's true story and also contains a warning that the Spanish flu lasted the better part of 2 years.

Clifford Guy Wessman, unlovingly remembered as my Wicked Stepfather, was inducted into the army shortly after the United States finally entered World War I, the War to End all Wars. He was twenty-five, married but childless. When he left Alta, Iowa in July of 1918 he had no idea -. had never even heard a rumor - that the Spanish Influenza had a six-months start on becoming a global pandemic. . . .


Stalag 38319--Covid-19 Avoicance Unit

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2020 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo by Daniel Norris on Unsplash.

. . .When news broadcasts indicated that the Covid-19 corona virus was deadliest to 15% of the population who were over 80 with underlying medical conditions, I was neither surprised nor particularly fearful that this would be the means of my final demise. However, I had no raging desire to become a victim of this disease if it could be avoided. I had already paid a heavy price for being elderly. I would not expose myself unnecessarily to allow this disease to curtail any remaining time I would otherwise enjoy. . . .

My Love Affair With Horse Racing 
 At Caymanas Park

Ranklin Dennis

© Copyright 2020 by Ranklin Dennis


Photo of racing horses.
Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

From as far back as I can remember, I was not given much rein to wander about and mingle with most children in my neighborhood except for those of my mother’s friends and approved neighbors. . . .


Churlish Fate

Pavithra Silva

© Copyright 2020 by Pavithra Silva

Photo of a sunset.  (c) 2002 by Richard Loller.

Welcome to the most churlish episode of my life’s expedition, which knocked me out at a younger age than I expected. So, particularly my autobiography does not present a person overridden with self-confidence or life’s ecstasy but merely a sentimental human being trying to communicate the tragedy of her life, so as to inspire all readers of this story to evade all sentient and insentient mistakes I committed, by simply not being true to myself and by not being genuine with others. . . .


Tent City Blues

Kim Smyth

© Copyright 2020 by Kim Smyth

Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash.
Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash

Beyond the cracked sidewalk, and the telephone pole with layers of flyers in a rainbow of colors, and the patch of dry brown grass there stood a ten-foot-high concrete block wall, caked with dozens of coats of paint. There was a small shrine at the foot of it, with burnt-out candles and dead flowers and a few soggy teddy bears. One word of graffiti-filled the wall, red letters on a gold background: Rejoice! . . .


Kim Smyth

© Copyright 2020 by Kim Smyth

Photo of bottle of pills.

I don’t really know when it was my son started changing. I think it was around fifteen, he became what I described to my friends and family an “alien,” someone I no longer knew as my sweet, loveable, baby boy anymore. . . .

Only God Has The Power To Heal

Ellen Fannon

© Copyright 2020 by Ellen Fannon

Photo of woman with child.

The day after Christmas 2004, the most destructive tsunami ever recorded occurred after a magnitude 9.1 underwater earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Within fifteen minutes, the tsunami, measuring more than 100 feet, hit the west and north coasts of northern Sumatra, particularly devastating the heavily populated province of Aceh, known as the front porch of Mecca (the area with the strictest form of Islam). Entire communities were swept away in a matter of minutes. The terrible death toll in Aceh was estimated at 150,000—half its population, with an additional several thousand people left homeless. . . .

We Cannot Be Happy: The Intricate and Complicated Economic and Socal Labyrinth in which Venezuela is Trapped

Douglas Comacho

© Copyright 2020 by Douglas Comacho

Photo of an overloaded truck.

An ordinary Venezuelan citizen briefly relates the hard and difficult economic and social situation that Venezuela is going through, as well as the incoherent, confused and irrational behavior that his compatriots have adopted in trying to survive in a country with growing poverty, blocked internationally and lacking in tranquility, well-being and happiness. . . .

My First Day of Teaching
Inside A State Prison

Tom Davison
© Copyright 2020 by Tom Davison


Photo of a prison classroom.

This was it - today was the big day! The much anticipated (at least by me) day was finally here. My first day of teaching college to felons inside of an all-male State Prison. I was standing in the parking lot of that prison - gazing toward the entrance – deep in trancelike reflection. . . .


Not Again!

Tom Davison

© Copyright 2020 by Tom Davison


Photo of a bust of Shakespeare.

That’s not another poem you’re gonna read to us – is it Dr. D” asked the blue denim-clad inmate in a strident voice? Here I am– I thought to myself for the umpteenth time– forging young minds. . . .

Ode to a Grecian Journey

Martha Patterson

© Copyright 2020 by Martha Patterson


Photo of tumbled Grecian temple columns.
Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

In remembering travel in Europe while young, I am sad to recall the callow indifference my American college-age companions had towards me, their insularity and coldness. Possibly I was more sophisticated than they were, possibly more well-read. In any case I was sorely taken aback by a lonely trip I took with these girls who seemed singularly lacking in politesse. . . .


Storytelling: A Journey

Shana Bestock

© Copyright 2020 by Shana Bestock

Photo of a person on stage.

At the Golden Globes, a year and a half after the world turns upside down and I think I'm out of stories, Oprah goes viral preaching her truth, which is that there is value and power in speaking your truth, telling your story. I had never watched Oprah before, and it only took one speech for me to understand this woman's magnificence. Her stature, her cultivated authenticity, her self-awareness and intentional use of charisma, her passion for storytelling. . . .


Lost and Found

Shana Bestock

© Copyright 2020 by Shana Bestock


Photo of a hot air balloon.

The last week of my first European adventure - undertaken at a moment of extreme personal loss and anguish of identity, a mid-life rediscovery of discovery and the revalation of Europe in general - I returned from a morning walk in Toulouse to find my hosts' car gone. Stolen. Disappeared, on my watch. . . .


Lessons in Ice Cream

Andrea Geones

© Copyright 2020 by Andrea Geones

Photo of an ice cream store sign.
              Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

I am an actor living in LA and, like almost every other actor in LA, I have a day job. Mine is working at an ice cream shop.

People are always asking me what it’s like to work in an ice cream shop. They ask “how do you not eat ice cream all the time?” My answer to that question is, “I do eat ice cream all the time.” . . .


The Big One

Marie Barski

© Copyright 2020 by Marie Barski

Photo of a canary in a cage.

My father was a nomad at heart and as a family we moved often. One of those many relocations found us living in Montenegro, his birthplace. Montenegro shares the beautiful Adriatic Sea with Croatia to the west and Italy to the south. In March of 1979 Montenegro was rocked by an earthquake that shattered a few windows and nerves. . . .


Destined Silence

Anisha Dutta


© Copyright 2020 by Anisha Dutta


Photo of a fleld of flowers.

                        Photo by Chris Child on Unsplash

Preparation leave prior to Examination on Masters’ Degree started for long six months. Parents of Arianna suggested her to spend the period in Uncle’s place on remote suburb. The place is solitary calm devoid of noises and city disturbances. It is prime time to avail of long leave for examination preparation. She should not lose the opportunity to concentrate exclusively on study. . . .
Disconnect Reconnected

Nastassja Ocasia

© Copyright 2020 by Nastassja Ocasia

Photo of author.

Disconnect in the dark. It was a feeling of separation between my head and my heart, and at that very moment, in the still and silent dead of night, I thought my heart had won. I couldn’t bare to see myself going through anymore pain than what I had endured during the last few months of my time here on Earth. Dramatic in the very least, but still, my feelings in a nutshell of greater size. . . .


Nice Narrow Escape

Yahaya Muhammad Khalil

© Copyright 2020 by Yahaya Muhammad Khalil

Photo of Nigerian rebels.

