My Mother, the Gardener

Photos, Giverny and Amsterdam, by author, May 2018. My mother's garden at my parents' "terminal house" (a term coined by a couple who, like Mom and Dad, had called many places home) was plowed under and sodded over by the decidedly off-Cape people who bought the Brewster, MA place after Dad died unexpectedly.  Losing him…

American Values

King George said of the American colonists: “...everyone who disagrees with me is a traitor...”   Today, we celebrate the declaration that our government power lies with the people, not one individual, be it a King .... ... or a Fuhrer.... ...or a president.....         ...and that we are guaranteed the freedom…

Celebrating the Fourth in Caracas

At 2AM July 3, 1955, my parents and I, a 8 month-old, arrived at the seaside airport down the mountains from Caracas. It had been a marathon: driving up to NYC from DC, where they'd had two months of orientation training, leaving the car at  loading docks, and taking our 10 pieces of luggage to…

La brutta figura

Behavior matters,especially when you're in a Foreign Service family. After Dad's initial four years in balmy Caracas, we moved in 1959 to Milan, where there were strict rules governing how things were done.  Although Dad’s job at the USIA office required my mother to be available for after-hours socializing and cultural events, finding a live-in…

Josefina’s Niñas

As the only daughter of a Midwestern spendthrift shop keeper, Mom would have found it laughably ridiculous to be told as a teenager that she would one day command household staff. That she would do so in different languages thousands of miles from home would have added to the impossibility of such a notion. Sometimes…

Making a (Little) Difference

I’d like to think that, as a kid, I would have been like the Parkland students leading the  march for gun control in Washington, DC: passionate about justice, and empowered by truth. Probably not: it’s a high bar. Still, Mom and Dad raised my sister and me with the belief  that people’s actions could make…

Be a Citizen, Change the World

Dr. Benjamin Barber, an American political theorist, believed that communities could be built of trust, connection and cooperation, and that engaged citizens would change the world. In 2013, he wrote: “…When democracy works, gun control legislation will pass. It’s that simple.” Barely two weeks after 17 of their schoolmates and teachers were killed in yet…