Seriously Creating Fun

Seriously Creating Fun

Behaving Horribly My fondest childhood memories were spent jumping in and out of coffins.  My uncle owned a funeral home.  My grandmother lived in a lovely apartment in the back of the business.  She took late night calls and greeted the bereaved. ...
La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita

IOAP The spirit and energy of Marion McClinton, my acting partner, was infectious.  We were performing a short play that night for a theater benefit and we were nervous.  Everyone would be there.  We ran laps around the building, we went over and over...
The Nourishment of Human Connection

The Nourishment of Human Connection

Tiaras and Mac’n’Cheese It is strange and wondrous what can nourish you.  When I was a child and had asthma, I got to stay home from school and go to my Grandma Bernice’s house because my mother worked full-time.  Grandma Bernice had a huge...
Maybe You’ll Learn Something

Maybe You’ll Learn Something

The Laborer “Stop flapping your jaw and listen once in awhile.  Maybe you’ll learn something.”  This was a cardinal rule of my father’s and something he said so often it was burnished into the minds of his six children.  Perhaps it came from his Norwegian background. ...
What I Learned From the Friends Next Door

What I Learned From the Friends Next Door

Meet The McGoogans The McGoogans lived across the street from me when I was growing up.  They had six girls and two boys.  MaryMarsha, the oldest, was a singer and belted out her R n B tunes, shaking her mop of red hair and stomping her feet a la Janis Joplin.  She...
The Best Laid Plans…

The Best Laid Plans…

Holiday Past For nearly ten years our Army son was not home during the holidays.  Sometimes it was because it was his turn to take over guard duty at the base so colleagues who had children could share the holiday with their little ones.  At other times it was because...
Learning to Listen

Learning to Listen

Family “Pardon me for talking while you’re interrupting.”  This snarky comment was often used in my family of origin as a verbal jab, an aggressive reminder to listen.  We were a large, boisterous, loud family of story-tellers and attention-seekers.  One of my...
The Challenge of Transition

The Challenge of Transition

California Three years ago, when my husband was offered a job in Brooklyn, we jumped at the chance.  We’d lived in Greenwich Village years ago, before our two sons were born.  Before we’d moved to Studio City.  Before the friendships made through years of parenting,...
The Simple Joys of Enjoying

The Simple Joys of Enjoying

My husband and I had ticked off from our list the sites of Florence and Venice.  We headed to La Spezia, an unremarkable town that was the base for exploring the famous Cinque Terra, a series of five small Italian towns perched like tiny gems above the Ligurian Sea. ...
The Pull Of Whopperland

The Pull Of Whopperland

My aunt and uncle owned a funeral home in Omaha, Nebraska.  They belonged to a country club with a sparkly pool.  Sometimes they vacationed in Europe.  Our family vacationed on a lake in Iowa.  We rented a two-room cabin with torn screens and questionable plumbing. ...
The Boundaries We Keep

The Boundaries We Keep

 I grew up in the Midwest with lots of aunts and uncles around.  They dropped in constantly.  There were no dates made or appointment planned.  They just showed up, sometimes with a box of doughnuts or sometimes a gallon of ice cream.  My mother would make a pot of...
You Can Hear The Difference

You Can Hear The Difference

When people in California hear that I was born in Nebraska, they assume I was raised on a farm, with cornstalks, cows and rolling plains.  But as Eva Gabor once said, “I get allergic smelling hay.”  I have rarely been on a farm; I grew up in Omaha, a city of 400,000...
Small Nurturing Acts

Small Nurturing Acts

Listen Yesterday I spoke with my friend whose son is in Afghanistan.  He is in the Army and he is among the last troops to be there.  The situation is fluid, tense, uncertain.  It is transitional, to put it delicately.  He is her beloved only son.  As a fellow...
Hope In Brooklyn

Hope In Brooklyn

One Year Ago – 2020 On our final night in Brooklyn a year ago, my husband and I took a walk on Court Street.  We headed through Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to our favorite pizza joint.  It was grey and rainy.  A fine mist fell over everything as...
Four Connections Close to My Heart

Four Connections Close to My Heart

Connecting Through Cleaning My Grandma Alta and I connected through cleaning. She was a tall, thin woman whose Norwegian ancestors had made a place for themselves toiling in the fields of eastern Nebraska. She lived in Omaha in a small, eternally neat apartment when I...
“It’s a Free Country”

“It’s a Free Country”

Kate, their dog and MaryEllen, Kate’s best friend “It’s a Free Country”  We were a Lutheran family although my mother was raised Catholic. She became a Lutheran later in life. It may have had something to do with the fact that we lived across...
Being Totally Completely Present

Being Totally Completely Present

As the saying goes, what happens in acting class stays in acting class Yes, it is true. You share things with fellow actors in an acting class that your nearest and dearest family members may not even know. In a great class, like that of the brilliant Gordon Hunt, you...
West Point Dedication

West Point Dedication

My elder son went to the United States Military Academy, commonly known as West Point. Parents were invited for grand occasions and ceremonies. But one November during his second year at West Point, I had a business trip to Manhattan and decided to visit him during a...
What Does It Mean To “Act One’s Age”?

What Does It Mean To “Act One’s Age”?

My father- in-law was always 100% supportive of his children and grandchildren.  They could do no wrong.  Once, when he was visiting LA, we came home from a pre-school conference about my elder son.  I told my father-in-law what they had said.  “He is slightly...

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