One fateful day in 2019, Muneer went to his bank and withdrew the sum of One million, six hundred thousand in Naira (the Nigerian currency). Coming out of the bank with the money packed in a leather bag, Muneer stopped a commercial Rickshaw, the most popular means of local commuting in the cities of Nigeria. . . .

Banks Cat

Jilly Allison

© Copyright 2020 by Jilly Allison


Photo of a dirty cat.

In the grimy, soot ridden streets of industrial Middlesbrough of the early 1900’s lived a brother and sister whose exploits, such as they were, spread far and wide to the docks (their father was a ships engineer) and to the market of North Ormesby (where an older brother worked a ‘ Saturday job’. . . .


Boudicca's Coins

Jilly Allison

© Copyright 2020 by Jilly Allison


Photo of a Boudicca coin.

Audrey Surtees surveyed herself in the full length mirror for the first time in over thirty years. Now she was proud of the way she looked.

Slimming Days had set up shop in the high rise block she lived in, once a week they took over one of the public rooms, residents trooped down to be measured, cajoled and generally persuaded that parting with their cash each week would bring its rewards. . . .


Heavenly View

Jilly Allison

© Copyright 2020 by Jilly Allison


Photo of a man with blanket over his head.

Eh our Eff you can’t beat a cup of tea with condensed milk can ya,” 

She laughs, Nice, bit of lardy cake would do well with it though.”

At the mention of the word’ cake’ an elderly black Labrador snuffles the man's hand to remind him of his presence.

Sitting on a bench gazing out on the North sea, a gentle breeze means they need a coat but its not cold enough for a muffler, they are content. . . .


All The Blames

Stefania Ventome

© Copyright 2020 by Stefania Ventome

Photo of a woman with a cigarette.
                    Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

I was in a hospital bed, looking at the small TV in front of me, holding myself from crying. I was still wearing my street clothes, looking at my small bag, afraid to unpack it and dress in my pyjamas, frightened to accept my condition. . . .


Drink. Drank. Drunk.--
Came. Came To. Came To Believe.

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2020 by Albert Vetere Lannon

Photo of a burned out apartment window.

As I’ve told in other stories, I got drunk for the first time when I was 13 years old. My father, a Communist Party organizer, had been arrested in June, 1951, along with 16 New York comrades two weeks earlier for violation of the Smith Act. It was a fearful time for kids, especially us Red Diaper Babies; it was the McCarthy Era, the Cold War. . . .

Between the Lines
Messages from my Family in Cuba

Katarina Wong

© Copyright 2020 by Katarina WongC

Photo of a Cuban stamp.

Until I was 13, I only knew my mother’s side of the family from the letters that appeared in our mailbox in distinctive red and blue striped envelopes. Tight, cursive handwriting declared my mother’s full name: Lucia Capin Wong, the only time I ever saw her family name attached to ours. The weeks it took those letters to cross the ninety miles between Cuba and Florida made each envelope feel like a winning lottery ticket. . . .


Our AAU Life

Dueanna Tolbert

© Copyright 2020 by Deuanna Tolbert

Photo of a girl basketball player.

AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball is what most serious girl basketball players strive for. They start off as young athletes playing in little leagues and at the YMCA while receiving outside training when possible. . . .


Love in a Covid Climate

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a ladle of soup.

In the blink of a metaphor we have gone from our hum-drum lives to a whole new place, a terra incognita from which some of us won’t emerge alive. . . .


South America on the Up and Up

Wes Choc

© Copyright 2020 by 


Man playing Peruvian flute.

Unquestionably. It’s confirmed. Machu Picchu is extraordinary. It’s an amazingly amazing place … above-the-clouds high, mysterious, mystical, breath-seizing in every literal sense … of historic consequence beyond doubt. As one of the most photographed exotic places on Earth, it's on the must-see or “bucket list” of every single adventurer or National Geographic subscriber I’ve ever talked to. . . .


Coming Home

Fredrick Hudgin

© Copyright 2020 by Fredrick Hudgin

Photo of a Flying Tigers jet.

Hudgin, you’ve got twenty-four hours to clear Qui Nhon and get your ass down to Ton Son Nhut Air Force Base in Saigon. Here’re your orders.” He looked over at our company clerk, Specialist Duncan. “Duncan, carry this sorry excuse for a soldier to finance, to personnel, then to the airport. Get him out of here before I can think of a good reason to keep him in this hole for another year. . . .


My First Semester as an Undergraduate


© Copyright 2020 by George Opara

Photo of a student carrying books.

After writing Jamb, the results came out after two weeks and everybody was exited and anxious at the same time to see their results. Unfortunately for me I was unable to see my own that week but the news going round was that there was 60% failure in the just concluded exams. . . .

Bene Merito: The Story of Ewa Janina Wocjicka
A Dwarf from the Slums of Warsaw Who Rose to Heroic Stature in Wartime

S. Nadja Zajdman

© Copyright 2020 by S. Nadja Zajdman

Photo of Renata Skotnicka-Zajdman.
    Photo of Renata Skotnicka-Zajdman, Nadja's mother.

At the end of June 2011, Mum, Michael and I received the news that her cancer had resurfaced and this time, it was inoperable. Mum’s battle with cancer had lasted longer than the war, and it appeared she was about to lose it. Still, my brother Michael insisted that she proceed with plans for a trip to Poland. Michael promised to accompany her. Michael is a medical doctor, and his repeated interventions repeatedly extended our mother’s life. Renata would be safe with her son. . . .

The Triumvirate:The Women Who Changed Education Forever

Grace Ryan

© Copyright 2020 by Grace Ryan

Pictures of the three women.

The story of Anna Filosofva, Maria Trubnikova, and Nadezhda Stasova is the story of three women who used their power, money, and privilege to fight for women to be granted admittance to Russia's universities. Against the backdrop of revolution, these three women battled discrimination and bureaucracy to improve the quality of life for all women in Russia and paved the way for the rest of the world to follow suit. . . .

Captains of the Mother Ship

Jennifer Moglia Lucil

© Copyright 2020 by Jennifer Moglia Lucil

Photo of a cookbook.

This story chronicles my visit to my mother’s senior community during the holidays, as well as the most noticeable effects of her dementia. In an often humorous and ironic tone, I talk about the loss of my mother’s ability to cook Italian food as well as the character of her apartment complex in New Jersey. . . .


My Brain, Interrupted

Suzanna Price

© Copyright 2020 by Suzanna Price

Image of lazer surgery to the brain.

As I sit to write this, I stare at the computer with a golf-ball size piece of my brain missing. It has been this way for two years now. It was a choice I made to be set free from my seizures. . . .


Mad Men Historical Moments

Bello Abdullahi We

© Copyright 2020 by Bello Abdullahi We

Add for the movie.

Historical films or period dramas are set in an earlier time period. They are a kind of virtual time machines, so called because they let you peep into the past just like you would peer over your garden through your bedroom window. Okay, I know, that analogy is not real but it definitely has elements of truth in it. . . .


My Life - A Slippery Slope

Jaachinma BOC Chukwneke

© Copyright 2020 by
Jaachinma BOC Chukwneke

Call me Christy, I was born in August 1976. We are from the Eastern Part of Nigeria but we lived in the Northern part. I had six siblings, two brothers and six sisters. Sometime in November 1989, there was a religious crisis and our area was affected resulting in loss of lives and property. This made my parents to quickly relocate back to the East. . . .


