Blog

Pandemic fatigue

November 17, 2020

Why did we think that we would escape the kind of historic cataclysms that have upended the lives of every generation? Think of our parents. And grandparents. I think of my grandmother. First cataclysm: Flu epidemic of 1918. Mary and Phil Flynn lived in the first floor apartment of a brand new triple-decker on Morton…

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Don’t take the bait!

July 16, 2020

Tuesday, I decided to think seriously about trolls. And trolling. It was an op-ed in the morning newspaper that inspired me: “How Russia trolls the 2020 U.S. vote.” What are the Russians up to? I’ve been wondering about this since all the brouhaha just prior to the 2016 election. To be honest I’ve been skeptical….

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Many Questions. No Answers. Part V.

June 24, 2020

It has been a month since the death of George Floyd. Nearly two weeks since the death of Rayshard Brooks. Several months since the deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. And the massive, widespread, worldwide demonstrations that were sparked immediately after Floyd’s death have continued unabated. Mobs of angry demonstrators are pulling down monuments,…

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Many Questions. No Answers. Part IV

June 19, 2020

Even those of us who think we harbor no prejudices and claim to be color blind…are not. We note what people look like. We notice what the people we encounter…the people we meet…the people we know, whether slightly or very well…look like. Faces, first of all. Of course. But also height. weight, hair color, eye…

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Many Questions. No Answers. Part III

June 18, 2020

From all-white schools in an all-white suburb to the all-white Katharine Gibbs School to a job in an all-white law office on Boston’s State Street. It wasn’t until I changed jobs in my early twenties that I actually had daily interactions with black co-workers, some of whom came to be my friends. I was hired…

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Many Questions. No Answers. Part II

June 17, 2020

Each of us has come by our awareness of black history differently. And thus there are those who see this history as an obvious cause of the current crisis in America. Or “a poor excuse.” My own awareness of black history was a long time coming. I grew up in an all-white suburb of Boston….

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Many Questions. No Answers. Part I

June 17, 2020

Yesterday we watched, mouths agape, as the police apprehended a car thief in our neighbor’s front yard. It was quickly done. No shots were fired. The perpetrator was not roughed up or unnecessarily manhandled in any way. And when it was all over, the only thing I felt was sad. This is how the scene…

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D-Day – June 6 1944 – U.S. Navy Seabees were there

June 6, 2020

Utah. Omaha. We see, in our collective mind’s eye, brave U.S. soldiers storming off landing craft in full battle gear, courageously wading—sometimes swimming—to shore, through a monsoon of bullets and exploding artillery shells. What we do not see—are the “Seabees” of the U.S. Navy’s Construction Battalions (CBs), working at breakneck speed, just beyond the view…

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Mrs. Penfire’s Most Daunting Pandemic Project Yet

May 30, 2020

It’s now or never! Here I am, stuck in the house for an interminable time. Why not? The challenge? Thousands. Yes. Thousands… of pictures. They have been accumulating for my entire lifetime. It started with snapshots here and there. Tucked into a scrapbook or box of mementoes. A couple of baby pictures. A few from…

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