Coveting the Perfect House

I covet a house on Country Way. Please understand, I live in a perfectly fine house. My house is not being foreclosed on.

Anticipating increasing difficulty in climbing stairs (I have problem legs), I had my two-story saltbox renovated a decade ago and now live downstairs in roomy splendor. Alone. A fireplace, a walk-in large tiled shower with a built-in tiled bench, a soaring living room ceiling, a separate office where my Muse comes to sit beside me as I spin my stories at the computer. All this is for me alone, now that my two girls have grown up and moved out and on to live their own lives.
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A Summer Day

After feeding my daughter’s cat while she’s away, I drive another block to the beach to check “whether the ocean is still there.” That’s what I tell my grandson when he’s in the car with me. Cooper is seven-year-old serious and likes his world anchored to reality. When we see the waves curling in and swishing out, he is reassured and chides me for doubting the ocean’s predictability.

Performing the ritual alone on this bright July day, I breathe in the salty air and feast on the summertime sights of the beach. The clean line of the far-off horizon, the ocher-colored boulder a handful of children are climbing, the flapping of the Stars and Stripes on a far-away large rock reachable only at low tide.

Living “inland”—three miles from the water—I often forget the delicious liberating feeling of the beach. Of enjoying this triumvirate of water, sand, and sun. Summertime near the water gives you freedom to live in the moment all day long. Continue reading


When I started working at a college book publisher in Boston a few decades ago, my new friend there asked me whether I had been here long. By “here” she meant America. She’d detected a slight accent—an intonation, actually—revealing my foreign origins.

Because she was fifteen or so years my junior, I couldn’t resist quipping back, “Longer than you have,” which, of course, stopped her in her sweetly meant but somewhat condescending tracks (you know, the way you speak to foreigners, in that I’ll-talk-slowly-so-you-can-understand-what-I’m-saying tone). Continue reading