The Secret

Nancy Julien Kopp

© Copyright 2020 by Nancy Julien Kopp

Photo of Nancy and her parents.

My parents eloped on May 31, 1938 in a Chicago suburb. Still the Depression era, but that wasn’t the reason Garnet Studham and Gin Julien didn’t plan a church wedding. They had no choice since Garnet’s mother and two brothers didn’t like this man she’d been dating, and they let their feelings be known. . . .


You Can't Save Everyone

Steven Stilwell

© Copyright 2020 by Steven Stilwell


Photo of Kathmandu.

It cost me less than two hundred American dollars to learn that I couldn't save the world. I was in Kathmandu, a few years after the earthquake and the city still hadn’t recovered. . . .


Kathryn Payne Olson


© Copyright 2020 by Kathryn Payne Olson


Photo of a homeless person.

I’m in LA because my 13-year-old son is a critically ill patient at Children’s Hospital. CHLA is positioned right in the middle of Los Angeles and I am confronted with the homeless crisis every time I walk out the door. From some of the hospital windows, the famous Hollywood sign shines brightly. The Church of Scientology is within walking distance and the Sunset Strip is only a couple of miles away. Between these tourist attractions, homeless people are scattered. . . .


Welcome to Detroit

Robert Richter

© Copyright 2020 by Robert Richter

Photo of young Robert.

At age 15, my folks moved us from an idyllic St. Louis suburb with a new Freshman -Senior high school, to a rusty Detroit suburb with a dreary 6th to 9th grade junior high. My first day at school couldn’t have been more disastrous in “Welcome to Detroit.”. . .

King of Pimps

Robert Richter

© Copyright 2020 by Robert Richter


Photo of Don "Magic" Juan.

King of Pimps, Bishop of Jesus, Hip-Hop Royalty. Don “Magic” Juan answers to all of the above and more. Don and I have never met formally, but seem caught in the same gravitational vortex. Our encounters over the years are documented here in “King of Pimps.” . . .

Death From Above: Beware

the Birds of Prey

Steven Neill


© Copyright 2020 by Steven Neill


Photo of a great horned owl.

It's a scene straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. On the night of December 09, 2001, in Durham, North Carolina, Kathleen Peterson, a successful Nortel business executive, was outside on her lawn when something struck the side of her head. . . .

Sultana: Funeral Pyre on the Water

Steven Neill


© Copyright 2020 by Steven Neill


Photo of the Sultana before the disaster.

Measuring 260' in length with a draft of only 34" yet carrying a load of 1,000 tons, the Sultana was a perfect side paddled riverboat for travel on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers. Launched in January 1863, the Sultana (which meant a sultan's wife, sister, or mother) was a top-rated boat for river travel during the war. Its legal capacity was 376 passengers and crew. During the war, it served the North well by transporting men, supplies, and munitions all across the river systems. . . .

My First Cruise

Kim Smyth

© Copyright 2020 by Kim Smyth

Photo of Kim and porpoise.

A few years ago, I went with my Sertoma group (stands for service to mankind) on a four-day cruise that departed out of Galveston, Texas and was to take us to Cozumel, Mexico. I was at once excited and nervous, never having cruised before I was apprehensive at the cost and of how the whole thing worked. I need not have been afraid, however. My first cruise was so exciting and filled with fun and adventure that I doubt any cruise will be able to top it. . . .


Sort of a Short Guy

David Berger

© Copyright 2020 by David Berger

Photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every movement has its leaders, and this story is about one of them. And every movement has its members, and this story is about one of them, me. Dr. King was the outstanding American of the Twentieth Century. I was privileged to "stride towards freedom" with him for a little while. . . .



Roger Martin

© Copyright 2020 by Roger Martin

Photo of a young boy reading a magazine.
My first sexual memory comes from the post office. Cradled in Mother's arms, I poke a breast. She does nothing. I poke again. The removal of my hand is swift and harsh.

The first dirty word I remember: eros. . . .


The Block
Stories Of My Growing Up

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2020 by Albert Vetere Lannon

(Third Avenue El at 14th Street Station, 1952)

I lived in many places as a kid, mostly in New York City: born in Brooklyn in 1938, then Upper West Side; East Bronx; Baltimore, Maryland; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Biloxi, Mississippi; and East 12th Street between Second and Third Avenues. That’s where I grew up, one-quarter block from the screeches and sparks of the Third Avenue El during the early 1950s. . . .


Barracuda Buddy

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2020 by Doug Sherr

Photo of a barracuda.

The Turks and Caicos is a group of islands that lie about 60 nautical miles southeast of the end of The Bahamas chain. Providenciales, the western-most island, offers little beauty on land, but the sea contains man-made and natural treasures. Columbus’s Niña came to rest off the north shore. An early 18th century French vessel carrying wine settled nearby. The reefs are healthy and provide shelter and sustenance for a vast array of creatures, a few of them human. . . .


The Bird Can't Find The Sky

Bonnie Crandall

© Copyright 2020 by Bonnie Crandall

Photo by Jacques LE HENAFF on Unsplash.
Photo by Jacques Le Henaff on Unsplash.                             

I was late, as usual, and needed a bridal shower gift for someone I didn’t know and whose shower I did not want to go to. But her parents were influential church leaders, and since my husband was their minister, a gift had to be bought and a shower had to be attended. . . .


Peregrine's Manor

Alex Jasinski

© Copyright 2020 by Alex Jasinski

Photo of the "ancient" mirror.

This story recounts my encounter with a peregrine falcon at the University of York in October of 2009, during my freshman year. It was one of those brief but very memorable moments that stayed with me ever since. . . .


What I Did On My Summer Vacation
(In Four Parts)

Carl Winderl

© Copyright 2020 by Carl Winderl

Photo of a player shooting a foul shot.

In writings like 'this one,' the end is always so much better than the beginning.  And this piece, in four parts, will prove no exception -- by far. . . .


Lion Around

Brittany Rohm

© Copyright 2020 by Brittany Rohm

Photo of a male lion.  (c) 2020 by Brittany Rohm.

The lions dozed in the shade of a thicket, sporadically flicking their tails or raising an eyelid to scan the bushveld. From the safety of our Land Rover thirty feet away, Patrick and I watched the jungle kings. In our dozen trips to Akagera National Park, Central Africa’s largest protected wetland but Rwanda’s lone big game reserve, we had seen lions only twice. Being able to watch these two all by ourselves was a treat. . . .

Thank You Washington U

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2020 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of Washington University.

I got up this morning and looked out the window.  It was raining.  Weather forecast said 100% rain all day.  Read my Bible, prayed and checked the news.  Then for some reason I started thinking about my time at Washington University in St. Louis.
Knowing the high regard that Wash. U is held all across the world,  I wondered how in the world, I was accepted there in the first place.  Surely it must be a lot harder to gain admittance there now than it was then. . . .


Encounter With A Silverback

Andrea Batstone 


© Copyright 2019 by Andrea Batstone             


Photo of a silverback.

One of my bucket list items (and I have a few) was checked off in September.  I’ve dreamed of visiting the Mountain Gorillas in Africa. I contacted my friend that organizes Safaris in Africa to get the ball rolling.  She said that Uganda has close to half of the Gorilla total population with the majority of them living in the  Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. She didn’t need to convince me and thus our adventure began. . . .

A Buffalo, Wolf, Grizzly and Black Bear

Lisa Rehfuss

© Copyright 2020 by  Lisa Rehfuss

Photo of a wolf and bison.

