Showing posts from August, 2012

My Tower of Babel

Rolling up my sleeves, I set out to build my Tower. I didn’t need the actual blueprints; they were embedded in my overly zealous DNA. Worldly desires prodded me and I had an insatiable covetous monster needing to be fed. 
I wanted a car, a house, and classy furniture. I didn’t care so much about clothes, I just wanted to be able to open my purse and say, “yes” to whatever I wanted. All I lacked was money.

Everyone needs money. The key is finding a way to get someone else’s money into your pocket—legally, of course.Building a career took more time than I hoped. I lost precious years and noticed other towers were taller than mine. Showy sedans and sleek, shiny sports cars were next to those towers. And the owners wore amazing clothes as they climbed into those luxury autos. Maybe I’d been hasty about not wanting nice clothes. As money came in, I got right to work building steep walls straight to the sky. No limits, no need to slow down. I might be late to the party, but I was determi…

Getting Parents Back-To-School

Over fifty million young students will be strapping on their backpacks and heading back to school. But this school year let’s pretend we’re going to give parents the grades instead of the students. 

No, we won’t expect parents to remember algebra or what to do with a dangling modifier, but we’ll test them in a far more revealing way.
Parents will need to demonstrate their ability to send their children to school equipped to learn. In the elementary grades this means reading to them nightly, assisting them with homework, and asking questions about what they’re learning. 

If students go to school without their homework done, parents will be docked points. Extra credit will be given to parents who volunteer at least once a week in the classroom, or offering assistance to the teacher in other ways.
As students enter those dicey middle school years, the stakes are higher. If respect hasn’t been taught at home and belligerence shows up in the classroom, parents will need to report to the princi…

I'm No Cosmo Girl

I’ll never forget when I first saw Helen Gurley Brown’s steamy Cosmopolitan magazine. Well, actually, I didn’t see it. It was hidden behind the library counter. This was over 40 years ago.If someone wanted to read the risqué Cosmo and gaze at the male centerfolds, they had to ask for it. And believe me, the ladies behind the library counter gossiped about who asked for the latest edition.

Who could have imagined what a rather ordinary, young secretary making her way up the corporate ladder in the world of advertising and publishing could do, and then writing the blockbuster, Sex and the Single Girl—a how-to manual for enjoying sex without commitment. It must have been destiny for her to take the helm of a struggling women’s magazine and make sexual liberation history.Ms. Brown, Cosmopolitan’s savior, recently died at age 90.

It didn't take long for Cosmo to come out from behind the counters. It was prominently displayed at grocery checkouts nation wide. Those daring magazine hea…


Grandma's absentmindedness concerned the retirement home staff. She was forgetting to come to meals and rarely left her room. It was when she turned her stove on high and forgot it, that they suggested she move.

Now I was boxing the few items she could take with her and moving her to a much smaller place with less freedom and more care.

We talked while I packed. We reminisced about her tough years as a single mom during the Depression, scooping ice cream during the day and squishing grapes during a night shift in a winery. Eventually she moved back to her hometown, married again and worked even harder as a farm wife.
Moving into the tiny room was depressing—just enough space for her favorite rocker and the curio cabinet hanging near the single bed. I tried to make it homey.I placed her large print Bible on the nightstand. Perhaps it would give her comfort. She used to begin every day with God.Now what? Would she even remember Him? I hoped so. I looked at her well-worn hands and h…

Pornographic Prison

She picked at the cinnamon roll and let her coffee go cold. I sat and waited for her to find the words that wouldn’t come. She was mindlessly twisting her wedding band and kept looking out the window past me.

We listened to the jazz music in the background and watched customers order their caffeinated pleasures. As I looked at the young woman across from me I thought about how much older I was. 
Decades ago I was like her, a young bride. I remembered struggling in the first years of marriage. But our struggle was a financial one. Her problem was far worse. 

Her two-year-old marriage was on its way to becoming a statistic. But not the kind she had ever expected. She was dealing with adultery but one she wouldn't have ever anticipated—pornography.  I knew the statistics: $14 billion spent annually in the US. The biggest users? 12 to 17 year-old boys. But her husband was 25.

He'd gotten hooked young. Keeping it well hidden, the ugliness didn’t emerge until he and his wife were s…