I love gardenias.  Or as my grandfather called them, “gah-deen-yas”.  Grandpa had a peculiar accent formed on the streets of lower Manhattan in the early 1900’s.  It was a different sort of “city accent” which often provided amusement to me and my sister when he pronounced certain words.  Some of these words are now embedded in our family speech, and we pronounce them the way he did.  Gardenia is one of those words....more

Don't Fence Me In

I wept the day our next door neighbors fenced in their backyard. I hid behind our dining room drapes so they couldn’t see me from their patio where they watched the work crew toss rolls of chain link from a pick-up truck bed to their mowed twice weekly grass.            “You lied,” I said softly, “when you promised the green spaces outside our homes would always be wide open, when  you told me the story of how years ago everyone on the street swore they’d never put up fences....more

Gracie's Secret

I’m pretty sure Gracie had an idea what was going on inside our house. I say that because she came from a messed up family too. Members of dysfunctional families can often sniff each other out.                  I always felt something wasn’t right in Gracie’s past. Why didn’t she ever talk about her family or her childhood? One day I asked Mom what she knew.            “Mac and Gracie never had kids, right?...more

My Life Story in Music

This was originally published in the Valley Voices section of the Fresno Bee on October 20, 2001. It was written several years before that. It seems like a lifetime ago that these dark sounds could have resonated with me so powerfully. Today, I am such an upbeat, cheerful person. However, it is a much requested piece of writing among friends and family, so I am sharing it again....more

Remembering Grace

Who knows when and where Gracie went to the bathroom? Not me. She never once held up her finger and said, “Excuse me while I use the little girls’ room.” I was afraid to ask if she and Mac even had one so whenever I had to go, I’d say, “I think I hear Mom calling. I better see what she wants. Be right back.”...more

Saving Grace

Grace was in my life before I was. My folks and three brothers moved into the compact, brick house next to her and Mac’s sprawling white one with dark green shutters while I was still in my mom’s belly. The day I was born, Grace asked Mac to drive her to the hospital so she could meet me. She brought me tiny pink booties and a hat she’d knitted....more

Chapter 6: The Windup Girl

4:30 in the morning and I’ve yet to fall asleep.  The digital clock next to my bed, with its glowing red numbers, mocks me as a I will my brain to shut down and, for the love of god, just let me fucking sleep!  I’ve tried everything, but the pills and the meditation tapes and the classical music… none of it’s working.  My brain just will not stop running....more
@4kidsmom Thank you.  I wrote this as part of a memoir that I've been working on.  This actually ...more

Chapter 4: Home

Dragging her feet as she moved down the hill, the clockmaker’s daughter slowly worked her way home after a long day at school, her feet leaden, each step taking more effort than the last.  The sun shone bright above her head, not a cloud in the sky, she focused her gaze on the ground as she shifted the weight of her heavy backpack from one shoulder to the other.  Her back ached from the sheer volume of books that she carried on her 5 mile trek each day, to and from school....more