Inclement weather prevented Martha and me from experiencing Yellowstone on foot. Granted, we weren’t going to melt in the rain, yet at our age there’s something unappealing about hiking a muddy path. Perhaps it’s because these days we spend more money on footwear. . . .


Oh, For the Love of Turtles

Desiree Kendrick

© Copyright 2020 by Desiree Kendrick

Photo of a sea turtle.

Send help. A James Bond rescue works for me. Whirring helicopter blades descending from the azure sky will do the trick, but if 007 is otherwise engaged, a herd of Navy Seals off the coast of Curaçao will suffice. Thank you to the depths of the sea and back.

Darkness suffocates. The air is stale, my fear fresh. Rumbling voices bubble around me. There’s good reason I didn’t check out the submarine ride at West Edmonton Mall. Submerged underwater in a compact tin-can isn’t my idea of a good time. I can barely handle the rides at Disneyland. How in the hell did I get here? . . .


Paul and Clara

Cody Short

© Copyright 2020 by Cody Short 


Photo of Paul and Clara.

Hello, my lovely. Would you like to take a walk with me,” Paul Opossum said to Clara, the loveliest young lady he had ever seen in the two years of his lifetime. He had had such brief moments with her, once at the edge of a marsh where he found her trying to catch a bullfrog tadpole and once under a red berried bush. That is a Brazilian Pepper bush outlawed here in Florida. It was brought here in the 1800s from Brazil for its beauty but is harmful to large farm animals, he thought, but he said only, “Those berries are very tasty, aren’t they. . . .”


A Reply to Pilate

(Who was uncertain about truth)

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor

Painting of Jesus before Pilate.

It may be a measure of how dire things have become when I admit I hesitated to offer my two cents’ worth on the following topic for fear of being hounded and excoriated by the Rabid Right or Loony Left. 
Then I smacked myself upside the head with a copy of Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” and decided to woman-up and give it a go. . . .


Mr. Fox

James L. Cowles

© Copyright 2020 by James L. Cowles

Photo of a red fox.

Everyone has experienced moving, either to a new apartment or home. Those who live in large cities know how different areas of a city can be and if you desire to get closer to nature, you need to do a little research before moving. We moved into a new home a few years back and immediately fell in love with the location of our property. It’s in a beautiful area of our city, with a creek running along its boundary and it sits next to a densely wooded area. There are also two beautiful man-made lakes at the entrance of our subdivision adding both beauty and habitat; they are alive with all manner of wildlife, which is exactly what we wanted. . . .


Joy Comes in the Morning


Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2020 by Kay Harper 



Photo of a sunrise.  (c) 2004 by Richard Loller.

I was married to one who was (as far as the world knew) a wonderful husband. Behind closed doors, however, it was another story. The verbal and emotional abuse was so insidious—so gradual, I didn’t even know it was happening.

No one would believe me when I dared to tell of his cruelty. He was so charming, funny and perfect in public. The cycle of abuse was often confusing to me, because sometimes he treated me like a queen, but then, for no apparent reason, I was dirt under his feet. I stepped carefully, but felt the eggshells crackle day and night. . . .


Keeping Track of My Back


Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2019 by Kay Harper 



Photo of a hand picking up trash.

It’s hard for me to realize that although I feel about 28 inside, my body has seen more than 65 summers, and, consequently, there are times when limiting my activity would be a good idea. Under the heading of “Lessons-Learned-the-Hard-Way” is this:

It started out to be a delightful day. Our church was celebrating together with Christmas carols, and a sit-down meal. The children gave us a sweet program, the teens presented one that was truly thought-provoking. There was even time to play a few Christmas games. As the luncheon wound down I had a “bright idea” to help out by collecting trash. . . .

Driving With Dad

Nancy Julien Kopp

© Copyright 2012 by Nancy Julien Kopp

Photo of man polishing car.

 During my growing-up years, my dad drove a 1936 Plymouth, moved on to a 40’s model Buick and then a 50’s era Chrysler that was his pride and joy. Every one of those vehicles was a used car, but Dad burst with pride over each one. He kept them washed and waxed, made sure the engine hummed, and brushed and vacuumed the upholstered seats regularly. . . .


A Real Buzz-Kill

Fran Vlahos Rohm

© Copyright 2020 by Fran Vlahos Rohm

Photo of a hornet's face by Max Muselmann.
                                 Photo by Max Muselmann

A gorgeous late spring day beckoned me outside to sit on the grass with my fellow classmates. I happily joined a group of my friends, who had already escaped to soak up some afternoon rays. . . .


Intern '70

Doctor Anon

© Copyright 2020 by Doctor Anon

Photo of a hospital intern.

Fear is a wonderful motivator and a house staff works best when it works scared. Although I certainly felt fearful and scared during the first several months of my medical internship at a great southern university hospital (GSUH), this was not my opinion but that of my cardiology professor who was one of the most unlikeable individuals I met during my medical career. . . .


Possums On A Half Shell

Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2020 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of an armadillo.

Armadillo's are weird creatures.  I usually refer to them as "Possums on a half shell".  I've heard that they carry leprosy germs and that makes them a little scary.  But I didn't know anything about that when I first saw one of the critters.  Actually there was a whole bunch of them the first time I saw one.  That was way back in 1943. . . .


Alma Spreckels Got Her Sugar Daddy

Dale Fehringer

© Copyright 2019 by Dale Fehringer


Drawing of Alma Spreckels.

              Illustration by John Milestone

Alma Spreckels, a well-known arts patron and philanthropist in 19th century San Francisco, knew what she wanted and went after it.  In the end, she got her "sugar daddy."

Alma Spreckels spent a lifetime trying to influence the city she so badly wanted to accept her. In the process, the 19th century San Francisco heartthrob left behind several monuments and an enduring legend. . . .


My Most Frightening Encounter 

Martha Yarborough DiPalma

© Copyright 2020 by Martha Yarborough DiPalma


Photo of a snake.

I loved growing up in a small southern town with the woods around me. The birdsong showers that greeted me at the dawns were a delight. There was a lot for my brother and me to explore. We spent hours in the woods across the street during the summers and after school. . . .


North to the Shetland Isles

Bill Cox

© Copyright 2018 by Bill Cox

Photo of Mousa Broch.
Photo of Mousa Broch.

Every country has its centre and its periphery. For most citizens, the periphery is present only in the imagination, a remote place at the edge of the national map, usually conjuring up ideas of wilderness, wildness and perhaps a certain lack of sophistication.

In the United Kingdom, the Shetland Islands very definitely play the role of periphery for the majority of the country’s inhabitants. In the nightly weather reports they sit apart at the top of the map, a remote outpost, separate from the mainland, only accessible by sea or air. It is in fact so far from the mainland that it isn’t shown to scale on most maps, instead occupying a little box of its own, as if in afterthought. . . .


Swish Swish

Charleine Sell

© Copyright 2019 by Charleine Sell

Photo of an elephant.

My husband slept with elephants. I didn’t.

I am not a great lover of camping, but of all the camping adventures I have experienced (from a family vacation at Hammonasset State Park in Connecticut in the 1960s, the Everglades in 1973, to trout fishing on Lake Hihium in British Columbia in 1977), the most challenging one was with Jack, in 1972 at Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania. . . .

Adventures in Parenting

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a  cat on a roof.

A story from the distant past.  I think back often to the days when my children were little and life seemed so much simpler—the days when one believed it was possible to protect them from everything. 

We were among the first few Peace Corps families to be sent abroad. Our success in adapting to life in Swaziland led to other families being recruited, but not always with the same success. Whereas very young children seemed to adapt to the new life with little sign of unease, older children sometimes had problems. . . .


