Category: Friends

Based in Batignolles 2: One Thing After Another

Posted May 10th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 2: One Thing After Another

Gounod’s Faust was the first opera I ever saw, and I saw it at Palais Charles Garnier in Paris in March 1970. As we ascended the massive stair forty-eight years later, studied Marc Chagall’s rainbow of a ceiling and gazed out over the loggia outside the ornate Grand Foyer, it all came back. I was…

Christmas Letter 2016

Posted December 13th, 2016
Christmas Letter 2016

Dearest all, I made the pilgrimage on my own, from our moorage on the Danube in Passau, Germany, up the Wallfahrtsstiege, the 321 steps to the Mariahilf.  I counted off the Stations of the Cross and contemplated the gifts people had left, pleas for help and expressions of gratitude. No one else was there, no…

I-35: Des Moines

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Des Moines

There were dropped jaws and more polite phrasings like, “What has persuaded you to make this move?” when I told people that I was moving to Iowa, in 1985 for a job as curator of education at the Des Moines Art Center. “Big careers are made in smaller museums,” I often answered. But the truth…

The Mouth That Would Be President: Endgame

Posted July 5th, 2016
The Mouth That Would Be President: Endgame

It is July and Cleveland is battening down the hatches in anticipation of Tornado Trump. The Drumpf has been sitting pretty as “presumptive nominee” since early May and Ted Cruz’s disappearance after the Indiana primary. Hillary could not rest easy, as it were, until just about a month later when she collected the delegates in…

Beautiful Blue Danube 6: A Viking Cruise

Posted June 9th, 2016
Beautiful Blue Danube 6: A Viking Cruise

As we approached Vienna, the sun shone steadily and the Danube momentarily reflected blue. We passed through another lock, dropping to match the water level to the east, watching as massive gates swung toward us, a vertical opening that widened and widened, a sort of concrete-and-steel proscenium curtain. As the Atla moved forward a light…

That Is Such Sad News

Posted August 22nd, 2015
That Is Such Sad News

A Facebook friend inquires, “Is death always sad?” The comment followed former president Jimmy Carter’s announcement that he has terminal cancer. A number of people from NPR’s Diane Rehm to ordinary friends have found the news “sad.” My FBF continued: “Although I greatly admire Carter, I disagree. Of course, I don’t want him (or anyone)…

Šeima Means Family 2: The Determination of Memory

Posted April 30th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 2: The Determination of Memory

Most of us choose what to remember. We cherish feelings illuminated through rose-colored glasses and forget the uncomfortable; sometimes we nurse the grievances and grudges that give us our sense of self. In any case, the content and color of the past, the limning of our history is largely up to us. In Lithuania, memory…

Šeima Means Family 1: The Family We Choose

Posted April 25th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 1: The Family We Choose

We reached out to Audrius about fifteen years ago as we jumped into the quagmire that is the genealogy of Lithuanian immigrants to the United States. He shares a surname with my Dear One and a rather random Internet search turned him up in Kaunas. We grasped at that straw; it was an article of…

In Flanders’ Cities 4: Antwerp

Posted April 18th, 2015
In Flanders’ Cities 4: Antwerp

I was here in the summer of 1970, an eighteen-year-old hitchhiking around Europe after a year on an English-Speaking Union scholarship at Princess Helena College in Hertfordshire, England. My traveling companion, Sue, was a school pal of a school pal, and we joined forces on this adventure—and an adventure it was. But I remember nearly…

The Christmas Letter – 2014

Posted December 13th, 2014
The Christmas Letter - 2014

Mercy me—is the year almost ended? 2014 gave us adventure, romance, challenges and sorrow. Suspended as I am among so many feelings, none has gravity sufficient to pull me close. What consumes me now are the tasks ahead from collecting the turkey from Rumbleway Farm where our bird spent the best part of a year…