Columns 2002

Fourth Graders on Love

I spent a morning in my daughter's class talking about writing, then the kids wrote short essays about love. Here are snippets from the warm, funny, thoughtful, poignant, and sometimes truly wise essays of Mrs. Patzke's 4th grade class at Wind Point Elementary School.

On Grandparents, etc.

"My grandma and grandpa spoil me. When I go there for a sleepover, they let me have chocolate before supper. They let me have it after, too. Then if I'm still hungry, they let me have a sandwich." Ashley

Guatemalan Hospitality

"Hola! Buenos Dias! Como est‡ Usted?" (Hello. Good Day. How are you?)

Me? I'm fine. Gracias para preguntar. (I think that's how one says "Thanks for asking.")

Actually, I am a little muzzy-headed. I'm just back from ten days in Guatemala. There's nothing like spending a balmy week in the third world to make one's senses spin akimbo.

Seventeen Minutes of Kayaking

It was late Monday afternoon and I was sitting at my computer, quietly tapping away. My son was on the other side of the table doing his homework. For several minutes we were both silently focused on our work.

Then my son looked up. I felt his eyes on me. I tried to ignore him.


I sighed. "What?"

"When I'm done here, will you drive me to the lake so I can kayak?"


Hey! Where's the remote? It's the new television season! Time to grab the snack cakes, sprint to the couch, and resume America's #1 pastime -- full (sofa) contact TV watching.

Right. I watched the premier of "NYPD Blue." I'm pretty fond of Sipowitz, but I am getting a little bored by those relentlessly intense young detectives with good hair. I want back the interesting kind of characters they featured a few years ago.

"No, I did not kill that lady. I only killed my own mother and then I served my time. I never wanted to kill anybody but her."

In the Soup - NYC

Sometimes, when situations shift from safe to scary, I remember this odd expression I learned from the grownups of my childhood.

"We're in the soup now."

What kind of nutball people identify with a carrot's point of view?

I recalled those words last week, as I drove my three kids, plus their friend Dan Navarro, to New York City.

Fourth-Grade Lunch

This week the 10 year old at our house was home with a cold. This presented a unique opportunity to interview a junior member of our community.

We conducted our press conference on the sofa. She wore a T-shirt with puppies on it and jammie bottoms. To grasp the full effect of this interview, imagine a small and animated voice muffled by a stuffy nose.

Q: What is your worst subject?

My Husband, the Mouser

Marriage is like a grab bag at a cheap carnival. You may think you know what you're doing when you lay down your dollar -- but you probably don't. That moment when you look your intended in the eye and plight your troth, did you have any idea what a troth was?

I will never forget when my beloved took my hands into his and promised to share everything he was with me.