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Under Siege
A Memoir of Conflict



Lance Mason


 
© Copyright 2020 by Lance Mason



Gunman and children.

This work recounts a visit I made to the Irish Republic and to Ulster in 1970 as the Troubles, ignited anew in 1969, were building toward Bloody Sunday and the years of turmoil to follow. I had met two young Irish lads in a London pub a few months before, and went to Ireland to fulfill a promise I had made to them, and one to my mother to visit the home of her long-dead parents. The memories persist. . . .

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Walking the Camino






Jack Karolewski



 
© Copyright 2020 by Jack Karolewski




Photo of Jack.                                 

The Way of St. James, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a walking pilgrimage route that has been traveled by millions of people over the last 900 years. It begins in France and ends in northwest Spain at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of St. James the Apostle --- the patron saint of Spain --- are entombed. . . .

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Florida Redemption






Jack Karolewski



 
© Copyright 2020 by Jack Karolewski




Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash
                                  Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

It was a cold, snowy, miserable March in 1972. I was attending Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. This college town is located about 65 miles west of Chicago, out among vast flat farmlands. Its historic claim to fame is the patented invention of barbed wire by a local, Joseph Glidden, in 1874. DeKalb is also known for its hybrid corn, whose universally-recognized logo is a golden ear of corn with two flying wings. All I wanted to do that gray and windy day was to fly down to sunny, warm Florida over our two-week Spring Break – specifically to see for myself the supposed non-stop college kid party scene in Ft. Lauderdale. . . .

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The Train to Harare




Lance Mason



 
© Copyright 2020 by Lance Mason



Lance and rhino.

This work is a reflection on several trips I have made to Africa, but especially my first in 1988, as I was immigrating to New Zealand, and my second in 1998, on a short-notice visit when my long-time friend and college roommate was charges d'affaires (acting ambassador) following the Al Queda bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi. I have tried to discuss the questions and challenges of post-colonial independence across Africa and across a spectrum of viewpoints, always aware that I am visitor with all the limits that implies. . . .

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Vigilance



Rani Jayakumar

 
© Copyright 2020 by Rani Jayakumar




Village street in India.
Every few years, my family travels to India, particularly Chennai, where my parents grew up. It brings us a chance to reconnect with our heritage and help the children understand their own history and culture. On this particular trip, we spent just long enough to make note of the differences and similarities in ordinary life. . . .


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Tales from a South American Stormdrain




Mike Plummer and Tim Foster


 
© Copyright 2020 by Mike Plummer and Tim foster



 

Photo by Ryk Porras on Unsplash
                                   Photo by Ryk Porras on Unsplash

A nauseating wave of emotional turmoil swept through me as I hesitantly queued to check in my oversized Karrimor rucksack at Heathrow airport. Here I was, a former junior sales assistant at John Lewis, with career prospects and opportunities that most young people in the early eighties could have only dreamt of, about to embark on an adventure of epic proportions. My plan was to travel around the world, starting off in South America. I felt that if I could survive South America, I could survive anywhere! . . .

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Living in Bondage




Eberechukwu Obua



 
© Copyright 2020 by Eberechukwu Obua
 



Photo by niu niu on Unsplash
                               Photo by niu niu on Unsplash


Thunder will fire you.”

It’s a popular phrase here. Scientifically incorrect yet carrying the message of an imminent attack from the skies, perfectly.

Is it an insult? A curse upon the heads of my enemies? It’s a powerful polysemy. . . .

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Scotland 2017



Gladys Swedak

 
© Copyright 2020 by Gladys Swedak



 

Photo of Scottish piper.

I’d been looking forward to this holiday for three years. We were finally on our way to Scotland. The flight I had booked had an eighteen hour layover in Toronto from 12:47 AM to 6pm the next night. We didn’t want to stay at the airport all that time so I went on line as I had for the other bookings I had made in Scotland. I chose an airbandb bed and breakfast and paid with my credit card. . . .

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Get Packing



Pk Robbins Walzer

 
© Copyright 2020 by PK Robbins Walzer



 

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash
                                      Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

When it comes to tackling packing, I have a long way to go. I don’t mean that my destination is distant. I mean that my skill set is lacking in this department. . . .

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Mezcal and Murallas




Ruscena Wiederholt


 
© Copyright 2020 Ruscena Wiederholt 



 

Photo of cut mezcal.

Our guide Dari poured a thin stream of liquid into a flimsy gourd cup and handed it to me. We were in a small cement shack, the maestro leaning casually against one of the barrels lining the wall. We were just another group of gringas, giggly ones at that. Like so many he’d seen before, vacationers, Spanish words sliding off our tongues in an awkward, anglophone way. Dari, in careful Spanish, had explained mezcal production all morning. . . .

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Near Death in the Gila National Forest




Don Lubov


 
© Copyright 2020 by Don Lubov



 

Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash.
                                 Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

So, here I am, waiting by the roadside for my first hitch. The weather is beautiful, and I’m feeling good. Good here means a mixture of fear and excitement. I’ve got 35 pounds of food and gear, and I’m ready to go. Hold on to your hat, that semi is slowing down. . . .

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Where Are You Going, Poet?






Daniel de Culla




 
© Copyright 2020 by Daniel de Culla



Photo of Daniel.
           Photo: Isabel Gomez de Diego

With this bike that’s going nowhere, I’m going to take a walk through the streets of Ampuriabrava, Girona, where I’m spending a few days and, if its tires aren’t punctured, I’ll travel the world any other day. A World that normally has a lot to see and a lot to suffer; but little to gain. A World in the power of some greats, men and women, guarded by thugs, who consider us other lazy, homeless people. . . .

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The Masked Bandit of Tygart Lake



Jenny Lee McGinn


 
© Copyright 2020 by Jenny Lee McGinn



Photo of raccoon on trash can.

A few years ago, we spent a fabulous weekend in rural West Virginia with longtime friends from Ohio. The four of us rented a beautiful cabin together at Tygart Lake State Park near the peak of autumn with full myriad colors beginning to flourish. The structure was small with a rustic feel, yet tastefully decorated with pictures of “lake life” wall hangings and comfortable living room furniture. . . .

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Finding Answers in Traveling




Lauren Barrett


 
© Copyright 2020 by Lauren Barrett






Photo of Lauren.

Pulling up to our Airbnb, I affixed my sea bands to my wrists and did my best to ward off any further nausea. We were here, San Francisco, at the start of our California road trip with the theme being to capture the major league stadiums in our quest to see them all. And instead of jumping for joy at finally arriving at the destination of a much planned and carefully crafted trip, I was cursing the high heavens for being in the throes of morning sickness and food aversion thanks to a much unplanned and not carefully crafted pregnancy. . . .

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Lady Thrill Seekers Wanted - Dare to 
Drive an 18-Wheeler




Daria J. Walsh

 
© Copyright 2020 Daria J. Walsh 




 
Sign

After my divorce in 2013, I thought long and hard about a "backup" plan in case I was ever laid off from my day job as a prospect researcher in the fundraising arena.  I wanted a challenge, and had also grown up next to a neighbor who owned his own flatbed truck and was an independent operator.  He was the spark and inspiration for my own interest in trucking, along with growing up with three brothers.  I loved learning to drive a truck. . . .

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A 'Dam Good Time'


Aashana Daru

 
© Copyright 2020 Aashana Daru 



 
Photo of bandaged leg.

This is a very real incident that happened to my family and I; 'A 'Dam Good Time' is a short story about a summer vacation to Amsterdam, during which the strangest medical emergency occurs and everything that could go wrong, does. . . .

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Divergent Generation X



Patricia Sukore


 
© Copyright 2020 by Patricia Sukore



The writer's children.

In the olden days, in Nigeria, when children were only supposed to be seen and not heard; their rights were withheld to the extent that their health suffered in effect. This write-up is meant to change the Nigerian narrative as regards "literally" upholding the rights of children. . . .

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The Harz Mountains -
Witch Country in Germany

 

Eva Bell    

© Copyright 2020 by Eva Bell 


 

Photo of statue of Satan.
                         

