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My son was born during a transit strike

According to the Socialist Workers Party, the transit strike that winter trumpeted the still vital power of the working class as 36,000 workers walked out on the 2nd day of the new year. [see The Militant by Farrell Dobbs] Not one subway, bus or ferry moved for 12 days, paralyzing the city during a very cold winter. One(…)

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Erasing the holiday

Put away scotch tape, scissors, two kinds of wrapping paper. Cross out names of dead or disappeared from card and gift lists. Return lists to folder in filing cabinet. Tear interesting stamps off cards received to bring to Bill P. in Greece for use in collages. Tear up envelopes, add to bag of used wrapping paper, ribbon, packages. Discard dead tulips.(…)

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Romanticizing the Irish

I dedicated my first novel Clairvoyant, the Imagined Life of Lucia Joyce  (the story of James Joyce’s daughter Lucia Joyce, who spent 47 years in mental hospitals), to an Irish nurse friend. At the end of my Author’s Afterword I wrote: … This book is dedicated to all kind, caring nurses around the world especially Nurse A.G. Kennedy…whose(…)

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Encomium Zoe

I have very few skills and, with the passing of time, some I once had (like fencing, card games, life guarding, dancing through the night) have fallen into disuse. It might be possible to re-nourish those gone to seed but I doubt it will happen. One of my few enduring talents, though, has been my capacity for appreciating people. I’ve(…)

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On being German

My generous, inexhaustible friend Jo Shultze was born in the Black Forest of Germany just before World War II. She, her entire family, her Berlin-born husband, his family – by reason of birth – were threads sewn into the vast tapestry of that war, that defeat, that reconstruction. At some point Jo (a teacher) left Germany and moved to the east(…)

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It’s Chanukkah … lighten up

A woman goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Hanukkah cards. She says to the clerk, “May I have 50 Hanukkah stamps?” The clerk says, “What denomination?” The woman says, “Oh my God. Has it come to this? Give me 6 Orthodox, 12   Conservative, and 32 Reform.” Last December, a grandmother(…)

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Jerusalem meets Not Not a Jew

Met my visiting friend Sandra Zemor for lunch. Sandra’s an often-exhibited  Paris-based Israeli artist. It’s a drizzly day. I’m tired because I was up reading almost the whole night but hadn’t wanted to cancel. Thinking that perhaps Sandra would enjoy some New York-style deli food in a place where the ghosts of New York Jewish immigrants still wander and nosh, I text(…)

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