Not Your Mother's Pumpkin Patch



Nancy Massand 


© Copyright 2019 by Nancy Massand

Photo of a man singing.
This is a story of my first job. It had nothing to do with teaching or writing. I made pumpkins. I know it reads like a sitcom, but I promise I didn't make it up.

The summer I graduated from high school, my nine best friends and I got a job at a pumpkin factory. Yes, you heard that right. We thought it was tremendous good luck that we all got hired at the same place and could be together a few months longer before heading off to college. That never happens. But being seventeen and oblivious to the darker workings of the business world, we didn’t question how ten friends who barged into a factory without an appointment would all get hired. The boss was elated to get ten naïve unskilled workers who were happy with minimum wage and no benefits. . . .


A Kodak Moment or Two

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2019  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a male kangaroo by Gene Treanor.

Be Prepared” should be the photographer’s watchword as well as the Scout motto. Before the days of camera phones, I had my little Kodak with me at all times, except when I didn’t. Times there would always be a great picture that I didn’t get. You’d think I’d have learned, but the camera was often umbilicalled to the computer and I’d forget it when I left the house. . . .


Thoughts on a Holiday

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2019  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of an Australian aboriginal mosaic.

Some potted history for friends who are not Australian. It's the day after Australia Day, our national holiday, but it's a Monday so we are celebrating today. Some are celebrating--others are questioning whether one should celebrate a day that marked the beginning of one group's long persecution of another. I'm neither celebrating nor ignoring--just sittin' and thinkin'. . . .

The Pardeeville Store


Leslie Soule


© Copyright 2019 by Leslie Soule


Photo of old store.

The original store before it was destroyed by arson fire.

Roy William Hughes was born in the town of Pardeeville, Wisconsin. He went to work for his father William, in their store and warehouse. But it wasn’t long, before disaster struck. Roy would have been sixteen years old, at the time. . . .


On Reading

John Cortesi

© Copyright 2020 by John Cortesi

Photo of a painting about reading.  Coiurtesy of Pixabay.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Reading has always been one of the central passions of my life. Like an alchemist’s brew the evocative power of words has intoxicated me with wonder, fear, curiosity, desire, and the myriad little epiphanies that come with the reading experience. I think that most of us who hear the siren call of the written word need an interlude, a pause in our daily active lives, to penetrate with tranquility the reality of being in silent community with the experiences, lives and voices of others. . . .



K. S. Anthony  

© Copyright 2016 by K. S. Anthony

Photo supplied by K. S. Anthony.

People always ask me who I wrote this about. I didn't write it about anyone. It was inspired by a rather awkward (but really, what in my life isn't slightly awkward?) goodbye in a New England coffee shop one morning. There was a pile of newspapers between us. The colors of autumn had returned. I didn't know what the Hell to say to her. I suppose I loved her in a very damaged way. And that was that. I never saw her again. . . .


Desiree Kendrick

© Copyright 2019 by Desiree Kendrick

Photo of little girl in party dress.

When I sit in the brocade chair in my mother’s house, the obstacle course of breakables that cluttered my childhood confronts me from all corners of the room. My father filled his den with French provincial furniture, reproduction paintings and delicate Royal Doulton figurines. Grandeur. He was a formidable gentleman and the room reflected his discernment. As a young child, I took tentative steps in that room, hesitant to knock over a porcelain lamp or look at a crystal vase the wrong way. My saucer eyes saw landmines. . . .


Junks and a Barquentine

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2019 by Doug Sherr

Photo of Barquentine Osprey in Hong Kong harbor, 1982.
Barquentine Osprey in Hong Kong harbor, 1982.  
Note junk in backgrount just to the left of Osprey.

The 747 shuddered as the landing gear and flaps deployed. We broke through the clouds into a misty, gray day over Hong Kong. The window was fogged, but so was I after 21 hours jammed in with more than 500 other people. The plane banked sharply to starboard and I was looking at Mrs. Kwan’s laundry drying on her balcony as we flew through Kowloon instead of above it. The plane banked even more sharply to avoid smashing into the hill just ahead as it slicked into Kai Tak, an airport that had been built for biplanes not 747s. Even before the engines shut off the smell of the city invaded the cabin joining the already stale air of a day-long flight. The in-flight magazine said that Hong Kong, in English, means fragrant harbor. Different cultures define fragrant differently. . . .


The Jump Rope

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2020 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of girls jumping rope.

The demands of World War II required manufacturers to produce various products which were purchased by the US government for exclusive use as troop support. During those years, very few products were made for children for use as toys. Adults too old for the draft who had any skills in woodworking sometimes hand carved trucks or cars for the neighborhood children. Others put packaging material and imagination to good use. Jump ropes with wooden handles was a popular item, but these were expensive and difficult to find. . . .

Shuri Castle
Chapter 19 from the unpublished book, Tomiko

Susan Fisher
as told to J. R. Nakken

© Copyright 2020 by Susan Fisher


Photo of throne room of Shuri Castle.
The throne room inside the Seiden (main hall) at Shuri Castle.

Shuri Castle. For 4 ½ centuries the royal court and administrative center of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Constructed of wood and Ryukyuan limestone as early as 1300 BC in the Gusuku period, as were so many others of Okinawa’s castles, history first records it during the Sanzan period (1322-1429.) When King Sho Hashi unified the three principalities of Okinawa (Hokuzan, Chazan and Nanzan, the North, Central and South Mountain entities) and established the Ryukyu Kingdom, . . .


Dogs and Cats Love Story 2019

Luxhmee Jaypaul

© Copyright 2019 by Luxhmee Jaypaul

Photo of a dog and cat.

Vedika’s love affair with dogs and cats started since childhood and it is a family heritage. We say dogs have a short lifespan. Since childhood I saw countless dogs and cats died but I never gave up on loving these fur animals. In fact, my love for them cross borders and is boundless. . . .


Outback Animal Conflict

John Sayles

© Copyright 2019 by John Sayles

Photo of a bower bird's next.

Our small fifteen-seater plane dropped down through the rain after the one-hour flight from Brisbane to the lovely named town of Toowoomba. Our young farming friend waited by her farm wagon to take us to their Australian outback farm near the little town of Goondiwindi, situated close to the Queensland & New South Wales border after a bone jolting trip of over three
hours. . . .

The Circle Unbroken



Nancy Massand 


© Copyright 2019 by Nancy Massand

Photo of a man singing.

I recognized Mama’s Place as soon as we got inside. It was that den of vipers daddy had warned us about from the pulpit so many times: dark and steamy, with men of questionable character lurking in the shadows to lead the innocents astray. There was a strong, woodsy smell, stronger than Birdie’s place, and the smoke made my eyes sting. I must have been holding onto Harris’ hand pretty tight, because he leaned down close to me so I could hear him over all the noise. “You nervous, Mavis? Because we don’t have to stay if you don’t want to.” He said it like he meant it, but I knew he’d be really let down if I wanted to leave. And besides, it wasn’t like I was just walking in there by myself asking for trouble. Harris had pretty much told Jacob he’d die before he’d let anything happen to me, and I believed him. . . .

Gold Fever
Looking For The Lost Dutchman

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon

Photo of a crude map.

The lure of gold has created a rich history in Arizona, with the elusive Lost Dutchman Mine one of the top targets for treasure-seekers.  Believed to be in the Superstition Wilderness, about 50 miles east of Phoenix, generations of would-be prospectors have risked life and limb with little or no return.  No matter that the area has been closed to mineral prospecting for years now, they still come. . . .