A German historian once said that witchcraft is as German as the Hitler phenomenon. Germany was the centre of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries. Not many in the 21st Century would claim to believe in witchcraft. But The Harz Mountains still remain a popular tourist destination. . . .

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The Long Trip







James L. Cowles



 
© Copyright 2020 by James L. Cowles


 
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash.
                         Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash.

When he said I would need no training, that I, and for that matter, every human being is already trained, I became suspicious. I mean, I thought I would have to spend months in training, maybe over a year. That would certainly seem appropriate. Surely there would be lots of things to learn and then there was conditioning. I would have to be in perfect physical condition, wouldn't I? But, he said no; he said absolutely not! . . .

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The Room That Leads Out There



Eunice Oladeji


 
© Copyright 2020 by Eunice Oladeji



Photo of Kenyan school girls.

Born into a Christian, missionary home, Eunice was barely five years old when she was strapped on a plane along with her sister and parents on their way to Kenya. So, yes, she has traveled outside of her hlme country, Nigeria but that was just for two years and that was a long time ago. However, the memories linger and she would like to share them. . . .

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The Streets





Lew Goddard



 
© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard


Photo of a homeless person.

Snow had begun gathering on the mountain tops back in the first part of September, now in late October my job was finished for the season. During the summer I had spent most of my time at high elevations. Avenues for electrical transmission towers were being prepared and I worked in the forefront helping to clear the forest and anything else that could make it easier for the heavy equipment to install the towers. . . .

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Sarah's Story
 

   
 

Valerie Byron
  

 

© Copyright 2020 by Valerie Byron    


Photo of Sarah.


This non-fiction account by my late mother, Sarah Byron,  was dictated to me.  It tells the story of her life and sexual awakening in the early 1900’s and her meeting, marriage and divorce with my father. . . .

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Jacey Cameron in the Lost State of Franklin
(Excerpt from the book,)



Judith Nakken


 
© Copyright 2020 by Judith Nakken



Photo of book cover.

 Jacey Cameron is a twelve-year-old girl with a magic Celtic necklace that takes her back in time, to historical times or places little known in her 21st century. In this first book of a trilogy, she whisks timelessly to the almost-14th state of Franklin as Jane, a bond servant to Franklin’s governor. . . .Her adventure and what she learns serves Jacey well when she returns home. . . .

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Albie






Cathy B. Bridges


 
© Copyright 2020 by Cathy B. Bridges


Photo of Albie.
       

All my life, I have had a pet. As a child, my pets were always dogging because my dad was a dog lover and I never had a cat because my parents did not like them. Being an animal lover, and a child, I was not picky and probably would have tried to make a pet out of a skunk if given a chance. . . .

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1967 and the Hairpull Challenge

Betsy Shepardson






 
© Copyright 2020 by Betsy Shepardson




Two girls holding hands.
                             

So, there’s this pressure it seems, to have girlfriends.  A woman must have lots of friends.  Or a best one.  Or a group. Or a gaggle.  Or a “meaningful sisterhood”. . . .

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The Drayman



Lew Goddard




 
© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard



Photo of a dray.

My Father was a Drayman. As long as I can remember my Dad was a hardworking man.

According to Webster a dray is a low cart without sides used for carrying heavy loads. My Dad altered the definition by placing long planks embodied with twelve-inch metal steel bolts that were flattened with two bolts attached to the planks. These metal fasteners were inserted into appropriately located holes in the bed of the dray. In the event of a loose heavy load the one-foot sides kept the load from falling off. . . .

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The Autumn Plague
(excerpt from the book)





Karen Radford Treanor 

 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor

Photo of The Autumn Plague book cover.

Would you want to be the scientist who tells the President that 88% of the population will be dead in nine days?  John Callan is the man, and he has worse news to follow: even when the Nanjing Flu’s disease vector is identified, there’s not enough time left to stop it.

How Callan leaves his ivory tower and learns to live in the new and frightening real world is the theme of  “The Autumn Plague”. . . .

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August

An excerpt from Ellie's new book, Seen from the Road
 

Ellie S. Thomas   
 

© Copyright 2020 by  Ellie S. Thomas

 

 

Photo of a girl holding blackberries.


(If you live where it gets sweltering hot in August, as I do in Nashville, Tennessee, and dream of the climate farther north, you'll enjoy this excerpt from Ellie Thomas's journal of a rural year at her home in the Adirondack Mountains of upper New York State. . . .Richard Loller, publisher.)

August 1 and hot again..we spent the day at the lake where it was blissfully cool. The flowers are all in bloom and little birds are lively there. A bit too lively, really because they decorated D's shirt so he had to go change. We left, reluctantly, at 4 p.m.

I found some elecampane in bloom this morning and picked one blossom. At first, I'd thought it was jerusalem artichoke but a study of the book showed my mistake. I picked a few more bluebells and something we always called wireweed but which I suspect is a member of the spirea family. . . .

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Once Upon A Mountain



Linda A. Dougherty


 
© Copyright 2020 by Linda A. Dougherty






I learned many things during our five and a half years of living in Morocco, and perhaps my year and a half of living in a village in the Imlil Valley forty miles south of Marrakech taught me a valuable lesson- don’t take yourself too seriously. . . .

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Physics Test



Jerry Crenshaw


 
© Copyright 2020 by Jerry Crenshaw



Photo of a test page.

Kent said. “Don’t say nothing when I’m concentrating”. I never had that problem myself.

I was Kent’s roommate at UT in Knoxville while mom was tending his quail business back home. Kent would fly home from Knoxville every other weekend to Memphis. He was majoring in Engineering Physics, “Slide rule Pool”. Engineering Physics (rocket science) as we called it today was probably one of the hardest curriculum at Knoxville. . . .


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The Christian Lebanese




Ronny Flatau


 
© Copyright 2020 by Ronny Flatau



 

At Janna’s house,with her husband, and grandchildren. July 27, 2018
   At Janna’s house,with her husband, and grandchildren. July 27, 2018

Janna was 16 when she got married, that’s what she told us. By the time we met her, she was already 60. It was a hot summer day in northern Israel and me and my friends were hiking. We were carrying heavy bags, and Janna saw us through her fence. She took pity on us, and so She invited us in, to sit with her over coffee. . . .

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Duck Hunting, A Dream Relived



Gordon Crenshaw


 
© Copyright 2020 by Gordon Crenshaw



Photo of a duck hunter.


For many years I have asked myself, what is the magic that makes a man leave his warm home in the wee hours of the morning in freezing conditions to endure almost unbearable conditions to get a chance to bag his limit of ducks? . . .

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The Men I Met Along The Way





Carrie-Jade Williams


 
© Copyright 2020 by Carrie-Jade Williams



Photo of a woman taking eye test.

It began with the eyes. Like so many love stories. Romeo on his balcony hoping for a glimpse of Juliet’s, Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot and Guinevere. The list could go on but this isn’t about all the great loves throughout history. Spoiler alert, this isn’t even about me meeting ‘the one’. But this is still a love story or a testament of sorts, to all the men I met along the way. The ones I loved, the ones I didn’t and the ones who had no idea I even existed. . . .

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Remembering Randall Jarrell



Teddy K. Makarow


 
© Copyright 2020 by Teddy K. Makarow






Photo of Randall Jarrell.            

Randall Jarrell I knew only as a student knows a good teacher. But as I look back to 1960, over more than 50 years ago, to those few short months that I sat with others around his conference table in Writing Workshop I, I can still feel myself there and I know now what I knew then—Mr. Jarrell’s Writing Workshop was the most deeply significant class I have ever taken....

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Don't Drink The Koolaid



Linda A. Dougherty


 
© Copyright 2020 by Linda A. Dougherty





Photo of young Linda.

This is both a catharsis for me and an invitation to my daughters to understand my world which was so different than their own childhood. It is a story of hope too, that we do not have to remain stuck in the past but reconciliation is always within reach if we dare to make the first steps. . . .

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Unearthed




Denise E. Fore


 
© Copyright 2020 by Denise E. Fore



Image of DNA.

