When I was teaching at a notorious middle school known for problem students, one of the juvenile delinquents-to-be in my class was a student named Vernon. Now, as you may know, my dad’s name has been mentioned on occasion. Of course Dad’s name was also Vernon. So, having a student named after my dear dad […]

Bleak House

One of Charles Dickens’ novels, Bleak House, was alive and well in Illinois. After our parents divorced, our mother certainly made sure that time spent at home with her was nothing but bleak. Our stepmother Beatrice, with her less than welcoming manner, did the same. Both houses shared a depressing, fear-inducing quality. Bleak House is […]

Very Unmerry Mary

Mother loved… her life in California, sans children. Mother loved…attending college, sans family. Mother loved…no-one holding her accountable. She also loved her perceived independence sans children and family When encumbered with responsibilities, Mother was not very merry. She craved a pretend life where she could choose to spend her day however she wished. Now make […]


Dad loved to laugh and was always seeking unique ways to share his sense of humor. One of his favorite things to do was to use funny voices when calling us on the phone. When my sister and I were teachers, he would pretend to be an irate parent or a salesman or a person […]

Dad’s Wild Ride

You already know that my sister and I loved and respected Dad with all our hearts. We listened to his stories and followed his instructions as much as we could. Dad is the one who taught us to drive a car and he was such a good driver that we always felts very safe when […]

As Far as Anyone Knows, We Are A Normal Family

The person in our lives who most wanted to pretend we were a normal family was my dad. Dad totally refused to acknowledge any drinking problem at all with our mother. He said that she went to the bar “to socialize” and that she never had a problem with alcohol. He also either ignored or […]