Read it and Weep, or What Have We Wrought?

“The Overprotected Kid: A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer…”  (The Atlantic, April 2014) The gap between what people fear (abduction by a stranger) and what’s actually happening (family turmoil and custody battles) is revealing. What has changed since the 1970s is the nature of the AmericanContinue reading “Read it and Weep, or What Have We Wrought?”

Elemental: Water

As far as this blog goes, I’ve written about the swimming pool, that staple of summer life, here and here and here and here. In Eggs for Young America, my collection of stories, life required (among other things) fraught swimming-tests for twelve-year-old girls (“Deadman’s Float”), pilgrimages to Lake Michigan (“Grand Portage”), and nests of water moccasins encounteredContinue reading “Elemental: Water”

The Recital (Part One)

I started this blog six years ago, when Elder Girleen went off to elementary school. Last night, she “graduated” from fifth grade. I could attempt to wax eloquent about the passage of time, because that’s what we parents do, but to paraphrase Benny, a character in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad — nostalgia isContinue reading “The Recital (Part One)”

Things, Pressed into Service

If you classify yourself as a “reader” in the simplest sense of the word (ie, one who reads), and probably even if you don’t, sooner or later it happens — you find yourself on the tour of the House of the Famous Writer.  More specifically, you find yourself peering over a velvet rope into aContinue reading “Things, Pressed into Service”

Treading Water: or, The Deep End

This is it, then.  The lovely nutmeat of the summer.  The musty smell of tomatoes pulled from the vine; the scent of sun-baked dirt before the afternoon’s rain storm.  Sweat that teases the hair at the nape of Elder Girleen’s neck into tendrils; the beautiful, enveloping ache of refrigerated air when we finally get theContinue reading “Treading Water: or, The Deep End”

The End of the World as We Know It?

So… Elder Girleen’s elementary school is holding a Walk to School Day next month. Because… Well, you know.  Kids don’t.  Walk to school. We don’t.  Our excuse:  we live 2.14 miles from school, and there’s no bus (another story).  I tell myself that if we lived only a tenth of a mile  from school, we would,Continue reading “The End of the World as We Know It?”

The Future

So yesterday I was at Elder Girleen’s second-grade classroom for the monthly birthday commemoration, which consisted of a cheer and a song for the three kids with January birthdays.*   On the surface, that was all that was taking place.  But because I just spent almost two weeks away from the usual routines of my life,**Continue reading “The Future”