I was born the sixth and last child of my parents’ marriage. My parents were divorced a few years later and I spent my childhood visiting my father during school breaks and holidays. I can still feel the joy and nervous anticipation of waiting eagerly for his big gold Chrysler to pull up in our driveway at the end of his five-hundred mile drive to come visit his children. I was his baby girl and like little girls do--I loved my daddy. . . .

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A Friend, A Woe



Precious Owuamalam


 
© Copyright 2020 by Precious Owuamalam





Photo of legs.

Sometimes, no matter how nice you try to be to some people, they would never get to appreciate the good you did for them....

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My Childhood with Jorge Robeje



Terence Talagon


 
© Copyright 2020 by Terence Talagon



Photo of the grandparents.

I’ve been wanting so much to go home to Guimaras; partly because I want to take a break from school, but mostly because I want to see my grandfather. . . .

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A Gal with a Goal



Sharon Morris


 
© Copyright 2020 by Sharon Morris



Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash
                              Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash.

“Trippin’ On Lactic Acid” was written in bold white letters on her dark gray t-shirt. Her white mesh ASICS shoes with lavender and gray accents slapped against the black track of the treadmill, set at 3.6 miles per hour, and her short brown hair bounced to the rhythm of the jogging. Margaret gradually increased the incline to 7.5% to prepare her for a 5K race up the side of a mountain in West Virginia, where she and her husband Ken would vacation. . . .

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Who's That Lady?



Rolanda T. Pyle


 
© Copyright 2020 by Rolanda T. Pyle





Photo of Rolanda.

Looking out the window, I could see the snow blanketing the highway and the streets. The limousine was crawling on this trip to and from the cemetery - we had been in this car for seven hours. The burial service was about 15 minutes. . . .

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Me, Dad and Seven Shoes



Irene Joseph


 
© Copyright 2020 by Irene Joseph





Photo of a pair of shoes.

It's magical, how an assortment of fond memories can spring from a pair of shoes from the past! When I think about particular shoes, memories of me and my Dad appear. It is ten years this Christmas that I lost my Dad, and so as a celebration of his life with me, here are seven pairs of shoes, whose memories I'd like to share. . . .

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Wolfsheim's Watch



Ceci Hughes


 
© Copyright 2020 by Ceci Hughes






Cover of The Great Gadsby.

By the time I graduated high school, it was a well-known fact among my classmates that I hated Mrs. Cranston. I guess hate is a strong word, so it’s probably better to say that I strongly disliked Mrs. Cranston. . . .

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Mummy, Me, Memories





Iris Leona Marie Cross




 
© Copyright 2020 by Iris Leona Marie Cross



Photo of Mummy and Iris.

Not knowing what had transpired behind the bedroom door I had slammed shut in a rage still haunts me. All I know is my prophetic words that night had come to pass. “Mark my words mummy, from tomorrow you’re on your own. I’m not putting up with this nonsense anymore.” The next morning, my mother was on her own. She was dead; and I was racked with guilt....

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Shape Does Not Define Me


Diana Arriaga


 
© Copyright 2020 by Diana Arriaga



Photo of an alter with candles.

My hands are stained with despair and calloused with regret, a tattered map of who I am. When I look down, I am standing on sin and dreams. I am living, but my shadow is not. It is my grave, but not my death. This is the beginning. . . .

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A Dangerous Welcome



Charlene Duline


 
© Copyright 2020 by Charlene Duline



Photo of Charlene.

As our caravan of three U.S. Embassy cars rolled through the dark, empty streets of Monrovia, I wondered if this would be the last night of my life. Liberia remained under martial law and a curfew had been announced by Head of State Samuel Doe shortly after he and 27 other soldiers disemboweled President Tolbert and took over the country on April 12, 1980. Doe had declared that no one was allowed on the city streets from midnight to 6:00 a.m., and here was our small caravan of cars moving through the capital city of Monrovia at 4:30 a.m. . . .






Bohemian Fruit Dumplings







Suzanne Caithamer


 
© Copyright 2020 by Suzanne Caithamer


Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash
          Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash

I’ve always thought my mother-in-law was kind of a character, but I never realized how much until I started writing about her. I don’t get to see her much nowadays, as she lives so far away, but she has had a profound impact on my life in many ways. . . .

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The John



Maureen Moynihan
 


© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan



Photo of bathroom door.
                          Photo by Robert Reader 

Cancer treatment is a voracious consumer of a patient's self image. Sources of unconditional love and acceptance are critical as we grieve the body that we once had. 

It’s easier to get a turtle out of its shell than a husband out of the bathroom. . . .

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She Was Only Eighteen, Only Eighteen




Iris Leona Marie Cross


 
© Copyright 2020 by Iris Leona Marie Cross



Photo of a shirt label.

For a brief period in my life, raging hormones had clouded my moral judgment causing professional boundaries to become blurred. As I recall this episode, I am left to wonder how far the pendulum of intoxicating desire would have swung, were it not for the sobering effect and timely intervention of that bombshell letter? . . .

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The Crying Couch


Kim Smyth


 
© Copyright 2020 by Kim Smyth




Photo of a couch.

My husband has always been what you’d think of as a tough guy, strong, manly, well he’s always been my rock. I’ve come to depend on his quiet strength to lift me up in times of need and to keep me grounded when my body feels like it’s flying apart. Then came the day we found out he had the “C” word and that was the day his strength was truly tested. . . .

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Cookie - 1954



Thomas Turman


 
© Copyright 2020 by Thomas Turman




Photo by André Freitas on Unsplash
                          Photo by André Freitas on Unsplash

I was excited to get the card from the Denver Parks Department that told me to report for work at 5:15 A.M., so I biked down here early. The lone streetlight 25 feet down the road barely lights the shadowy, brooding, one story brick building and dense bushes across the street from where as I wait in the street. I am the first one here, but I’m not really alone because I’m on the south edge of the city zoo. The sounds of the nocturnal animals and birds are scary yet comforting at the same time. I can feel and smell them out there in the cool darkness of the June morning. . . .

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How I Wake Up At The Backseat,
Asking God When?



Samuel Nnadi


 
© Copyright 2020 by Samuel Nnadi



Photo of the author.

Winter comes grey & dusty, like another vagabond experiencing it's hangover on the road's belly. Every harmattan finds December eating weird dishes in my head & other Christian homes left in my body. Whatever goes into them becomes a fellowship-- a wild synagogue of my dreams hailing a Mary that isn't so full of grace. . . .

Chipped Beef on Toast






Hannah Huber


 
© Copyright 2020 by Hannah Huber



Photo of Hotel Gettysburg.

Some of the most important people in my life I’ve met at the most unexpected places. These people, although some of them have since passed away, have taught me that choosing a less conventional way of living leads to freedom. . . .

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Gone Past She Remains





KC Chan Wing Haw


 
© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Wing Haw


 
Photo of Wilber and Charlotte from movie.
                      

This story is about someone whom I miss dearly and still she remains inside me. She inspired me to be a writer.

She. Molly Lee was her name. She had always been a source to ignite independent education, a passionate companion to children and of her own, someone who laughed and joked without tomorrow hinting another strength to come. A lady of smiles that no longer existed in some of us but remained somewhere near her hut of declining memories. . . .

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Still Here




Karen H. Curran

  


© Copyright 2020 by Karen H. Curran



 
 
Photo of piano.

I have a regular gig one Sunday a month, playing piano for a worship service at a local assisted living facility. Most residents come in wheelchairs, use walkers, or ride on electric scooters. Many of them fall asleep during the service. I play several hymn arrangements and lead in singing songs; then an elder or pastor from my church reads and teaches from God’s Word. I try to speak with each resident afterwards, but conversation can be difficult since some of them struggle with hearing or cognitive issues. . . .

Snowballs With Syrup



Terry Mulcahy


 
© Copyright 2020 by Terry Mulcahy



Unknown object.
Old fashioned ice shaver such as Terry and his brother used.

