The Deep End of the Deep South: The Help
I know a Good Story / May 25, 2017

  I was 25 when I married and moved from the plains to Mississippi. It was like diving in the deep end of Southern Culture.  I traded wide, far, horizons for close, verdant landscapes; dry heat for humidity; corn for okra.  I also fell headlong, into beliefs and traditions that weren’t my own. For example, one of my first neighbors was a kind old lady, who continually delighted and frustrated me. She insisted on calling me Mrs. Golden but demanded I only use her first name. And, even though she knew more about the place where we lived, she deferred to me in every question. Now I had been raised to recognize the authority of older, more-experienced, ladies, especially when using their names, but my neighbor’s education was different.  She had been taught skin color establishes who is in charge I was fair while she was dark.  Because we’d been taught differently, my neighbor and I spent most of our afternoons trying to outdo each other in courtesy. It’s sad but our mutual efforts to show each other respect became one more wall that kept us apart. My memories of those sweltering afternoons of frustration all came flooding back when I…

Name It and Claim It: Summer Sisters
I know a Good Story / May 23, 2017

If you went to camp as a kid, did you wonder what the counselors did in the evenings? Speaking for myself, that’s when I learned to play Name it and Claim It. Are you familiar with the game? One person sings a few lines from a song, and if you can either join in singing or identify who made the song famous, you win. Sort of. See, knowing the song was usually a sign of how old you were and, although most of the staff were all still in college, advanced age wasn’t an honor we were all that anxious to grab. I haven’t played the game in years. Yet, Name It and Claim It was the first thing that came to mind as I read Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters: A Novel.  In so many ways, it’s a Gen-Xer’s version of We Didn’t Start the Fire. In a way, this is entirely appropriate, since Judy Blume was the writer for many Gen-X women at an early point in their lives. Her Middle Grade and Young Adult stories steered many of them through the horrible, hormonal adolescent years until they grounded safely into adulthood.  That’s no small task, and many grown women remember Blume because of the…

Traveling Hopefully
One of My Stories / May 9, 2017

When we were young, And Broke, And starting out in life together, Nothing was more fun than a drive.Over the roads and around the curves we’d go,Grinning like fools, Shouting with laughter, Harmonizing with the radio.Our future, always just over the next horizonThat we sped to on paid-with-pennies gasI didn’t care how poor we were then.I knew great things were headed our way. Well, we didn’t get famous, or start rolling in gelt, But we’ve taken a few bows in our time, And tripped some fantastic lights. Those moments were fine, though not all I expected, And usually not worth the fuss that came with them.I’m happier back in the car. Belted into the shotgun seat, One foot propped on the edge of the dash. Drumming on my thigh to the rhythm of a song That left the charts decades ago. As gray-haired, we still speed down the road, around the corners, and over the hills. Rolling toward an unknown future.Traveling hopefully.