Archive • Columns 2019

December 24, 2019
The Christmas Sleds
The package, wrapped in brown paper, was small enough to fit in the narrow mailbox, leaving enough room for a few letters to be tucked in on the side. When I pulled the box out and looked at the address noticed it was from my Aunt Ruth.  She was a teacher, guiding the penmanship of her young students ...Continue Reading

November 26, 2019
Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol was published on 19 December 1843.  The first edition sold out and by the end of 1844 thirteen editions had been released.  It would probably be impossible to calculate the number of copies of the novella that have been published since 1844 ...Continue Reading

November 12, 2019
The Approaching Feast
There are still pumpkins around and bouquets of fall mums. Glorious in the gentle colors of autumn. The ghosts have disappeared. They disappear at the stroke of midnight on St. Hallows Eve. Staying out of sight until Halloween next year. ...Continue Reading

October 12, 2019
Ghosts and Goblins
Ghosts and goblins have been reigning in my neighborhood for the past two weeks. Witches perched on the edge of windowsills, spider webs stretched across the gates in front of brownstones and pumpkins galore.  Walking up and down the blocks between the avenues one has a sense ...Continue Reading

October 10, 2019
A Harvest Dinner: Red Flannel Hash, Apple and Pumpkin Pie
As a young child I was fortunate to be able to spend hours with my “Grammie” and “Grampa” Howard.   It was Grammie Howard who had the patience to teach me how to sew and let me spend afternoons with her at the library, where she worked a few days during the week ...Continue Reading

October 05, 2019
Ordinary Kindness
Last week Pico Iyer, a British-born American essayist and novelist living in Japan, published an essay in the New York Times entitled: “The Beauty of the Ordinary.” The image next to the text is a single red Japanese maple leaf floating on a yellow background ...Continue Reading

September 24, 2019
Pumpkins are perfect for the season
Last weekend the temperature dropped, and I found myself wearing a wool jacket and boots. Returning home at the end of the evening I stuck my hands in the pockets for warmth, disappointed I hadn’t tucked in a pair of leather gloves ...Continue Reading

August 29, 2019
Old Home Days
The torrential rains and accompanying thunder and spectacular lightning showers over the last few weeks have been like operas. Scene changes.  Drama. The rap-tap-tap of the rain drops on the roof, the swoosh of the water pouring down through the drainpipe along the edge of the windows ...Continue Reading

August 24, 2019
End of the Summer Ice Cream Cone …
Last weekend in anticipation of Labor Day I longed for an ice cream cone. One scoop.  Plain cone.  Arriving at the Happy Cow, just as the sun was setting, a gaggle of smiling people of all ages and sizes engaged in lively conversation extended down Union Avenue. ...Continue Reading

August 03, 2019
Channeling Mark Twain
Much is being written and reported about the importance of occasionally unplugging and going off-line. Our cognitive abilities, thinking and reasoning, are enhanced when we are not distracted by a constant stream of noise and information ...Continue Reading

July 05, 2019
One Small Step
Where were you on 20 July 1969, fifty years ago, the day Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon? While I can’t remember the moon walk in any detail, I can vividly recall watching Alan Shepard, from Derry, New Hampshire, being sent into space in Freedom Seven.  My mother gathered us ...Continue Reading

June 30, 2019
The Season of Black-Eyed Susan’s and Blueberry Pie
On the morning of the Fourth of July, I received a text from a friend and neighbor in New York. “Happy 4th to you.  Believe it or not I have just read the entire Declaration of Independence, probably for the first time in my life.” ...Continue Reading

June 15, 2019
The Art of Letter Writing
“(for I have always found it difficult to throw a letter away, however insignificant) …”  writes Mark Girouard, a British architectural historian, preservationist and author, in the introduction to his book Friendships (Wilmington Square Books, 2017, London). The book is a collection of thirty ...Continue Reading

May 23, 2019
A quiet place
In an attempt to disconnect from the ever-present iPhone, I have recently been leaving the device behind.  It isn’t ever in my pocket when I go to Yoga or for long walks on Randall’s Island, and at times when I don’t want to be distracted (by the present) ...Continue Reading

May 15, 2019
Birding on Star Island
Literature seduced me into the avian world.  Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk, led to T.H. White’s The Goshawk. Then J.A. Baker’s The Peregrine. Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds is on my reading list for this summer. We observed birds as a family when we were growing up and there ...Continue Reading

May 04, 2019
On the cusp of summer
On Memorial Day weekend I am often reminded of the aria composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by DuBose Heyward, for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess ...Continue Reading

April 15, 2019
The Warblers
It’s difficult to imagine living in an environment that doesn’t have a cycle of seasons.  The sense of a beginning and the sense of an ending.  The quartet: spring, summer, autumn and winter. ...Continue Reading

April 04, 2019
Daffodils and Crocuses
Last week, with spring clearly in the air, I bought two large bunches of daffodils and several branches with buds ready to bloom.  It took a day for the daffodils to open and they filled every room in the house with color.  The buds on the branches were much slower to bloom and the brown branches ...Continue Reading

March 15, 2019
A Woman of Style
Style isn’t something one can study.  When a woman has style, it isn’t necessarily about the clothes she wears, the model of the car she drives, or even where she resides. Style has to do with the way she carries herself and interacts with others, attributes acquired as we mature and progress...Continue Reading

March 07, 2019
Celebrating Fat Tuesday
We often forget to celebrate the glorious diversity of America. Through literature, the visual arts (movies, paintings, sculpture) and dance we learn about the customs, traditions and even the culinary varieties shaped by the people who settled here and were then influenced by the climate, the...Continue Reading

February 19, 2019
The Geranium
Last weekend I was caring for my two geraniums on the windowsill, adding a little plant food to the soil and carefully examining the foliage. Hoping one of the plants will bloom in the next few weeks. This is the time of the year when we care for our houseplants, longing for the real planting season...Continue Reading

February 05, 2019
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue …
As we struggled to move about through the frigid air last week, probably caused by the polar vortex sending cold air from the North Pole, I dressed in layers (layers and layers) in an attempt to fortify myself against the chill. Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” kept going through my mind...Continue Reading

January 21, 2019
Remembering Jonathan Daniels
Last Sunday, the day before we celebrated and remembered the work and legacy of Martin Luther King, I attended the Adult Forum lecture at Grace Church where Dr. Nicholas Birns discussed an article entitled “Nonviolence and Racial Justice” published by Dr. King in Christian Century a liberal ...Continue Reading