Month: January 2016

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Hard Knock Life

The day I was cast as an understudy  my not-even-remotely-a-stage-mother mother tried to talk me out of doing the show. You’ll have way more work to do than anyone else and there’s only the smallest chance that you’ll ever get to perform. I refused to let her rain on my parade. I’d managed to eclipse the bajillion scrawny fifth graders with their pitchy renditions … Read More Hard Knock Life

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The Blizzard of 93

Boarding school students don’t get snow days, per se. At my high school, the day students had an option to call in once the roads got bad enough, but classes were never  canceled, unless the Headmaster announced a holiday. If I’d been an overachiever, I might have reckoned these self-determined snowdays a source of anxiety. As it was, I basically looked at them as … Read More The Blizzard of 93

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At Twelve

Being 12 is pretty much the worst. It’s definitely worse than 11, probably worse than 14 and even marginally worse than 23. It’s hard for me to imagine anything as miserable 12, except for 13 (or maybe smallpox), and trying to reckon the actual true nadir is roughly equivalent to trying to figure out whether you’d prefer questioning at the Witch Trials or the … Read More At Twelve

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Folk Remedies

My great-grandmother, Gladys Mitchell, spent the vast majority of her life living on a farm in the rolling meadows of eastern Franklin County, Virginia, spitting distance from what is now Smith Mountain Lake. Granny was  a superb quilter, a capable farm wife, an unfailingly kind and generous person and the kind of rare culinary talent that causes people to turn to tears and poetry … Read More Folk Remedies