Although I do not remember the exact dates, my parents moved one last time as a family in 1960, when I was about to turn ten. The snowball stand existed for two or three summers between 1961 and 1966. Our parents taught us how to make the sugar syrup. They bought our first set of flavor concentrates to help us get started. We added more as our business took off....

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Twenty-five Mother's Days Without Her

Cathy B. Bridges

 
© Copyright 2020 by Cathy B. Bridges


Photo of Cathy's mom.
    

Today is May 27, 2020, and mama has been gone 25 years and 15 days. She passed from this life to a better one on May 12, 1995. That was the Friday before Mother’s Day. I will never forget it. I was working for an optometrist on the other end of town when my dad called with the bad news. Mama had died. . . .

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Ghost Meeting




Laura Labno


 

© Copyright 2020 by Laura Labno


Photo of goldfish in a pond.

She opened the door and there she was. Somewhere in between a blurred eyes-made picture from 8 years earlier and this very moment, registered by the very same eyes. There she was. . . .

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Trudy Hunzikar - Mother Courage
 

Eva Bell    

© Copyright 2020 by Eva Bell 

 

Photo of mission hospital school of nursing.
                         

Friendships never die. They run through life like an enriching melody. We were friends for seventeen years, and though Trudy has gone to hide among the stars, the courageous life she led can never be forgotten. . . .

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Waylaid - Postcard From New York City



Martha Patterson

 
© Copyright 2020 by Martha Patterson



 
Photo by Dan Roizer on Unsplash
Photo by Dan Roizer on Unsplash

It was an emerald-green day in Manhattan – the kind of summer afternoon when every bird in the city has a song. I knew how special such a day was, since normally any birdsong there is drowned out by taxis, trucks, and construction work. . . .

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Best Laid Plans




Stephanie Whitson


 
© Copyright 2020 by Stephanie Whitson



 
Photo by Isaac Moore on Unsplash
                                       Photo by Isaac Moore on Unsplash

The idea was simple. Pack up our RV and boondock across California and Nevada, continue through until we arrive in Louisiana. We wanted to save money and figured dry camping was the best way to do it, while still being able to travel. As with any best-laid plans, there will always be hiccups. . . .

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Hiking the Juan de Fuca Trail
on Vancouver Island




Lillith Foxx


 
© Copyright 2020 by Lillith Foxx




Photo of Lillith's tent and campsite.

It was an ambitious endeavor for a first-time backpacker. 47 kilometers of wild coastal trail, in under 48 hours. Between the bugs and the bear scares and the beers, we managed to come out the other side alive. I hope you enjoy this adventure. . . .

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A Side of Bacon



Maureen Moynihan
 


© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan




                                Photo furnished by the author.

Fear is not the worst part of a disease; indifference is.  Compassion matters in medical care. It matters BIG.  A patient will remember every kind thought, prayer, word and card.  They will also will remember what was not there at all. 

The radiation technician executed her duties with the same bored detachment as an express lane cashier; I was yet another item to scan. A box of Fruit Loops. A head of lettuce. A side of bacon. . . .

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A Conventional Riot



Doug Sherr


 
© Copyright 2020 by Doug Sherr





Photo of scene from convention demonstration.


A riot exists for itself. It doesn't grow and sustain because of the original outrage; that cause was extinguished in the first hours of the riot. Sometimes the cause changes, but usually there no longer is a cause at all. Here is my memory of one of America's famous riots. . . .

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Kismet Interrupted

Don Shook




 
© Copyright 2020 by Don Shook




Photo of a Liberace.



“Don, Don they love you.” Mari Lynn Henry, Head of ABC Daytime Casting in New York, barely containing her excitement, exclaimed into the other end of the phone. . . .

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Three Don't Dance



Don Shook


 
© Copyright 2020 by Don Shook





Photo of a sign for Mom's Diner.



Guilt consumed me. “My, God, she’s married!” I thought, the effects of the wine worn off. “You’re married!” I said aloud, jumping to my feet.

Toni looked perplexed, then scowled before saying, “So?”. . .

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Moving Again




Hal Howland


 
© Copyright 2020 by Hal Howland





Picture with Robert Frost.
Harold E. Howland, Hal, Robert Frost, Charles Howland, and Elizabeth Howland.
taken at the Howland home near Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1961.

Two or three moves ago, I decided that the single most depressing thing you can do in life is to relocate from one home to another. This of course is a Virgo’s immediate response to the massive but short-lived disruption that a government brat calls business as usual. The most practical lesson I learned from that life of continual uprooting is this: Always hire professional movers. . . .

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The Caller


Maureen Moynihan

 
© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan





Photo credit Quino Al  @quinoal
                                 Photo credit Quino Al  @quinoal
My mother calls. She speaks in 24pt Impact Bold font and punctuates each statement with a fantastic sense of urgency.

Maureen!!! This is ya Mutha!!!!The lady who gave you birth!! Backwards!!”. . .

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The Visit




James L. Cowles



 
© Copyright 2020 by James L. Cowles


 
Photo of hand knocking on a door.

It was a good day. Dad picked up his new bi-focals and could finally read without getting a headache, mom finished sewing my sister Gloria's dress, which she had been working on for at least two weeks and I picked up my brand new cornet and would be taking my first lesson next week. Meanwhile, I had been instructed to practice "buzzing" my lips and trying to get a good tone from my new horn. . . .

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Reflections of a Daddyless Daughter



Barbara Brockway


 
© Copyright 2020 by Barbara Brockway



Photo of Barbara and her family.

My dad was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease the year I was born. I grew up with the specter of his death over me always, it was something I never not knew, from the way adults cast pitying looks at me, to the lack of money from the mound of medical bills, to his bouts of suffering and the casual talk of his myriad of treatments around our dinner table. . . .

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In Case of Emergency, Grab Your Seat



Marnie Devereux


 
© Copyright 2020 by Marnie Devereux




Photo of  a Beech 1900.

This morning we are up before daybreak to catch an early morning flight to Los Angeles. We are attending a wedding in Pasadena and I will be introduced to, and inspected by, Dr Nick’s surrogate family in the US. ‘Don’t worry, they know all about you’ he says cheerfully, as if that will help.

Prescott’s Municipal Airport is tiny. The staff multi-task, especially today as their electronic system has gone down, so everything has to be checked manually. Our little plane is basic, no frills. We are advised in the departure lounge that there is no toilet on board ‘So now would be a good time to go.’ You don’t get that kind of personal care advice at Heathrow. . . .

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The American Embassy



Marnie Devereux


 
© Copyright 2020 by Marnie Devereux




Photo of the American Embassy in London.

So I'm sitting in the waiting room at Taunton railway station, about to embark on the biggest journey of my life. This time tomorrow, I shall know whether or not my visa application has been approved. I haven't slept properly in two weeks, ever since the letter arrived inviting me to the interview at the US Embassy in London. . . .

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Upside Down Apple Pie



Marnie Devereux


 
© Copyright 2020 by Marnie Devereux



Photo of a gold fish.

Of course, it all started long before that. It was just that the 'upside down apple pie' incident was the first time anyone really noticed, apart from me. . . .

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Stuffed Cabbage and Knishes




Eileen W. Fisher

 
© Copyright 2019 by Eileen W. Fisher


 
Photo of a plate of Knishes.

When I think about my mother, what comes to mind is her reputation as being a great cook. There were no cookbooks in my house, no recipe files; everything was made from scratch. In a generation when most women did not work, many found self-expression in cooking for their families and friends as did my mother. It was her way of expressing love for her family, and friends. It was her way to shine, and to share. . . .

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The Journey of 27 Roosters



Lori Hilton Brizius




 
© Copyright 2020 by Lori Hilton Brizius





Photo by Arib Neko on Unsplash
                     Photo by Arib Neko on Unsplash

Every stray or lost animal has a journey. Every little soul has a story. Working with animals in shelters is never easy, and for almost 30 years I’ve cared for all kinds including domestic, wildlife, farm animals and reptiles. I never imagined that one day a scraggly bunch of roosters would melt my heart. . . .

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It Wasn't Funny At The Time






Patricia M. Snell




 
© Copyright 2020 by Patricia M. Snell




Photo of an injured toe.