Bric Dodd

Don Shook

© Copyright 2019 by Don Shook

Photo of a football coach and player.

Head football coach Bric Dodd was an elitist who never considered fielding a “B” squad. But since there were enough boys who wanted to play who weren’t big or fast enough to make the “A” team but demonstrated reasonable potential, he changed his mind. Pete and I weren’t big, but we were hitters; and being a hitter paid big rewards if you wanted to gain Coach Dodd’s favor. He rewarded us by starting us on the “B” team. . . .


A Scorpion's Tale

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2019  by Karen Radford Treanor

Drawing of a scorpion by Gerry Wild.
Drawing (c) by Gerry Wild

This is a slightly revamped and updated version of a story from a book I wrote ten years ago, “A Tree in Mundaring”, several chapters of which have already appeared in Storyhouse.  It was one of my less practical forays into publishing—by the time I paid the artist, the paper supplier for the snazzy 110 gsm paper and the faux parchment covers, and the printer, I just broke even.  But it was a nice looking book and very popular with my neighbour hills-dwellers, who could relate to most of the stories. . . .


Street Hustler

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of John F. Kennedy.

Every large city has its share of street corner hustlers. This is the true story of a man who stood one afternoon on a corner to sell his wares. Many bought into the dreams he had for sale, and not one of us has ever been the same again. . . .


A Day at the Game Park

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2019  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of an Ostrich.

My husband has long held that birds are vicious, pointing out the cruelty of barnyard chickens to support his idea. Not long after we started working in Swaziland we had a chance to test this theory.

It started with my suggestion that we take elder daughter Bethany for a picnic at Mlilwane Game Reserve now that we had acquired a car. It was a 12 horsepower Volkswagen, and it was a tough little vehicle. We had forded rivers, driven cross country where there were no roads, and carried loads of firewood with the dependable little beetle. There’d be no problem taking it to Mlilwane Game Reserve, which, like Swaziland itself, was small, neat, and had no dangerous animals in it. Or so we were told. . . .



Anne Organista

© Copyright 2019 by Anne Organista
Photo of a sailboat.

Teaching was not new to me. Neither was teaching ESL. But teaching English as a second language to immigrants was a totally different ballgame. In navigating this new arena where students’ quality of life depended on their ability to speak, read and write English, I found solace in this proverb, “We can't direct the wind but we can adjust the sails. . . ."


The Sticker Weed Incident

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2019 by Sara Etgen-Baker
Photo of Sara' at 11 years old.
                          Sara age 11

This is a memoir and a true, biographical account of a sticker weed battle that took place at my elementary between a group of fifth graders.  Mrs. Parsons, one of our teachers, wasn't too keen when she found me, the lone girl, amongst the fifth grade boys throwing sticker weeds at one another.  Likewise, my mother wasn't too keen on Mrs. Parson's notion that I should serve detention for participating in the sticker weed battle. A battle between Mrs. Parsons and my mother ensued. . . .

To Oz? Yes, To Oz!

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2019 by Sara Etgen-Baker
Photo of Sara's mother.
Mother Winifred Christine Stainbrook-Etgen 1944

To Oz? Yes, to Oz!” is a memoir and a true, biographical account of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The story details my childhood thoughts and reactions as I was forced to grow up and face the very real danger of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. . . .

Runt of the Litter

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2019 by Sara Etgen-Baker
Photo of sara and Fritz.
Dave, Sara. Eddie and Fritz von Etgen.

This story is a memoir vignette and a true, biographical account of my childhood pet Dachshund named Fritz von Etgen.  Although Fritz was the runt of the litter, he was a mischievous, lively Dachshund with a huge heart.  He not only was my confidant but also was my best friend. . . .

More Than Wrapping Paper 
and Colored Bows

Sara Etgen-Baker

© Copyright 2019 by Sara Etgen-Baker
Photo of a pile of wropping paper and bows.

This is a memoir and a true biographical account of Christmas 1959—a tough season for my parents financially.
During that season I learned that Christmas magic is powerful, but the power in our hearts is even more magical. Our ability to love one another, to renew our faith and bring hope into our lives and the lives of others, are the greatest gifts to bestow and receive. . . .

Bampu and the Bear

Sahaj Sabharwal

© Copyright 2018 by Sahaj Sabharwal

Photo of a bear.

Once upon a time, there was a young, 12 years old boy, named Bampu . He was fond of wild animals and had a visit to a zoo twice a week . He loved all the animals and even take care of street dogs, cows and buffaloes. His dream was  to have  a  pet animal at his own home too. . . .


The Great Bat Hunt

Karen Radford Treanor 


© Copyright 2019  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of a bat in the house.

New England families abound in eccentric traditions, but I’ll lay odds none can match our annual bat hunt.

When I was a child, every summer without fail one or more bats would get into the house, usually by falling down the chimney late at night. The creature would eventually be run to earth and deported by the only member of family who had the knack of chiroptera-nabbing—my mother. . . .

The Mighty Mouse

Elizabeth Lloyd

© Copyright 2019 by Elizabeth Lloyd

Photo of a handful of mice.

The Mighty Mouse is a story about youthful entrepreneurial adventures and how one small creature can have a large impact on a many people. . . .


Unexpected Sunday Tourist

Lazarus Trubman

© Copyright 2019 by Lazarus Trubman


Photo of man with a knife.

I was the only diner in this tiny restaurant on the eastside of Chisinau, and the only thing that irritated me was the mirror behind bottles. Every time I looked up, I saw myself looking like a portrait of one of my own ancestors: Lazarus Trubman, deep in thought, in a gilt frame. I had circles under my eyes, a few scars on my face; apart from that I looked alright for a man who survived four years as a political prisoner in a Colony of Strict Regime in Northern Russia. . . .

The Healing Air of Freedom

Lazarus Trubman

© Copyright 2019 by Lazarus Trubman


Photo of Statue of Liberty from above.

Gorgeous morning in the awakened city, fresh new green, the angled rays of the sun glittering in spiders’ webs, birds twittering, the fragrance of buds, grass drenched in dew, the air cool, bees hovering around blossoming branches, Sunday, the tolling of a distant bell... Spring in Chisinau!

It had been months since I was liberated from the political prison in Northern Russia. Behind me were dozens of blood transfusions, restorative dental tortures, and scary talks with a cardiologist. I had gotten my so-so bill of health and was waiting patiently for the Soviet Immigration Office to approve my visa. . . .


Lazarus Trubman

© Copyright 2019 by Lazarus Trubman


Photo of Lake Baikal.

Travel is my passion. I’ve been to many South American and European countries, but my dream was always to visit Siberia. It couldn’t be easily accomplished when I lived in the USSR. Things changed, thank God, after 1985, and in 2008 my belletristic hope had been finally fulfilled: I made the trip. It’s one of the most amazing places on planet Earth! In 2012 I made another trip, and since then I’ve written numerous short stories and essays. This is one of them. . . .


The 1200 Days of Sister John Martin

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of Sister John Martin with group of nums.
(back row on ieft - Sister John Martin, aka Kathryn Lynch)

Many of us experimented with lifestyle alternatives when we were young. In later life some freely discuss those experiences. Others bury the memories deep into their core personalities, benefiting from lessons learned, but never discussing them with others. This is the first time I have shared the story of my entrance into and exit from religious life sixty years ago. . . .


