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...
Moments of Vulnerability

Moments of Vulnerability

Exposure When I first moved to New York as a young actress, I was offered a job understudying a Broadway diva for a production in Washington, D.C.  I was thrilled and intimidated.  I was comforted when I met her on the first day and she reassured me that she never...
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...
A Story About Honor – I Owe a Man 60 Cents

A Story About Honor – I Owe a Man 60 Cents

*I owe a man in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, 60 cents for six Payday candy bars I stole from him when I was ten.   They were cheaper then, ten cents each.  But I stole them and I never repaid him.   Our family vacation every year was a trip to Minnesota to stay at a lake...
“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...
What Is Our Purpose?

What Is Our Purpose?

What do we do? What do we do when the problems of the world, of America, of our city, our street, tear at our hearts and our souls, waking us up in the middle of the night and appearing before our eyes and our ears in a constant drumbeat? What questions should we be...

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