My husband never tires of teasing me about the time I ran over him with the lawn mower. He admits he should have given me a quick lesson in how to steer and how to stop. . . .

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A Memory of Fox Hill and Grandview



Robert Flournoy





 
© Copyright 2019 by Robert Flournoy   
 
Photo of Chesapeake wetlands.

I have often wondered if luck is something that is doled out individually in our lives, some getting more than others, some getting none at all. Looking back, it seems that I was extraordinarily lucky as a boy and later as a young man, surviving experiences that had scant chance of turning out on my side. It was like I was front loaded with a life time of luck, not to last forever, but there in the beginning, when I most needed it. . . .

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What If. . .



Lew Goddard




 
© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard



Photo of a man looking in a rear view mirror.

Now I have more time to spend without going to work. I found myself searching back in memory counting the number of times that I could have been injured and possibly die due to the circumstances. Some of the situations were accidental, some were intentional and others just complete stupidity. I must say that I knew the hazards when I employed the actions. . . .

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Women and Children First: Paying
for the Crimes of Nazi Germany




Linda Jonasson



 
© Copyright 2020 by Linda Jonasson



Photo of civilians leaving bombed city.

This essay is based on the life of Elfriede Neumann, my husband's grandmother. 

Winston Churchill once said: "History is written by the victors." My early knowledge of European History came from a Canadian high school textbook. Flipping through its pages, I saw vivid images of Germany’s role in the Second World War: Wehrmacht soldiers goose-stepping down the Champs-Elysees of Paris; Hitler delivering rants to a crowd of helmet-topped heads, their right arms raised at a 45 degree angle; the Luftwaffe bombing London’s glorious St. Paul Cathedral during the Blitz. . . .

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The Magic and Majesty of the Middle Ages:
Notre-Dame de Paris




Bill Ranauro


 
© Copyright 2020 by Bill Ranauro



 

Photo of Notre-Dame.

In April 1999, I made my first trip to Europe. I was helping three other teachers chaperone forty students on a trip that would take us to Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome over the next two weeks. I was hooked on European travel after visiting Notre-Dame Cathedral on my first day in Paris. . . .

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The Secret of My Memories





KC Chan Haw


 
© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Haw


 
Photo by Wilber and Charlotte from movie.
                      

This story is about how the world revolves around problems I view them as vital as our current situation may beg us to rethink how our actions can be a contribution to our present act. I am inspired from my recent reading by David Halberstam ‘The Next Century’. . . .

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Union Rap





Albert Vetere Lannon


 
© Copyright 2020 by Albert Vetere Lannon





Union sign.
(Labor sit-in at South Africa Airlines, 1985. I’m on right, with SF Labor Council Assistant Secretary Jeff Greendorfer on left.)

Unions are getting a bad rap these days, often with justification. Corruption and embezzlement in the once-progressive United Auto Workers, individuals in other unions helping themselves to members’ dues for their own personal use, officials bought off by employers – these garner headlines while millions of workers with leadership true to trade union principles remain under increasing pressure to roll back the gains made over decades of struggle. Unions, which created the much-vaunted middle class in the United States, are now at their lowest membership levels since the Robber Baron Capitalism of a century ago. . . .

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Why Do We Watch Scary Movies?



Kelly Maida




 
© Copyright 2020 by Kelly Maida




Photo of horrow movie ad.

Why do we try to scare ourselves? As a small child, I am not sure of how old I was was when I watched scary movies. My first memory of scary shows was chiller theatre. I remember a big hand coming out of the ground. My grandma asked me when I was little why do you like to frighten yourself? . . .

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Mothers Day Cards



Betsy Shepardson


 
© Copyright 2020 by Betsy Shepardson



Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
                                Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


I was maybe three years sober when I finally reached a point where I could consider buying a Mother’s Day card for my mom. Done enough inventory, looked at my part in the resentments. (plural). Scouring the card racks looking for one that said “Thank you for bringing me to the planet”. Or “Thank you, for trying your best.”  But those Mother’s Day cards, so sappy and sticky, rang nothing short of phoney. . . .

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My Comfort in Discomfort: The Effects of Embracing Vulnerability



Genevieve Jaser


 
© Copyright 2020 by Genevieve Jaser



Photo of a rainbow.

As I prepare to enter into my senior year of college, I was struck with a realization: upon my entry into college, I was happy and excited, but I was met with struggling students, worried peers, and unhappy people. When I arrived at my first-ever college class, I noticed 20 students, like zombies propped up in chairs. Is college really as boring as their faces led me to believe? . . .

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Six Little Stories





Mary Murphy




 
© Copyright 2020 by Mary Murphy



Photo of silver spoons.

A Little Story of the Four, Sterling Silver, Coffee Spoons.

When my father was called up during WWII, the family left Alabama for San Diego, California to be near where he would be stationed. At first, we crowded into a motel; my mother, my dad's mother, my older brother Bobby, my younger brother, Jack, then a toddler, and I. I was around five years old when we moved. . . .

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Past The Use By Date?





Karen Radford Treanor 

 


© Copyright 2020  by Karen Radford Treanor



Photo of 1982 Encylopedia Brittanica.

Just before the whole world’s door was slammed shut in our faces, we were at the recycling shop in Huonville, Tasmania. The shop is run by the local council, and it’s filled with odd glassware, old furniture, used books, pots without lids and lids without pots, and et cetera. We were poking around in search of something we needed, such as an undiscovered Sheraton sideboard.

In a corner of a back room was a plain white shelving unit of no particular distinction. You know the sort of thing: a low platform made of chipboard with one drawer and two or three open-backed shelves above. “$20 with contents” it said.

The contents comprised a complete set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, including the yearbooks from 1965. . . .

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Max Performs for the Last Time,
and the Last Time, and Finally the Last Time



Mark O. J. Esping


 
© Copyright 2020 by Mark O. J. Esping



Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
                    Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Max studied to be an opera singer. He actually preformed as the crocodile in the stage presentation of Peter Pan. Health interrupted his singing career. He started a summer theatre called Broadway RFD, which presented musicals during the summer in Lindsborg Kansas. He played Santa Claus at Macys in New York City. . . .

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International Baby Gang



Michelle Paul Imagawa


 
© Copyright 2020 by Michelle Paul Imagawa



Photo of babies.

I’m a Texas girl—brought up around cows, cactus, bluebonnets, and rattlesnakes. As a child, I expected to grow old in Texas. But it turned out there was a sweet, funny, and handsome Japanese young man at the university I attended in San Antonio. Thirty-plus years on, here I am in Japan. We have 3 children, born and raised here on the island of Kyushu. This is the story of my first baby. . . .

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Destinations



Lori Hilton Brizius


 
© Copyright 2020 by



Photo of moon over water by Lori.

When I think of all the chapters of my life, all the exciting places I've lived or visited I realize that I was never really alone, yet somehow, my  voice was but a whisper to those closest to me. . . .

Three Hundred Miles




Angela Wright



 
© Copyright 2020 by Angela Wright



Photo by b a f o r e s t ↟ ↟ on Unsplash
                                                 Photo by b a f o r e s t ↟ ↟ on Unsplash

February, 1987

My brother drowned at Lizard Point in Cornwall during a raging gale. He was thirty. One wild February day, a passing stranger found him face down on a small beach. Paramedics carried his body up the steep path. He was laid out on a slab in a police mortuary, three hundred miles from home. His red Vauxhall Cavalier, a tank of a car, was spread in pieces on the rocks; in the water. . . .

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Extremes of Experience



Joyberl Abwao


 
© Copyright 2020 by Joy Berl Abwao



Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash
                            Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

My heart is a ghost town, with owls, ravens and jackals. Once beauty, now only serpentine. Its magnificent now in its place ophidian. Silhouettes of vampire ghosts. It is burning, but still covered in frost. A hounded heart, a ghost town. . . .