The Big C and Me - Part One

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon

Photo of two hands holding on hospital bed.

I am 81 years old, diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable bone plasma cancer, in June 2017, when I sneezed and broke two ribs. I went on a “Chemo Lite” regimen, two sets of pills and a weekly injection. The injection toxins caused neuropathy in my feet and added a rare auditory neuropathy that muffles my hearing, so it was discontinued after a few months. My hearing remains impaired and my feet numb. . . .



John Cortesi

© Copyright 2019 by John Cortesi

1904 photo of the saloon and pool hall in Radiant, Colorado. Four of the men in the picture are great-uncles and cousins.

My father spent the years 1931-32 at his grandparents’ farm in the Wet Mountains range of Colorado. He helped with chores and attended the one-room, first to eighth grade, log cabin schoolhouse. My great-grandparents were immigrants from Italy, Ottilia (Odorizzi) and Enrico Menapace. Before buying the farm they owned and operated a boarding house for Italian miners in Radiant, Colorado. Radiant had 79 houses plus a school, a company store, and the company-owned saloon; the mine employed 125 men. . . .


A Successful Day

Laura Labno


© Copyright 2019 by Laura Labno

Photo of rain on bus window.

In the light of the significance of love every other significance fades away - This thought seemed significant to her.

It was being played out, over and over again – She could hear it in the sound of the Welsh rain hitting the bus windows, it was being sung out by the melancholy of the grey street the bus was drifting through, it was resounding in the sound of the rushing cars. It was being played out by her own breath and by the sound of the bus she was sitting in – Such a particular sound, the kind only buses can give, of course – She laughed. . . .


West Coast Karma

Elizabeth Lloyd

© Copyright 2019 by Elizabeth Lloyd

Photo of Highway 101 near Florence, Oregon.

This is the story of a wish list vacation.  Drive Pacific Coast Highway.  It had been attempted twice before.  Both times it fell apart.  Now on the journey, we would be hit with an unexpected derailment to our plan.  No way to foresee that Florence was quietly waiting with a karmic trap.  Instilling a new found perspective and life long lessons, and possibly a meeting with Santa Claus. . . .


Dying To Be Cool

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of a woman lighting a cigarette.

Both of my parents smoked.

Dad blended well with other men of his times—with a hat on his head and a lighted cigarette between his fingers. Refilling his lighter with fluid became a weekly ceremony during which he could not be interrupted. Delay during this endeavor was akin to a man sitting down on his own hat--unacceptable. There was never any talk or plan in place to reduce the number of his “smokes”, getting rid of his “smokes”, or redirecting what later became known as second hand smoke. . . .


The Guides

Deon Matzen

© Copyright 2019 by Deon Matzen


Photo of young people at summer palace.

What could we do when we had guests that wanted to see the sites and we had to work? How would they get around when they didn’t speak Chinese? We didn’t want them to have the tours that regular Americans had when touring in China where they were kept in tow by a “group leader” all wearing yellow or red or blue hats and not allowed to really see Beijing, just the approved locations. We settled on the perfect idea, use our students. . . .


Food Fight

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of a school milk carton.

We imagine a food fight with teenagers slinging food across the room at each other, soiling each others' clothes, decorating the walls and the lights, yelling, screaming, and laughing. This is the true story of a food fight which took place between two adults in a closed office, Not a bite of food changed hands. . . .


Mikey's Gift

Deon Matzen

© Copyright 2019 by Deon Matzen


Photo of an old doll house.

Mikey figured he was now pretty grown up. Last year, at Christmas, he had finally figured out that Santa was really Dad and Mom. Now that he knew the truth, he felt he had grown up, no longer a baby. It was OK that it was Mom and Dad, but it did take some of the fun out of the holiday. Now he knew that it was about giving and love, not the big guy who just delivered presents once a year. . . .


Angela's Children
How the Communist Legacy Turned Against Itself
In a Once-Strong Union

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon

Photo of an outline of a man on the sidewalk.

In May 27, 1981, dozens of General Executive Board members of Warehouse Union Local 6 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union gathered at the union's San Francisco office at 255 Ninth Street for their monthly meeting. Standing in front of the South-of-Market building drinking cans of beer were three Freitas brothers, Al, Sam and Philip. All were members of the union; Al was a close ally of East Bay Business Agent Roberto Flotte and had a history of union tough-guy activity going back to Teamster efforts to intimidate Salinas Valley farm workers in the early 1970s.

A few minutes before 7 o'clock a car found street parking and five Latino men, all Executive Board members, emerged, walking in a group towards the union hall. The Freitas brothers attacked the five. Philip Freitas knocked Lino Corral over a parked motorcycle. Lino Corral pulled a pistol from his pocket and fired three times, hitting Philip Freitas in the face and groin. The thirty-eight-year-old Freitas fell dead, his blood spreading in a widening dark puddle on the sidewalk in front of the union headquarters. . . .


Shakespeare and the Zulu

Daniel Stantus

© Copyright 2019 by Daniel Stantus

Photo of Daniel's Nsongweni house.
My house in Nsongweni.

Recently, I was browsing a Peace Corps website about the present living conditions for volunteers in Eswatini a small country in southeastern Africa. It was mainly nostalgia that brought me to this site. I was a PC volunteer in Swaziland (recently renamed Eswatini) from 1970 to 1974. While most volunteers there today could expect to be living in adequate housing with electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing. However, in the more rural areas volunteers could still be expected to live in more primitive conditions without the luxury of these conveniences just as I did 50 years ago. . . .


The Man On The Train

A True Love Story


Sarah Byron

© Copyright 2019 by Sarah Byron    

Photo of a sunset. (c) 2002 by Richard Loller.

This story is by the mother of Valerie Byron, who is a member of our Winners Circle.  Sarah is now deceased but this fine story of her meeting with her true love will live on. . . .

Thug Buster
How An Old Lady Restored
Peace And Quiet To Her Town

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch


Photo of an old woman with a pistol.

Neighbors were shocked and outraged when someone shot the 82 year old man in the head and left him bleeding to death on the floor of his own home. It was generally believed to be the work of street punks since his TV and music system had gone missing at the same time The old man was well known locally for his family had lived for two or three generations in the town. He had raised two sons and a daughter there, outliving his spouse, growing old exchanging pleasantries with the locals. Friends said that he had no enemies and that he was unlikely to badmouth or speak negatively about anyone. . . .


Carol Arvo 


© Copyright 2019 by Carol Arvo 


Photo of Carol in a hang glider.

Everyone has a “bucket list,” whether they realize and acknowledge it or not. It might just be a nagging feeling in the subconscious, or it might be right out there for all to see, but it’s there. Mine was right out there for 20 years.  Everyone knew I loved to fly. It was finally time to check this one off of my “bucket list. . . .”


The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Judith Nakken

© Copyright 2019 by Judith Nakken

Photo of a page from a dictionary.

I was unhappy with the change in discounts for seniors, and initially polite as I could be at the Customer Disservice counter. “These new rebates are really niggardly,” I said, and didn’t continue because of the look of shock rapidly turning to hatred on her Caucasian face. “Oh, wait,” I tried to explain since I know too well that today’s under-40’s have little knowledge of the English language. . . .


Magic Broom

Elizabeth Lloyd

© Copyright 2019 by Elizabeth Lloyd

Photo of the moon through a window.

. . .Glancing back at the house, no mother in sight, the rule attempted itself one last time.  Stepping out into the alley, I held my breath and waited for a scolding.  It did not come.  The rule was completely gone now.  Each step toward my destination brought reassurance that, yes, this treasure could indeed be retrieved. . . .


