Tomorrow my grandma is buying my daughter Katherine a new computer. She won’t be skimping either. That’s not her way. Grandma always had a nose for quality, in solid wood furniture, in warm winter coats and, especially, in people. A housecoat-wearing, tea-sipping, force of nature who welcomed family and banished dust with equal passion, Grandma […]
Category Archives: Family Stories
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My elegant grandmother made shopping an occasion. She loved to dress up and head downtown to browse the big department stores like McAlpin’s or Pogue’s, where she’d cap off a rigorous round of selecting, modeling and purchasing outfits, with a trip to the ice cream bridge, an architectural wonder suspended over the second floor of […]
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Because she’s very busy living it, my sister Jenny rarely spends any time reflecting on how cool her life is. Fortunately, she has me to remind her. For instance, when she called to ask what she should bring to a little family gathering at our cabin this weekend, I asked her to bring the Emmy […]
All pictures tell a story. This one tells three. See the devoted Grandma Mary Jane, lover of life, family and Broadway shows. She made her way, as a matter of course, from an assisted living center in Illinois to a high school in Appleton. She’d been making annual trips to North High School for the […]
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I’m spot treating my mud-splashed pants while simultaneously doing deep squats in my laundry room, and I’m doing both to ward off the effects of an emergency Paczki run. Frankly, I’m a little cranky. Let me explain. I’m the granddaughter of a proudly Polish man. I know my way around a pieroghi. Halubki? I can […]
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Before podcasts and streaming video; before cable television, DVDs, and VCRs; even before movie theatres and home TVs, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus brought magic to cities and towns all over the country. They rode on rails of excitement, and taught us how to dream. Guys like Emmett Kelly painted characters like […]
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Tomorrow we’ll celebrate our 30th anniversary. I don’t know where all those years have gone, but I am pretty sure my husband Vince will find them for me. He has been collecting my lost things since we met in 1985, in the basement of Marquette’s Johnston Hall. He has retrieved remote controls I’ve made into […]
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We are T-minus 24 hours from the big day and, we’re not going to lie, we’re struggling here at Christmas central. Complete anarchy erupted in a baker’s box, and now we have a half dozen gingerbread men in a less than dignified state of undress, with clumps of parchment paper stuck to their limbs and […]
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Did you ever get a gift so incredible it left you both thrilled that you received it, and terrified you would wreck it? I did. The hand-lettered box with a Colver, PA return address label showed up unexpectedly on my desk last week. It smelled a little funky as I opened it and I wondered […]
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In a quiet corner of a busy nursing home, a young girl pulls a bow across a century old instrument and earnestly offers the twin gifts of music and memories. Her audience, an 87-year old birthday boy, grins widely and follows the notes back to a bustling house on Broad Street in Menasha where the […]