Chasing Fate







Christine Verdier





© Copyright 2020 by Christine Verdier



Photo by Yu Kato on Unsplash
                                   Photo by Yu Kato on Unsplash

My boyfriend and I had been dating for about a year and a half and as luck would have it he owned a yacht. We enjoyed many afternoon boat rides and since the boat was docked in Key West for a year, we spent lots of time exploring that wonderful town along with hanging out on the boat with friends, listening to music, watching sunsets and drinking wine. One evening he asked if I wanted to go to Fort Jefferson, in the Dry Tortugas on an overnight adventure and I immediately said yes. You think I would be more nervous considering I had zero First Mate experience and he would be needing my help with navigating, handling the lines and various other boat related tasks. . . .

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The Gift



Sheila Sandapen


 
© Copyright 2020 by Sheila Sandapen



Photo of a full moon (c) Richard Loller.

I did not live a childhood full of wonder and magical moments.  I was not encouraged to believe in fairies, elves or to even consider the very real nature of magic. My parents were too practical to entertain encouraging such notions in their house. Their days were filled with strife, work, and a general sense of discontent with their lot. . . .

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Heads Up



Kathleen Miller




 
© Copyright 2020 by Kathleen Miller



Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash
                        Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

This winter has been relatively mild so I give myself a goal in February: walk 5,000 steps every day. May not seem like a lot to some, but it is to me. There’s something wrong with my muscles, you see. But that’s a different story for a different day. This story is about money. . . .

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That Perpetual Plaid Dress







Iris Leona Marie Cross







 
© Copyright 2020 by Iris Leona Marie Cross



Photo of the plaid dress.

I begged my mother to get rid of the plaid dress she had had for years, and always wore. My pleas fell on deaf ears. She wore it to death (well, until her death) as if it were the only dress she owned. This narrative tells of my frustration at seeing her in that dress, day in day out. . . .

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My Favorite Drinking Place



Ian Rogers



 
© Copyright 2020 by Ian Rogers



Photo of Kufu back street.

Living abroad, one encounters more than a few challenges and surprises on a daily basis, and Japan is no exception. Social norms, particularly those involving drinking, differ greatly here, and some of what's acceptable on a night out in Japan would never fly back in America. It's not always easy to know how to handle a strange encounter, but when something unexpected happens, I try my best. . . .

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Frigid Fun In Fairbanks




Bethany Buckles


 
© Copyright 2020 by Bethany Buckles



 

Photo of Bethany at the outhouse.

I like to say that I wouldn’t mind traveling so much if I didn’t have to leave home. My hubby, on the other hand, loves adventure, traveling, and new places. Now that our son, Jacob, was living in Alaska he had the perfect excuse to plan a trip. “I booked tickets for Fairbanks,” my hubby broke the news to me over the phone. He knew I would be less than enthusiastic. . . .

Reflections on a Fallen Hero






Teddy K. Makarow



 
© Copyright 2020 by Teddy K. Makarow



Photo by History in HD on Unsplash
            Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

The first time I became aware of the young Junior Senator from Massachusetts, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, I was in a high school history class in a group discussing current events. . . .

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Revisionary Mythmaking in Amelia Lanier’s “Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women”




Natasha Rogers





 
© Copyright 2020 by Natasha Rogers



The Fall of Man by Hendrick Goltzius.

The silence of women reverberates through the tradition, distorting the shape of narrative and skewing the content of the law . . . if we refuse to recognize the painful truth about the extent of women’s invisibility, we can never move forward.”

Judith Plaskow 205 . . . .

The Open Wound: Borders and Liminal Space 

in Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness



Natasha Rogers

 
© Copyright 2020 by Natasha Rogers



Photo of paperback covers.

Removed from [a] culture’s center you glimpse the sea in which you’ve been immersed but to which you were oblivious, no longer seeing the world the way you were enculturated to see it.” - Gloria E. Anzaldua, qtd. in Keating 8. . . .

Tinders of Kindness



Sheridan West


 
© Copyright 2020 by Sheridan West



Sheridan's childhood home.
                       Sheridan's childhood home.

Each time when I am feeling unhappy and thinking life doesn’t treat me fairly, I remind myself of true miracles I have seen with my own eyes. I have hit rough patches several times on my way, but sometimes going through dark times showed me that there is a light of kindness in the world, and there are many people who make a difference to ones near them not being superheroes, simply by truly caring and showing it to them. . . .

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She Has Been Crying







KC Chan Haw



 
© Copyright 2020 by KC Chan Haw


 
Photo by Dmitry Bayer on Unsplash
                          Photo by Dmitry Bayer on Unsplash

Nuance of the human acts has arrived to a point where Mother Nature can only sit by and watch. Temperament so evocative and warm the climate has bring forth and relentless that drives us so mad. Have we not have had the heart to simmer down our thoughts to climate change. So apparent that each subject in all nations is restricted from stepping out of our homes. Once a home called a home but when during lockdown, we called it a doom, a boredom, a troubled mess we long not to stay any longer within. . . .

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Zion National Park  
A Day Trip to an Alien World



Josh Black
 
© Copyright 2020 by Josh Black




Photo of Zion Arch

A week before travelling to one my favorite destinations, New York City (primarily a business trip, taking an extra day or two to play tourist is almost always a given) a quick visit to spend time with family surfaced. Instead of the mundane sitting around the house, watching golf or lazing poolside a recent conversation about travel lead to an idea, flicking the switch in my head to explore someplace new, someplace away from urban life. . . .

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Black Army



Frank Lukupwa


 
© Copyright 2020 by Frank Lukupwa



Photo of hissing ants.

. . .What makes these black ants popular among many people is that they are extremely "hot tempered" and easily provoked. They are ready to bite with their mouths at the slightest provocation. However, mankind has learned to live side by side with wildlife and appreciate the fact that life is a platform for coexistence. . . .

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The Test of Love


Frank Lukupwa

 
© Copyright 2020 by Frank Lukupwa


Photo of a leapord.

There are many definitions of love in this world. Many view it as kind acts accompanied by feelings of friendliness towards others. But whatever we can say, love is easier said than practiced, especially if it has to be accompanied with some form of sacrifice. . . .
Battlefield



Winston C. Pagador

 
© Copyright 2020 by Winston C. Pagador


 

Drawing of Covid 17 virus.

Few days after the mandatory home quarantine was imposed, I found out that a friend died, not of the “virus” but of a previous illness she was long suffering. I forwarded the sad news to our common friend and he bluntly expressed his disappointment that she died at this time of uncertainty. As if death should have cautioned on the side of magnanimity. As if the time of death mattered more than the reverence of the dead. . . .

The Big C and Me - Part Two


Albert Vetere Lannon


 
© Copyright 2020 by Albert Vetere Lannon





National cancer survivor day sign.
It’s six months since I stopped treatment for multiple myeloma, an incurable bone plasma cancer that sucks the calcium out of my bones. It was diagnosed in June, 2017, when I sneezed and broke two ribs! I am now in Julian, California, while my amazing mate Kaitlin is getting our rural Arizona house ready for sale – if there is any market in this time of pandemic and panic. . . .

Taking Care of Daddy
 The Last Seven Months of His Battle With COPD

Cathy B. Bridges
 
© Copyright 2020 by Cathy B. Bridges


Photo of old man in hospital.

In December 2007, my dad's quality of life started going downhill rapidly. He had very unhealthy lungs, and his body was growing steadily tired from fighting to breathe. . . .

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What Feet Remember





Christin Nice-Webb



 
© Copyright 2020 by Christin Nice-Webb



Photo by svklimkin on Unsplash
Photo by svklimkin on Unsplash

The floor now under my feet is a deep red wood. Its rough smoothness reminds me of my dojo. Two years have come and gone since I left my first college’s Shotokan Karate Club, but it still feels wrong to cross such floors barefoot, without gi or belt, with no ceremony whatsoever. . . .

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The Timing





Maureen Moynihan




 
© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan



Photo of Maureen's daughter.
                  Photo by Jill Wellington on Unsplash

When and how do we have difficulty conversations with our children? Sharing my cancer diagnosis with my child was a painful necessity...is there a 'right way" to deliver bad news to kids? The answer is not simple, or existent at all. It just takes a lot courage. And a whole lot of love. . . .

