How Will She Download 2016?


Yesterday, through the wonders of modern technology, my best friend from second grade and I were able to travel back to 1984. Four years ago I had found an old home movie of us and shared it on her Facebook timeline. Then yesterday, the popular “On This Day” app reminded her of it, and she shared it back.

I was waiting in the car with Teghan when the notification came in, and we watched it together. It wasn’t easy to explain. Did she know what I meant when I said that was me? Is she able to easily put together that I used to be little like her, and that this video was taken many years ago? I’m never sure. Time is one of the most difficult concepts to describe effectively. But she seemed entertained.

In 1984 I was about the same age as my daughter is now. The video shows two friends putting on a show for the camera. We cannot take our eyes off of our own images appearing on the TV, and we are especially thrilled with the novelty of my dad turning the camera to “negative” mode.   Continue reading

This Is My Last Five Dollars


photo 2 (4)


The best card I ever received was on my birthday in 1995. It was from Dave’s Grandma Gray, and she enclosed a five dollar bill. It was signed, “This is my last five dollars.”

She wasn’t being funny. Someone made her give me five dollars against her will, I think.

She didn’t know me, but she already disliked me. She lived with Dave’s family. Dave was the baby of the family. He had been traveling with a touring group when he met me- apparently a poor substitute for his last girlfriend. In fact, Grandma actually called Dave’s ex as soon as she discovered we were together.

A few months earlier Dave had received his own special birthday gift when Grandma, as a combined Christmas/birthday gift, decided to write her grandson a letter about all the reasons he should never have broken up with his last girlfriend. I guess she was pretty amazing.

I could have been offended, but it was clear that this wasn’t really about me. I am just glad I have the card. And I wish I could say this all turned out with a happy ending about how she finally accepted me, but unfortunately Grandma Gray passed away later that same year. By then we were engaged, and Dave was living in Michigan. She still wasn’t happy about it. She said I was just after his money. At the time, Dave was making doughnuts for a living.  Continue reading

In My Life

Small movie theater where I saw all the great movies of my childhood for the very first time. Closed in 1996, but still there.

Small movie theater where I saw all the great movies of my childhood for the very first time. Closed in 1996, but still there.


There are places I’ll remember all my life, though some have changed.                                                  -Lennon/McCartney

In My Life has always been one of my favorite songs. John had me at the next line, “some forever, not for better.” I suppose when I was young it didn’t mean much to me other than an example of great lyric writing– simple and perfect. It takes a few years to gain an appreciation for how people and places change in our lifetime. When we are very young, we know that things are going to be different someday, but someday also might as well be an eternity away. We live our childhood lives as though everyone and every place will always be there.

Well, that wasn’t true at all. There is almost nowhere left I can go back to from my childhood. My parents no longer live in the house I grew up in. Other people and their things exist in almost every place I ever found familiar. All the buildings I once frequented have new things in them, or have been torn down. My school looks different, the place where I went for my first date has been demolished, and the theater where I saw almost all of my first movies has been closed for years. I can’t go back, even for a few moments of nostalgia.  Continue reading

Mean Kids

Teghan School Bus


For the first few years of my life no one was mean to me. I had siblings, but they were old enough to find me charming for at least the first four years. I was used to older kids being helpful, so the first time I was treated badly by one was very upsetting.

The first memory I have of this kind happened when I was about four years old. It was my one and only visit to any kind of jail. It didn’t seem strange to me that we were there. We were visiting a relative who I knew and loved, and I had no conflicting thoughts about it. I think sometimes as grownups we are unaware of how children take things at face value. I had consequences for my actions all the time as a way to teach me how to behave as an adult- so I would learn, and never have to experience serious adult consequences like jail.

In my four-year old mind, my relative must surely have been sorry and wouldn’t make that mistake again. I held no judgment. I couldn’t wait to visit, and was extremely thrilled to be patted down and searched by guards. Also, I had been promised another child my age would be there, and we would be outside by a play area.

And it all came true. There was a nice little boy my age, and we did have fun on the playground….until some bigger kids came.  Continue reading