I don't know why but all day I've been thinking about Jane. Two memories collide -- the pungent, overpowering body odor wafting down the hallway that announced her arrival minutes before she appeared in my office and the matter of fact way she cinched up the tablecloth she would often wear as a skirt as she began to expound on some critical southside neighborhood issue. When she came to Resident Council meetings at the antipoverty agency where I worked, the other members would scoot down…Continue
Eleven years ago, the house we owned in Grand Marais, Michigan, caught fire and blew up. It was the dead of winter, in the middle of a terrific storm, at the end of a day when the power had gone off and on a dozen times. Deciding we'd better hightail it, we'd cut short our skiing trip and headed for Milwaukee, where six hours later, I listened to the phone message from a neighbor telling me, "I'm watching your house burn down."
And did it burn. Fueled by high winds coming off Lake…Continue
I was in the parking lot of a youth center where I’d just finished an evaluation meeting when my cell phone rang. My former boss, who probably hadn’t called me on the phone in ten years, tracked me down to tell me that my old boyfriend had died. He had committed suicide. He had shot himself in the head while sitting on the curb in front of his apartment. Twenty-five years had passed between the suicide attempt he made while we were dating and the shot that ended his life.
I went to…Continue
At six o’clock she turned down the stove, picked up the receiver of the yellow phone on the kitchen wall and dialed the number of the place her son was living.
She could hear the guy at the desk yell down the hall, telling her son that his mother was on the phone. “Come and talk to your mother. Tell her about your day.”
Long minutes passed. She listened to papers rustling and the distant voices of other boys. Every night she came to the point of deciding to hang up and call…Continue