The Unlucky Leprechaun





Maureen Moynihan




 
© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan





Photo of Maureen's daughter.
                 Photo by Jill Wellington on Unsplash
It seems that holidays have became a reflection of good parenting. Or worse, a symbolic gesture of a parent's love for a child. I wrote Unlucky Leprechaun to capture some of meaningless and unnecessary cultural pressures placed on parents today. . . .
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The Catcher in the Rye




Maureen Moynihan


 
© Copyright 2020 by Moynihan





Photo of Buster.


When breast cancer treatment stripped me of my identity, my rescue lab enabled me reconstruct my sense of pride and dignity. I wrote "Catcher" to give a voice to creatures that inspire us to move through the mud and reclaim our humanity. . . .

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The Incomplete Story




Gregg Heid

 
© Copyright 2020 by Gregg Heid


 

Back of a needlepoint work.

In my son TJ’s final two years of college he lived in a trailer with three roommates. Vicky, my wife, and I would visit occasionally. Above the cabinets stood their collection of beer cans and whisky bottles. We asked him about them. “We have poker parties here once a week,” he said. “Some of our Physics professors even come. Sure we drink but nothing bad.”. . .

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The Days That Are No More
 


Eva Bell
 
 

© Copyright 2020 by Eva Bell
 

 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
                              Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I must confess - I am a compulsive hoarder. It breaks my heart to get rid of books, papers or letters. I always feel that I might want to look through them again. Now our ancestral house which I have inherited, was up for sale. I was moving into a flat with no extra storage space. Boxes of accumulated junk belonging to various members of the family had to be thrown away In the time left at my disposal, sorting through them was impossible. But the carton marked “Mum” caught my attention. In it I unearthed a precious treasure which I might have inadvertently junked. . . .

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Hang Gliding, Wild Horses, and Solitary Confinement in the Outer Banks


Jaime Conlan

 
© Copyright 2020 by Jaime Conlan




Photo of horses on outer banks.

Crumbs of doughnut cascaded into my lap as I sped down the highway, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep and on hour twelve of driving on my spontaneous quest to see wild horses and make it back in time to take a Kitty Hawk flight lesson.

My New Years Plan, ever since turning 18, had simply been to leave, to get out of wherever I had been before. A loose definition that could mean leaving my house but usually meant leaving my state.  . . .

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For The Love Of Baseball


Paul Marion Fleetwood

© Copyright 2020 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


 

Photo of baseball equipment.


I want to tell my greatgrandkids about my love of BASEBALL and how it came to be.  It is a rather long story but I want them to know how I came to love the game and enjoy it all of my life.

At the time of starting this real life story I am 86 years old.  Still in good health and still loving the game even though my beloved St. Louis Cardinals just got beat out of the 2016 play-offs by one thin game. . . .

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Perfect Winter Day







June Calender

 

© Copyright 2020 by June Calender


Photo by Michael Chupik on Unsplash
Photo by Michael Chupik on Unsplash

Where: Cazenovia, NewYork, a small village 20+ miles east of Syracuse, 500 feet higher elevation, settled on shore of a lovely little lake about 3 miles long and 1 mile across. By the 1970s it had become a bedroom community for executives from Syracuse. The shores of the lake were entirely build up with expensive homes. After several years as one of the town’s pair of family doctors, we had purchased the Colgate Cottage—not really a cottage—built for a member of the family that endowed Colgate College when he married a Lincklaen daughter. . . .

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Disconnection Nervousness



James Pykonen




 
© Copyright 2020 by James Pykonen



Photo of the dig Fisher.

In March, 2014 my 10 year-old black Pug, Smokey Joe suffered an incurable illness, euthanasia was quick and painless. After leaving the veterinarian hospital home was where I did not want to be nothing but echoes of silence to greet a heavy heart so I aimlessly walk through late night crowds in a nearby department store, distraction is what I desired. . . .

Baby



Brianna Solis

 
© Copyright 2020 by Brianna Solis

 

Photo of a crowded store.

I was 7, and my sisters and I were at Macy's trying to “secretly buy” gifts for each other for Christmas. The problem for me was that I had to stay a distance away from my mom and my sister Paige. By the time we got out of the store, it was pitch black. I couldn’t bear to leave my mother and sister for even a millisecond. The thought of being alone in that store, a store that felt like a maze that I was never going to figure out. The store wasn’t just a store for me, it was my worst nightmare; a death trap. . . .

It's Just Bent




Patricia Kirby

 
© Copyright 2020 by Patricia Kirby


 

Photo of an arm cast.

We felt the anticipation, excitement, the pure joy of once again seeing our best friends the Knoll’s. The Knoll’s were that kind of family that every time you were about to see them you couldn't wait to be right next to them to share all your adventures with them. . . .

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Breeda


Michaela Brady


 
© Copyright 2020 by Michaela Brady



Photo of Breeda and Michaela.

This is by no means the whole story of my grandmother’s life; it is more of a swan song for the last time we were able to really bond, since she lived an ocean away from me and became quite sick soon after. I was only nine years old when the events of this piece took place, and even 13 years later, the implications of Breeda’s actions, words and feelings in this moment still reveal themselves in clearer, sharper light. She was and still is a tangible example of a lost childhood, a story many people in rural Ireland knew all too well, and how you are never too old to reclaim it. . . .

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Ama in Ghana



Nancy Graham Holm


 
© Copyright 2020 by Nancy Graham Holm



Photo by Michael Mims on Unsplash
Photo by Michael Mims on Unsplash

My four-year-old Danish daughter clutches her favorite book and calls me to read it to her while she falls asleep. We do this every night, even though American vowels and consonants still color my accent in the Danish language. Repetition, it so happens, has made a difference by softening the offending sounds and instilling forgiveness in this child’s heart. She knows the text by heart and gently corrects me when I make mistakes. . . .

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Intensive Care





S. Nadja Zajdman


 
© Copyright 2020 by S. Nadja Zajdman




                                  Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

He was born in Joliet, Quebec, early in 1926. He had an unremarkable childhood, and came of age listening to Rene Levesque’s Radio-Canada broadcasts from a newly liberated Europe. With a marked distaste for organized religion in a province dominated by the Catholic Church, his options were few. He chose to become a doctor. . . .

The Doll Lady of Wisconsin





S. Nadja Zajdman


 
© Copyright 2020 by S. Nadja Zajdman




                         Renata with her "Janka" doll. 1994

On the first anniversary of my mother’s passing, a letter was forwarded to me from the Holocaust Center. My mother had been prominent in Holocaust Education. A woman in Wisconsin was writing a book and looking for my mother to provide her with background information. The Center didn’t know what to do with the letter, so they forwarded it to me. Enclosed were photographs of my mother, taken in her home. . . .




In Between






Vitalina Vergeles



 
© Copyright 2020 by Vitalina Vergeles




Photo by Terence Burke on Unsplash
Photo by Terence Burke on Unsplash
Life in the army is full of challenges and obstacles. Serving your country but without a free and independent mind. Life and work in the air force are not easy. He was an Air Force pilot Capt. Karl Norris in Eugene. He had everything a man could dream: noble and rich parents, good education and a bright future. . . .

I'll Have What She's Having





Barbara Wentzell Jaquith



 
© Copyright 2020 by Barbara Wentzell Jaquith



Photo of a carved bear.

Winding up a steep incline and around sharp bends, the approach to Pine Grove Furnace State Park penetrates a dense pine forest. The Appalachian Trail bi-sects this Pennsylvania park and thru-hikers are everywhere in the early spring, getting an early start on their goal of reaching Mt Katahdin in Maine before the fall/winter weather sets in. The road is narrow and the visibility is limited, keeping my husband, Arnie acutely focused behind the wheel and me clutching the hand grip. We are pulling a thirty-three foot trailer behind the truck on an impossibly narrow back road. . . .

Lessons From A Saint





Kelly Alblinger



 
© Copyright 2020 by Kelly Alblinger



Photo of Fil.

