At the close of a grueling 2001 tax season, Jan’s brain cells desperately needed a breather. We decided to escape to Galena Illinois—an area known for its scenic hills, valleys, and bluffs. At one time it was home to more mansions per capita than any other city in America. Continue reading
Surviving the second grade was the first major challenge of my young life. Specifically, I had to survive Sister Leona, the nun who turned my dislike for school into a consuming anxiety. She was cruel, and seemed to enjoy punishing and humiliating her class. We were often blamed for the death of the first grade nun who died during the previous summer break. She’d say, “You killed one nun, do you want to kill another?” I have to admit, that proposition was a little tempting at times. Continue reading
Sunday afternoons would find my dad relaxing in his favorite chair, the Chicago Tribune spread out on the floor in front of him. I’d be looking to get my hands on the comic strips—not to read them—I liked to sketch the characters. Continue reading
Tuffy’s tail wagged erratically as he worked the family like a hummingbird in a flower bed. With his cold wet nose he lifted every accessible hand hoping to receive a loving scratch on the head. Continue reading
There was no reason for me to set foot in my parents bedroom. They never told me to stay out, I just knew I had no business being in there. I also knew that’s where they hid the Christmas presents.
I was recently asked to tell a story about my son—this is one of my favorites:
Jake and I had been wading the Kankakee River for smallmouth bass one afternoon, late in September. We had a great time together fishing and exploring the river we both treasured. Twilight was approaching and we decided to call it a day. Continue reading
She made me feel special, even during those high school years when I spent most of my time trying to avoid her. Continue reading
Mom instructed me to thank Sister Leona, but I knew she wasn’t really trying to help. She didn’t actually believe I needed prescription glasses, her purpose was to humiliate me in front of the other kids. Continue reading
Cold air whistling through cracks in the shrunken window caulk decorated my bedroom window with a feathery layer of frost. I scraped away a small porthole and peered out into the night sky. The previous day’s snowfall glistened in the starlight, creating a unique contrast between the white of the snow and the dark of everything else.
As a nine year old kid, one of the benefits of being out of school for the summer was my being allowed to stay up until after the ten-o’clock news. Continue reading