Essays

Essay: White Sauce

Apr 16, 2021

My mother was a gourmet cook and wanted me to follow in her footsteps.

One of my first steps was on a stepstool next to the stove where I had the job of stirring the White Sauce, a common ingredient in many favorite dishes.

Essay: Stepping Down

Apr 9, 2021

We already know that not everyone can be the boss. But here’s the rest of the story. Not everyone wants to be the boss, including me. 


Essay: Raffia Basket

Apr 2, 2021

Mrs. Joy was my sixth grade teacher and she wasn’t anything like her name. With black-rimmed glasses perched on her large nose, she stared hard at each of us and demanded excellence. 

When a test revealed that I was reading above grade level, I was proud—but she said, “You could do better.”

Essay: Need for Naps

Mar 26, 2021

When my daughter was about two years old, she stopped taking naps. I resisted this transition—not because she needed a nap but because I needed her to take one. 

While she slept, I could do a load of laundry, a batch of dishes. Sometimes, I could even take a nap!

Essay: My Student

Mar 19, 2021

I was reading the New York Times Book Review a while ago and saw a Letter to the Editor from a man I’ll call Jerry Conrad. He was a history professor in Connecticut. 


Essay: Long & Short of Pencils

Mar 12, 2021

There’s an old coffee mug on my desk full of pencils. Long pencils with full erasers, waiting to be selected. Short pencils with used-up erasers, waiting to be retired.

But the pencils that interest me most are the variants. The long pencils with worn-out erasers. The short pencils with un-used erasers. 


Essay: By Chance

Mar 5, 2021

I was telling my husband about a good friend. “I just met her by chance,” I said.

“Who haven’t you met by chance?” he said.


Essay: Bag of Pretzels

Feb 19, 2021

At the grocery store, I pick up orange juice and cat food and a few other essentials. I’m on my way to the check-out when I see my husband’s favorite pretzels. I know that the bag at home is almost empty and yet I hesitate.


Essay: Uneventfulness

Mar 27, 2020

Several years ago, I heard a woman give a talk about a trip to Greenland where she lived with theInuit people, traveled by dog sled, ate raw seal meat. It wasn’t the kind of vacation most of us would choose—but for her, it was life-changing.

My husband and I are playing Monopoly with our granddaughter, Emmy. She’s 11 years old and loves the game, although she rarely wins.

Essay: Gift Box

Jan 23, 2020

 

Essay: Bad Boss

Dec 27, 2019

He might have been the worst boss I ever had. I’ll call him Roy and he could have been a giftedleader. 


Essay: Manger Scene

Dec 20, 2019

Every year just before Christmas, my grandfather invited me to help him set up the manger sceneon his fireplace mantel.

Essay: Anonymous

Dec 13, 2019

When I came to Traverse City from Chicago in 1970, I didn’t plan to stay. I was young andsingle and couldn’t imagine living in such a small town where everybody knew everybody. Iliked being anonymous in a big city, the sense of freedom and possibility.

Essay: Personal Space

Nov 1, 2019

In my yoga class, I watch fellow students as they lay their mats out on the floor.  Most are courteous and respectful of neighbors but others unfurl their mats with authority, taking up twice as much room as they need. 

And I think about the idea of personal space, how much is enough.  I prefer the corner by the window in my yoga studio and if someone else gets there first, I’m vaguely offended.  That’s mine, I think, knowing it’s not.

Essay: Perfect Features

Oct 25, 2019

When I was fourteen, I decided that my nose was funny looking.  Juggling two mirrors, I would examine my profile—and there it was:  plain as the funny-looking nose on my face. 

Not a movie star nose but a little tipped-up number with no dignity or elegance.  How humiliating.  So, during most of my ninth grade year I sat in class with my finger holding down the end of my nose.  I don’t know whether anyone noticed this odd behavior.

Essay: Bad Day

Aug 30, 2019

I don’t even notice that I’m getting out of bed on the wrong side until I grab for my socks and shove my toe into the heel.  And I wonder whether I should climb right back in and call it a day… a bad day.


Essay: White privilege

Aug 16, 2019

When I was growing up in Grand Rapids in the 1950s, my mother had a “cleaning lady” named Gladys, a soft-spoken colored woman who helped with housework.  I liked Gladys, especially when she made my lunch and cut the sandwiches diagonally.


Essay: Summer Fun

Aug 9, 2019

Walking outdoors on a summer morning, I uncoil the hose and turn on the faucet.  Then I bend to inhale the wet, metallic smell of water pouring out of the nozzle—grateful for things that do not change.


Essay: Rest Areas

Aug 2, 2019

When I was a kid, our family vacations were often road trips to scenic destinations.  And since this was the 1950s, there were no clean, friendly “rest areas.” provided by the highway department.  Instead, when we needed a bathroom, we had to depend on random gas stations along our route.


Essay: Post Office Cure

Jul 19, 2019

A cloud is following me around today, casting a shadow on my life.  I feel lonely and discouraged—but when I try to figure out why, nothing comes to mind.  In an effort to get out of the house and out of my self, I take up my list of errands. 


The Traverse City Pit Spitters are trying all sorts of ways to get fans to the ballpark, including letting them bring their dogs on ‘Bark in the Park’ night.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, Traverse City’s new baseball team dominates on the field, but getting fans in the seats has been another matter. Plus, a review of Kathleen Stocking’s collection of essays “From the Place of the Gathering Light.”


Essay: Meadow

Jul 12, 2019

I stay in the tent until my husband tells me the coffee is perking. It’s one of the few luxuries available out here in the woods. Slowly, I roll out of my sleeping bag and pull on cold blue jeans. Dick has built a small fire and I drag my canvas chair close to the warmth. 


Essay: Lost Scarf

Jul 5, 2019

It wasn’t a fancy scarf, just a strip of red and blue plaid that I wrapped around my neck in the winter.  On really cold days, I pulled the edge up over my nose, enjoying the smell and warmth of wool.


Essay: Holy Places

Jun 28, 2019

It’s almost too warm to jog but I lace up my shoes anyway. There’s no traffic this morning because it’s Sunday and the streets are quiet. The only cars are on their way to church or to the convenience store for coffee and a paper.


Pages