When I began writing this piece I intended to describe the relief of finally laying down an emotional burden, but something else began to emerge as I typed. Letting go of my preconceived ideas allowed a greater truth to surface, and the life lesson that resulted was a beautiful surprise. . . .

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Hairetical: A History of Hair
in my Sikh Family



Diya Sabharwal


 
© Copyright 2020 by Diya Sabharwal




Photo of a woman with short hair.

Having been raised in a devout Sikh household, I am, unquestionably, an expert in avoiding hairy situations. 

In my religion, hair is a sacred object, and it is seen as a sin, practically  hair-etical, to cut one’s hair. Accordingly, all the adults on my mother’s side of the family have unshorn hair. . . .

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What's In A Name?.





Albert Vetere Lannon, aka---





 
© Copyright 2020 by Albert Vetere Lannon





Alberto, Adelbert,
ألبرت,
Alberik,
Alpertii,
Альберт, Albertino,
Ales,
אַלבערט
Aliberto, Αλβέρτος,
Alberte,

ア ルバート
,
Альберт, Æthelberht,            
อัลเบิร์ต
,
Aalbert,

阿尔伯特,
Ailbhe, 
Albertus, etc.



My name is Albert Vetere Lannon; the name on my birth certificate is Albert Francis Lannon, Jr. But is that name traceable in any genealogy survey? Probably not. . . .

Bastille Day



Joelle Ballonzoli


 
© Copyright 2020 by Joelle Ballonzoli



Photo by Joe deSousa on Unsplash


Bastille Day” is one of a series of short stories, each standing by itself, which focus on the importance placed on the communal nature of life in France in the 1950’s. The series is based on my childhood memories in La Ciotat, a shipyard town of what was then the blue collar portion of the French Mediterranean coast. . . .

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Just Call Me Milagro



Nancye F. Rivera




 
© Copyright 2020 by Nancye F. Rivera


Photo by Jan Kaluza on Unsplash
Photo by Jan Kaluza on Unsplash

I'm going to live to 103," I prophesied as a six-year-old. Now at 65, I’ve added “a strong life” to the mix so I can finish well. Actually, it is a miracle that I am alive, and I often joke that I should change my name to Milagro, which means miracle in Spanish. . . .
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The One That Got Away: A True Love Story





Dixie Jade





 
© Copyright 2020 by Dixie Jade



Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash
                               Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

Every time I fell in love I realized that I never knew what love was. Everything I thought I knew, all the things I thought I felt, it all seemed meaningless once I found true love. What they don't tell you in the storybooks is that love is double-edged sword-- sometimes love is walking away. Before it kills you. . . .

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The Helping Field



Facerlyn Wheeler


 
© Copyright 2020 by Facerlyn Wheeler



Photo of Meharry Medical College.

I took my first job working with people right around age 20. I was terrified when someone suggested it to me, as the job would be helping individuals with physical and mental challenges. The first company I worked for the disabilities were severe and there was a lot of physical agility involved. Though I grew to love helping others, I did not enjoy the physical strain it was putting on my body often taking individuals from wheelchair to chair and then from wheelchair to and from bed. . . .

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Gun in a Straw Stack



Lew Goddard

Edited by Anne Goddard

 
© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard



Photo of a lugar cap pistol.

. . .In one of three stores on Main Street he had noted a particular and exceptional cap gun. He believed it was fashioned after the Luger that he had heard about that was used by the enemy in the Second World War. The whole country had been ecstatic earlier this year that fighting in far off places had come to an end. Instead of hearing how many more soldiers were killed that day or week, they were coming home in person. . . .

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How To Go From Identity Crisis
to Identity Creation




Kathy G. Lynch


 
© Copyright 2020 by Kathy G. Lynch

Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash
                     Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash

. . .When I was in my twenties, I experienced what could be called an identity crisis. I was working as a waitress when I wanted to be a horse trainer. And I got so tired I didn’t have the energy to ride my horses. . . .

A Musician's Journey





Eric Sykes


 
© Copyright 2020 by Eric Sykes



Photo of Eric.

I grew up a product of divorce from the age of six. I suffered from chemical depression, which was properly diagnosed much later in my life. Somewhere in those early years, I discovered music. It must have started with soundtracks to the movies Grease and Saturday Night Fever, not to mention the car radio which was harboring contemporary artists like the Eagles, Jimmy Buffet, disco tunes, and significant one-hit wonders of the '70s. . . .

Things Will Always Get Better



Serinah Kingsley


 
© Copyright 2020 by Serinah Kingsley



Photo by Slawek K on Unsplash
                                        Photo by Slawek K on Unsplash

Ever since I was younger there were always high expectations of me, I was to be the “good child” or the “successful one”. Even my older brothers agreed with this sentiment and when I was younger I never really questioned it, simply believing all I had to do was continue to behave but as I grew older and life went on I soon came to realize that being the “successful one” wasn’t as simple as it seemed. Life wasn’t as simple as it seemed. . . .

A Walk A Day Keeps The Doctor Away






Ila Das




 
© Copyright 2020 by Ila Das



Photo by Jake Ingle on Unsplash.
                           Photo by Jake Ingle on Unsplash

With an impressive weight of 70 kilograms stacked in a frame of 5 feet height, my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) does not speak of an attractive figure. By figure I mean both, the physical and the numerical status. It puts me in the frustrating obese category, a category which everyone hates to be in. In this age of fitness freaks, what am I doing? Having a sweet tooth does kill all my dietary restrictions. . . .

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B+ve



Ila Das


 
© Copyright 2020 by Ila Das



Photo by Slawek K on Unsplash
                                            Photo by Slawek K on Unsplash

B+ve…no, it’s not the blood group; it’s the bloody thought of ‘BEING POSITIVE.

I could sense the note of panic in my son’s voice, changing from querulous to scepticism to dismay to ‘i-am-a loser’ kind of a feeling, when he called up to say that his company, which recently merged with another heavyweight multinational company, is about to bring out the second layoff list. He considered himself among the lucky few to have evaded the disaster in the first list; but luck is an uncertain element of one’s life and certainly cannot be relied upon. . . .

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This Ol' Town



Lew Goddard

Edited by Anne Goddard

 
© Copyright 2020 by Lew Goddard



Photo of an ax in a log.

Things used to be SO simple!

The creation of this story commenced when I left THIS OL’ TOWN. That’s sixty-five years ago. . . .

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Safe Harbour: The Story of Janek Bartczak and his Brave Heart





S. Nadja Zajdman


 
© Copyright 2020 by S. Nadja Zajdman




Renata interviews her wartime rescuer Janek Bartczak in Phoenix, Arizona, April 1997.

Into the 1990s my mother Renata became increasingly active in Holocaust Education. She trained as a docent at Montreal’s Holocaust Center. She worked as an interviewer and researcher with McGill University’s oral history project Living Testimonies, which was a precursor to film director Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation. She attended international conferences. She lectured to students in schools and on group tours, both at home and abroad. She reunited long-lost relatives and rescued the lost identities of hidden children. Mum became a wounded healer transforming lives. . . .

The 67 Debacle



James Pykonen




 
© Copyright 2020 by James Pykonen



James sitting on a giant head sculpture.

In 1999, I enrolled in a two year business course with on of the classes on Economics which I knew nor understood little.  However, I thought the course would be easier than it turned out to be.  The following story is about the journey I took over a course of 10 weeks, the struggle to comprehend the subject and matter and how help arrived on time from an unexpected source. . . .

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Summertime




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. . . .

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Life in the Rearview Mirror


Robert Dustman

 
© Copyright 2020 by Robert Dustman



Photo of the author.

At this stage of my life, 74, I find myself introspectively and reflexively looking back at the landscape of my life, especially some of the decisions I made as a young man, some of which were good, others not so good and some downright terrible. . . .

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. . . .
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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. . . .

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Stalag 38319--Covid-19 Avoidance 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. . . .
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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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! . . .

Unforgiven



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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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.” . . .

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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. . . .

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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 Ocasio


 
© Copyright 2020 by Nastassja Ocasio



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. . . .

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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’. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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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. . . .

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