Blog

Shouldn’t we all be curious?

September 9, 2021

A couple of weeks ago my daughter asked me what book she could read to help her understand what’s going on in The Middle East. Ha! One book? My instant response was to ask her which Middle East she wanted to understand: Israel and the Palestinian conflict? Syria and its civil war? Yemen and its…

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1984 to 2005

August 12, 2021

I’m still peeking into–and tossing away–old calendars. What a difference a decade makes! In 1984, the nest was somewhat empty (A recent college grad camped out on the third floor is not a child who needs driving around or taking care of—and is actually pretty nice to have around.) And I was cutting back on freelance work….

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1984

August 3, 2021

What ever possessed me to lug ten-plus pounds of old planner books along when we moved across the country? In fact, why did I save them from one year to the next? Was it a fantasy that some day someone would want to write my biography—a compulsion freeze time in amber—insurance against lost memories? Did…

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Mrs. Penfire Opens a Time Capsule

July 18, 2021

I recently discovered a time capsule hidden in a box on the back of a closet shelf—Great Grandma’s recipes. When my husband’s grandmother died in 1987, her recipe collection was handed on to me. An ancient My Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (© 1930) so crammed with clippings, handwritten recipes, and various commercial recipe leaflets, that…

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1920 vs. 2020

March 21, 2021

My uncle, Joe Flynn, was a great storyteller, and he had many stories to tell. His life spanned nearly the entire twentieth century. After Joe died, I realized that I was the keeper of these stories, that each was a chapter, and that once I had written them all down, I would be the author…

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One Year in 150 Words

March 17, 2021

On February 28, the letters editor of the Los Angeles Times requested submissions summarizing readers’ thoughts on the past year of life during the coronavirus pandemic. I was inspired to condense the swirling chaos in my brain to 150 relatively coherent words.   The Times has published many readers’ letters. But not mine. So I…

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Diaries

November 30, 2020

I just sent away for another “Day-at-a-Glance” calendar. Don’t ask me why. I always start a new year with the best of intentions. I will keep a diary…of sorts. Why do I continue to entertain the delusion that I can…or should… or will…do this? Faithfully writing down what happened each day and my thoughts (which,…

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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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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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