1945—Paper Dolls and Radio Shows

I am thirteen. The rain streaks down the kitchen window. It’s midafternoon on Sunday, and it’s rained all day. Because it’s November, the short days make Sundays particularly gloomy. I wish the rain would change to snow, but there’s not much chance. Not until December. No one likes Sundays. It means the weekend is over, […]

1940—Fishing with Dad

I am eight years old. My father is at the kitchen table fussing with fishing flies in his tackle box. The pull-out compartments are full of colorful baits and lures, hooks, bobbers, sinkers, extra fishing line and a jackknife. He’s agreed to take me fishing on Lake Keesus today. “Get your galoshes on,” he orders […]

1944—The Jungle

I am twelve years old. Our back lot line on Garfield Avenue is bordered by trees and shrubs, tall and thick enough that you can’t see through them or over them. We call this strip The Jungle. One beauty of the Jungle is the dense foliage, with enough sturdy low tree branches for climbing. They […]

1944—Laundry and Lambs in the Basement

I am twelve years old. The basement of my house on Garfield Avenue includes a fruit cellar, laundry room, workshop for my father’s carpentry, and furnace. The fruit cellar contains preserves put up by my mother and grandmother—mostly strawberries, raspberries and other fruit picked in season—and nonperishable produce such as potatoes and onions. The fruit […]

1941—Attic and Basement Adventures

I am 10 years old. I sneak into the attic sometimes to light matches when my parents are out. There’s a big box of kitchen matches by the fireplace, so full that no one will notice a few missing. I can’t resist the thought of the match scraping a sandy surface and springing to life. […]

1944—Seven Stitches

In the right front corner of our big yard in Wauwatosa, a Milwaukee suburb, stands our house. A long cement driveway leads from the street, past the house to a bend, and then a right turn into the garage. On cold winter days when snow threatens, our car and most of the others on the […]

Squirrel Wars

For more than twenty years I have been combatting squirrels in my backyard, engaging in a battle of wits. Guess who’s winning? Here are some of the suggestions I’ve used, garnered from books, booklets, internet sites, and product information: Recommendation: Place bird feeder on a metal pole at least eight feet off the ground. Response: […]

Safety First

I am an optimist. But I’m an optimist who takes his raincoat.                                                            —Sir Harold Wilson Most people fasten their seatbelts when they get into their car. […]


Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practice to deceive                                                  —Sir Walter Scott In the long run, telling the truth is much easier than lying. You don’t have […]

Unconditional Love

Animals are such agreeable friends.  They ask no questions. They pass no criticisms.                                                                     —George Eliot    If you have a dog […]

Living for Today

Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.                                                            —Will Rogers Living in the past can take several forms. We can rehash our past mistakes, never […]

It’s the Little Things

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.                                                                   —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle As […]