Sunday, September 4, 2011

STAYING ALIVE: A LOVE STORY available in print and ebook

I am happy to announce the availabilty of my memoir. Click here to read Chapters one and twoThe ebook is  available on  Amazon for Kindles  and at b& for Nook readers.  The paperback can be order later this month..

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Old Glories

Article first published by Laura as Old Glories on

I woke up to a heavy thunderstorm this Memorial Day. The morning news reported a few parades throughout the state had already been cancelled; festivities rerouted to school gymnasiums instead. I figured there’d be no fanfare at the end of my street this holiday.

Distant drumbeats surprised me at ten, echoes as light as the ebbing rain. Since I wasn’t expecting a parade, I wasn’t dressed for a parade. The rat-a-tat-tats grew more distinct as I quickly changed into sneakers, jeans, and a floppy hat to combat a drop or two - which, by then, mostly fell from wet trees. The rain had just about stopped. Skies were getting brighter.

I could see a cluster of parade watchers at the end of my dead end (signed “no outlet” these days). I walked passed my neighbors’ small homes, houses built before the Spanish-American War. The group nodded silent greetings when I reached the corner. One took on the role of designated candy-catcher as the high school marching band blared its fight song before us.

Men and women in uniform passed by, vets in full dress and enlistees in camouflage. A Daisy Girl Scout with an expression as bright as her sky blue tunic came up to me, handed me a silly band in the shape of an unidentifiable animal. Then a Boy Scout in khakis veered from his formation to hand me a flag. A full 10X15 inch Old Glory.

“No thank you,” I said. “I don’t need one.” I already had a flag hanging from my side porch. Drilled the holder in myself, yesterday. Recently, I have felt greater pride in being an American.

But the boy in uniform didn’t know about my flag at home. He looked at me puzzled. Don’t need one? he must have been thinking.Before he could march out another stanza I accepted the banner. I waved it toward him. He looked pleased.

The handful of us at the corner walked home together,after the parade. “You missed half of it,” one said to me.

“No, I saw half of it!” I replied. His wife laughed.

“What am I going to do with this?” He half-heartedly waved the flag he had been handed.

“I’m bringing mine to the cemetery. My father was a veteran,” I said. He looked interested, so I continued. “World War II. My father-in-law too.” My neighbor paused. I was the widow on the street. He didn’t expect me to speak of an in-law.

“My Dad was a telegraph operator in Alaska. Even broke a few codes. And Gramps flew a PBY over Panama. The plane’s engraved on his tombstone“

“Then take this, ” He handed me his banner.

“No. You keep it.I have this," I replied,lifting my flag.

“Put one on your father-in-law’s grave too. Please.”

I took his flag and saluted.“I’d be happy too.”

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Oprah Goes Full Circle

Article first published as Oprah Goes Full Circle on Technorati.

Yesterday at 4 PM my Facebook post read:

Shhhhh. Oprah is saying goodbye.

I had plunked myself directly in front of my TV (unusual for late afternoon). Generally I’d watch in the kitchen as I’d start to prepare dinner.

I’ve never been an Oprah fanatic. Occasionally I’ve been a fan. Those occasions were more regular during her book club days as I watched her turn classics like Elie Wiesel’s Night and sleepers like Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone into immediate bestsellers. I use to like when at least half a show a month was devoted to a televised dinner party and discussion of the book.

That’s probably why I also skipped dinner prep last Monday and Tuesday to sit and watch her one-on-one with James Frey. The two-part interview brought closure to her more volatile interview with him five years earlier.

On that past show Oprah pretty much duped Frey into admitting he had grievously lied about his drug addiction and recovery in his memoir A Million Little Pieces, an Oprah book pick. He had taken the bit of stretch literary license grants memoirists to the proportions of an elastic band extended round the world. A few hours spent in jail had been turned into 87 days. That, of course, negated much of what happened during the alleged three month incarceration.Frey left the show feeling ambushed and degraded, snapped in the face by his overextended stretcher,

The Oprah and Frey redux, last week, had my full attention as I watched two cultural icons revisit the past and surprisingly make amends. Yes, he had misrepresented, but so had Oprah’s producers when they originally invited him in ‘06. He was expecting to participate in a panel on truth in nonfiction. Oprah maintains she was unaware of this. He got a public execution. Oprah was aware of that. So she called him afterward, concerned the humiliating experience might have led him back to his addiction. I didn't know that until the reunion show.

There were a number of acts of contrition on this broadcast during her final week on network TV. In the end it was all about forgiveness. An Oprah hallmark.

I admit to getting caught up in Oprah's farewell hoopla this week – star-studded accolades, heartfelt gratefulness, and dramatic reminders of Oprah’s philanthropy. But I think Oprah’s return to Frey last week showed me the full circle of her brand - the ultimate act of forgiving.

And so, when I posted Shhhhh, Oprah is saying goodbye, I wrote it with the same respect Reverend Sykes feels in To Kill a Mockingbird when he tells Scout to stand as Atticus crosses the empty courtroom floor . Like Atticus, our Oprah is passing.

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