Coming Home

“It will be good to feel the road,” Dora wrote in a letter to me, years ago now, of her pending trip from her parents’ home in Grove City, PA to Chicago. I knew what she meant when she wrote that. It can be good, that road time. Time for anonymity, except for the other … More Coming Home

Overcoming One

He didn’t want to go to school from the beginning. Even when I told him, back in January, that I had been offered the job– a month before I even signed the contract– he cried. Everett wanted Nothing To Do with going to school. It wasn’t so much the school thing, in and of itself. … More Overcoming One

Photo Album

Just before Thanksgiving, after a Saturday morning at the soccer field, we decided to spend an hour or two in Duke Gardens. It was a beautiful day. We found some pitcher plants and duly studied them, hoping to spot drowned insects in the digestive fluids at the bottom of the pitcher. We had studied carnivorous … More Photo Album

Beginning a Vacation

They had a Christmas party tonight, my students did. It was a nearly four-hour affair– a progressive dinner in holiday festive attire that was attended by Very Nearly Every person in their class. And although some complained about the “holiday festive” thing and others wondered about the “holiday festive” thing, they all looked Very Nice. … More Beginning a Vacation


I gave my exam on Friday: three hours (with a break at the mid-point); three subjects (English, Bible, history), plus the music and art appreciation that are essential to the course; twenty students; 185 points worth of multiple choice, matching, short answers and an essay. And that was it. We’re done for the semester. Of … More Homework

The Reason Why

After years in the business world, she is considering changing careers: she thinks she might like to become a teacher. High school English. So she asked me about it. “Somebody told me that if you love the students, you’ll teach high school, but if you love the subject, you’ll teach college.” She sets this sentence … More The Reason Why


He’s watching Popeye with the children, sipping his morning coffee. I am writing and hearing, in the background, the noises of Popeye: the music, the wail that is Olive Oyl’s voice (and why is her name Olive Oyl?), the interjections of sound that mean Popeye and Bluto are at it again. I am satisfied in … More Popeye

A New Word

We all use them: product brand-names that have become synonymous for the product itself. Like Band-aids. No one calls them adhesive strips, even if one isn’t buying the Johnson & Johnson brand but have instead opted for Nexcare.Kleenex is another one. You can ask for a tissue or, if you’re really specific, a facial tissue; … More A New Word

These Days

At the end of the day these days, days that are full of teaching and planning and then reading and grading essays; days that, in their waning hours, are full of children and their homework and their piano practice and finding something for dinner and tucking people in and trying to find time for some … More These Days