A Cultural Awakening in Swaziland

Daniel Stantus

© Copyright 2019 by Daniel Stantus


Photo of a man digging a hole.

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1970 to 1974. It was a dream come true for me ever since my hero John F. Kennedy introduced the program in the early 60’s. The thought of travel to a foreign country, living and working with the people, and raising the standards of living for a third world people was so appealing to me. I came from a family that had barely travelled to the next State, let alone overseas. In fact I had never even been in a plane before. . . .


The Lady Who Wears Dead Foxes

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of a woman wearing a fox fur scarf.

In 1970, I had already been a fourth grade teacher for several years. Armed with a Lifetime Teaching Certificate, I had ­decided on a four year nighttime endeavor, entering the University |of San Francisco School of Law program. I resolved that during the day, my teaching efforts would not be degraded or curtailed because my primary responsibility remained to the 43 fourth graders in my class. This was before Teacher's Aids, teacher prep time or any form of assistance was available. . . .


Topanga Canyon Fire

Doug Sherr

© Copyright 2019 by Doug Sherr

Photo of a helicoptor fighting a fire.

Topanga Canyon connects the Pacific Ocean to the San Fernando Valley, where the Valley Girls roamed. The Santa Monica Mountains rise to the east and hills that stretch to Malibu define the western side. Water trickles down the creek bed providing enough moisture for a variety of mature trees and bushes that keep the canyon cool on desert-hot summer days. In the midst of the urban horror of LA, the canyon is a rural outpost that mixes the best of Appalachia and Carmel: In the early 1970s, impoverished hippie artists of great talent lived in shacks and raised goats next door to famous rock and roll musicians and actors who argued with their agents while drinking goat’s milk. Charlie Manson’s first murder happened on Old Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Will Geer, Grandpa on the Waltons, had an outdoor Shakespearean theater, Theatricum Botanicum, at the other end of the canyon. . . .


If You Ever Feel Like Giving Up--Keep Going

Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2019 by Kelly Maida

Photo of a path into sunrise. {c} 2002 by Richard Loller.

I was inspired to write this because sometimes it seems like there is not a light at the end of a tunnel and that we sometimes quit right before we get to that light! . . .

Apology to a Blog


Kay Harper 


© Copyright 2019 by Kay Harper 



Photo of Kay in her lecture outfit.

Photo (c) 2019 by Kay Harper.

It's rare, I know, but think I owe my blog an apology. I’ve been so caught up in “Encouragin’ Words,” my daily devotional on Facebook, that I had been ignoring this blog. There appears to be only so much of me to go around, but from now on I plan to carve out time for this “God Is Big” blog, as well for as my other writing. . . .


A Story for My Father

Eileen W. Fisher

© Copyright 2019 by Eileen W. Fisher


Photo of Eileen's father.

My father always wanted to be a writer, but that was not practical. By the time I was in fourth grade, I decided that I was going to fulfill his dream.

My mother called him Natie, he called himself Nat; his nickname was Nissel. I called him Daddy. . .


Summer of David

Elizabeth Lloyd

© Copyright 2019 by Elizabeth Lloyd

Photo of a figure in a dark room.

This is a true story.  However when sitting down to write it, the only way to alleviate the writer’s block that was happening was to change the names in the story.  It was easier to write it in the third person rather than insert myself into the story again. . . .


Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch

Photo of Auschwitz death camp.

This is a story about hunger which is never relieved, never goes away no matter what advantages persons might achieve by the single minded pursuit of the American dream. It is a true story, a sad story, one which made me realize how lucky I was to call this country home. All of the participants in this story have now died except for the author. Let this telling honor them. . .


Andy Bageson

Kathryn Lynch

© Copyright 2019 by Kathryn Lynch

Stories About My Dad:

The Haircut
Negro Mens' Beach
Andy Bageson
Photo of a woman playing a violin.

This is a story about my Dad and Mom encountering a Jewish person for the first time. In the post Second World War era, Jews were any persons of Jewish ethnicity no matter where they were located, and any persons who espoused the Jewish Faith whether born into it or converted to it.  Andy Bageson may not have been the best example of a Jew, but he was the first Jew I ever knew with all his virtues and all his flaws. . . .



Laura Labno


© Copyright 2019 by Laura Labno

Photo of a snail.

Sarah was drawing at her desk when suddenly one thought became very prominent in her mind. An illuminated memory – Snails.

This one day, a large amount of earth circulations ago, in a small poor city, in even smaller and poorer neighbourhood she and her friend were playing. They’ve collected an impressive amount of snails and put them into a box. The idea was to open a Snail School. A Card Box Primary Snail School. . . .


Advice To My Daughters

Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2019 by Kelly Maida

Photo of a path into sunrise. {c} 2002 by Richard Loller.

As a survivor of domestic violence and I have been through both physical and emotional abuse, I would never want anyone to go through what I experienced. If I can help in anyway I would like to try. Today I was sending my daughters a message and It inspired me to write this. . . .

The Saga of Pretty Boy Floyd


Isabel Bearman Bucher   

© Copyright 2019 by Isabel Bearman Bucher 


Photo of Isabel's turtle.

My retired husband, Robert, is want to go to garage sales.  Over the years he’s come home with a few treasures, but more often than not, the objects are real pitch-out dogs.  When he’s forgotten about them, I usually toss them into the garbage or the give-away pile.  One year, he came home with Pretty Boy Floyd, an American,  three-toed box turtle, for which he paid the handsome sum of five bucks.  The turtle really was a beauty; ergo his name.   Brilliant orange spots that resembled Halloween candy corn,  flamed up his legs and was matched by clear blazing orange eyes.  Holding him, he let you scratch his head, while his legs went like windmills. A week later, he got sick. . . .


The Kaiser's Brooch

Helene Munson

© Copyright 2019 by Helene Munson


Photo of the brooch.

The Kaiser’s Brooch is what I have been told about my great-grandmother Marie Sophie Schmiede by my grandmother, supplemented by my knowledge of German history and carefully researched historical facts (Everything from the name of the Rabbi to the Tzar’s children having measles is true.) My short story is aimed at not just preserving a piece of family history but also giving the reader an understanding of what lead up to Germany’s disastrous 20th century history, weaving it into the story about my great grandmother…and yes… I own the Kaiser’s  Brooch. . . .


My First Theatre Experience

Albert Vetere Lannon

© Copyright 2019 by Albert Vetere Lannon

Photo of a 50's candy store.

I love the theatre. I’ve been able over my eight decades to see lots of plays, from street performers to first-class houses in New York, London, San Francisco, and now, Tucson. I didn’t grow up with theatre in my life. As a street kid on New York’s Lower East Side the thee-A-ter was something uptowners with money did and they did it uptown. We made do with the fourth-run Stuyvesant movie house on Second Avenue, around the corner from twelth Street where I lived and across the street from the corner candy store where we hung out, sipping sodas and playing the jukebox. . . .

Colorado Memoir

Robert Flournoy

© Copyright 2019 by Robert Flournoy   
Photo of Denver smog.

When I left the army in 1973 I headed to Colorado to see if some dreams could come true.  I had been in love with the mere thought of the Rocky Mountains since boyhood and could not wait to get there.  Colorado Springs was small then, Denver half the size it is today, its yellow dome not yet a significant trade mark.  I bought a home in the shadow of Pike's Peak and could access a dozen pristine trout streams in the foothills close to my house that were full of fish. . . .


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