This is an updated version of a post written for Father’s Day in 2008. Ralphael Benjamin Fischer passed peacefully on April 9, 2014, at age 91, surrounded by his loving family.
I don’t’ really see myself as a “daddy’s girl” but I sure do love my dad, and yes, he spoils me.
In some ways he’s typical of his generation, distant but close. Born in Poland in 1922, he lived through the horrors of WWII, lost his entire family, and amazingly rebuilt a life in France then the U.S. Both he and my mother worked in garment factories in New Jersey, then their own lumber and hardware store in South Central, L.A.; immigrants dedicated to giving their children everything they didn’t have.
In many ways my father Ralphie, as we liked to call him, was special — an unedited, unfiltered, tell-it-like-it is person, with a wicked sense of humor. He spoke his truth and people appreciated it. To say that he was a “character” is an understatement. Read more
Next week marks the official start of summer and last summer’s book suggestions were well received, so we’re doing it again. Pour yourself a glass of iced tea or a crisp rosé and enjoy!
Part love story, part thriller, part cultural immersion, Saturday Comes, a first novel by our very own Carine Fabius, is magic. Her compelling characters, alive and otherwise, take you on a journey of love, loss, revenge and voudou. From the Haitian home of the bourgeoisie to the palpable humidity of Miami, this captivating tale transported me and the writing took my breath away.
Currently, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is keeping me up at night. This true story, written by science writer Rebecca Skloot, is another page-turner. In the 1950s, a poor black woman’s cancer cells were taken without permission and eventually used to develop the polio vaccine and numerous scientific advances. While her cells make others billions of dollars, the late Henrietta Lacks remains relatively unknown and her family impoverished.
Come to the Edge by Christina Haag. Imagine a Greek god descending from Mt. Olympus and sweeping you off your feet. Author Christina Haag captures the passion and tragedy of being loved by John F. Kennedy, Jr., the closest approximation to an Olympian who has ever walked the earth. Christina’s memoir chronicles the Kennedy inner-circle while revealing the flaws that brought this exquisite Icarus crashing to earth 13 years ago this July. Read more
For Prudence, a chance encounter at the local co-op reveals a road less traveled and the journey ahead
I noticed the woman’s skirt first. Made from a stretchy black polyester from another era, the skirt brushed the tops of her shoes, which peeked out from underneath like two pointy black snouts. She stared at the gleaming push-top coffee thermoses perched just out of reach as she fidgeted with an orange paper coffee cup, turning it over and over in her hands.
“May I get you some coffee?” I asked.
“No, I can manage,” she said, and promptly dropped the cup, which rolled under her wheelchair.
Our eyes met and both crinkled at the corners.
“Well. I guess maybe you’d better.” Read more
Hello, here are some words I would like to obliterate from our vocabulary, dictionaries, lexicons and consciousness.
Bureaucracy (byuu-rok-ra-see) – excessive official routine
How does bureaucracy sound? No, ma’am, I can’t schedule that appointment for you until your doctor faxes us an authorization; No, ma’am, we can’t set up online management of your corporate account until we order an ATM bank card for you (even if you don’t want or need one); Yes, ma’am, if you want to raise the limits of liability on one of your cars, you will have to do it for all three of the cars on this policy. I am so sick of talking to robots, aren’t you? Read more
A few years ago on a vacation in Puerto Vallarta, my husband Lee and I spent a long, hot afternoon ambling and exploring the old colonial part of town. We visited craft stores, museums and art galleries, we walked up and down the cobbled streets, shopping and gawking, eating churros from vendors, listening to street music and doing other touristy type things until we were finally tired, steamy and thirsty. Read more
—For Melissa, an emotional winter gives way to the surprise of new growth—
If one pays the closest attention it is possible to see the turns of the seasons in particular the arrival of Spring. Here in Northern New Mexico the seasons are showy, dramatic and distinct rituals accompany them.
I’ve been here for the last two and a half months having arrived early in February to be with my father during his time in a rehabilitation hospital as efforts were made to get him back on his feet after a particularly “killer” series of chemotherapy treatments. I’ve seen him released from the rehab hospital only to be admitted to another hospital a couple of weeks later and to hear the Doctor say “he is dying.” I’ve participated in the first meeting with the hospice doctor. I was present to hear the doctor say, “It’s true I am a hospice doctor, but I also have hospice graduates and I think its possible that a year from now you will be one of my graduates.” With this possibility held out to us we all, the whole family, became singularly focused on my father’s weight gain and his tours up and down the hall with his walker. We have gone from the place where my father’s friends came ostensibly to say goodbye, to the pleasant surprise of ongoing visits. Read more
As time tests her patience, Prudence is not amused
The waiting game. Just because this phrase rhymes with the iconic Jim Lange-hosted TV game show of my youth, I am not amused.
I object to coupling the word “waiting” with “game.”
There’s nothing joyful, fun or amusing about waiting, therefore waiting is not a game. Read morekeep looking »