My Real Life Modern Family

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

On White Privilege, Police Brutality and Baltimore

5 Written by: | Wednesday, May 20, 2015 10:43am

image via oncealittlegirl.com

image via oncealittlegirl.com

University of Baltimore MFA student Tracy Gold considers the recent riots in light of her comfortable Towson upbringing. 

I’m white, and I live in a neighborhood of yuppies near the water in Baltimore City. So, I can’t speak to what it’s like for the folks affected by police brutality.

But I can speak to what it’s like to deal with police when you’re a stupid, white teenager. I believe these kinds of stories are important to tell right now; they highlight how unfair our current system is. Sure, life’s not fair. But criminal justice should be.

Read More →

Featured, Food & Drink, My Real Life Modern Family

The Birth of Wanderlust

2 Written by: | Wednesday, May 13, 2015 2:05pm

image

Writer Ann Schlott Hillers shares the experience that led to a lifelong quest to seek adventure abroad.

My father grew up in Athens, Ohio with no indoor plumbing until he was six.  At 21 he hitchhiked east to Baltimore for a med school interview at Johns Hopkins University.  It was the first time he had ever left Trumball County, which was next door to Howland County, my mothers birthplace.  He was accepted into med school, and when he graduated, the hospital offered him a job.  He worked at Johns Hopkins for more than 50 years and has lived on the same Baltimore street just as long. Read More →

My Real Life Modern Family

In the Womb of the Airport Shuttle

5 Written by: | Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015 2:30pm

bwi-airport-shuttle-service

When a college kid gets stuck on the wrong airport shuttle van, writer Janet Fricke Gilbert’s inner mom surges forth.

He wore his baseball cap backwards, and he kept his earbuds in while he shouted up to the driver. He might have even yelled “Hey, you! Driver!” which sounded rude, but was really a reflection of his panic at discovering he was on the airport shuttle heading deeper into the landscape of “The Wire” instead of Washington, D.C., where he was a student at American University. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Woodstock – in Eight Trippy Minutes

1 Written by: | Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 10:16am

Gary and Elana Vikan at Woodstock.

Gary and Elana Vikan at Woodstock.

Writer Gary Vikan–director of the Walters Art Museum from 1994-2013–reflects on his quick trip to Woodstock, a glorified study break during grad school, and what happened on the stormy way home.

“Wanna score a lid – $25?” Elana and I were in a small, old-fashioned grocery store attached to a gas station, on a rural highway in southern New York State. It was late morning, Sunday, August 18th, 1969. It was sunny and mild. We had stopped to gas up my 1968 red VW Beetle – the one that had yellow and lavender teardrop-shaped psychedelic decals in its rear windows, until a heavy-handed “pig” made me peel them off, claiming that they somehow blocked my view of the road. That VW was our understated hippy-mobile, and Elana and I were its understated hippies, on our way that morning to Woodstock. We had bought tickets just for Sunday, the last day of the festival, because Friday and Saturday, even in the dog days of August, were study days for grad-grind PhDs-in-the-making like us. The tickets, which I still have, were $7 each. That entrepreneurial hippy was offering us weed at what I knew was an inflated price because, I assumed, he had figured out we were Woodstock bound, and he guessed that we may not have planned ahead. A clue to our destination was the God’s eye, woven out of multi-colored yarn around two matchsticks, which Elana was wearing around her neck. She had picked it up the previous September somewhere between Big Sur State Park and the Esalen Institute, on California Interstate #1. We were hitchhiking, on our way to be part of the fifth annual Big Sur Folk Festival at Esalen. A small band of potheads in a VW van had picked us up; they were busily churning out God’s eyes in the intervals between stopping, in their paranoid delirium, once again to check out that odd knocking sound under the hood – a noise they heard but we could not. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

His Own World: The Mystery of My Uncle Steve

3 Written by: | Wednesday, Mar 11, 2015 10:03am

salvador1st+picture University of Baltimore MFA student Mary Walters describes her eccentric uncle’s life, death — and legacy.

The brown paper bag.

A few days after my Uncle Steve died, my dad brought home a brown paper bag from the apartment where single, childless Steve had lived for 17 years. It was soggy and heavy with coins. He dropped the bag on the coffee table mumbling “your inheritance.” My cousins, siblings, and I paid it no attention until the conclusion of whatever television show we were watching, and then my brother, Andy, peeked inside and wondered how many dollar bills those pennies would add up to—pennies could add up to anything. He drove to the Weis with the coin machine in Damascus and I came along. They added up to $38.00, $3.80 per niece and nephew. Read More →

Featured, My Real Life Modern Family

Dreams of Drowning

8 Written by: | Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015 12:00pm

Indonesian Sea. All photos by Ann Schlott Hillers.

Baltimore native Ann Schlott Hillers spends the summer in Bali with her three young sons and, despite fears, embraces the underwater world of the Indonesian Sea.

When I was in my twenties and childless, I dreamed a lot about drowning.  Not my own drowning, but that of my niece, Maggie, my older sisters eldest daughter.  First, she scaled a tall Victorian hotel whose roof was covered in ice.  As she reached the peak, I scrambled up the roof only to arrive as she was sliding down the other side, falling a mile into a lake of ice below. I tried to grab her dress, but she was slippery and fast. And gone. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Toward Graphic Maturity

1 Written by: | Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 9:59am

image via fastcodesigns.com

image via fastcodesign.com

Essayist Lindsay Fleming ponders the character hidden inside each person’s handwriting.

I’m filling out the permission form for an after-school activity and call Addie over to sign her name. She’s 11 and several forms in the past year have required her signature. She watches me sign in the space for parent/guardian. I hand her the pen. She says, “But I don’t have a signature.” Read More →

Featured, My Real Life Modern Family

Traveling on the Road to Love

9 Written by: | Friday, Feb 13, 2015 12:27pm

fenwicks

The writer and her then boyfriend, now husband traveling through Europe, 1997.

Unexpected challenges on a whirlwind trip teach writer Muffy Fenwick the true meaning of love.

It is a common joke in our family, especially when my husband’s antics are most pronounced, that I was a mere child when I became a bride and thus should not be blamed for my youthful mistake in love. But truth be told, whatever mistake (or lack thereof, as it may be) can be traced back to a trip we took after my graduation from college, a trip that ultimately taught me what love means. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Local Art Teacher Shares Four Ways “Whiplash” Gets Art and Aspiration Wrong

4 Written by: | Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 9:38am

Whiplash-5547.cr2

Writer/musician Ron Tanner takes Oscar-contender “Whiplash” to task.

Oscar-contender “Whiplash” — about a talented college drumming student under the tutelage of a maniacal master teacher– has made a well-deserved splash with both critics and viewers. The film’s pyrotechnic student-teacher duel plays like a hot-jazz cutting contest and you’d be the odd exception if you came away from the movie without great admiration for the acting: J. K. Simmons is a marvel. That said, the aptly-named “Whiplash” left me shaken because, as a long-time teacher of the arts, I found so much of its message wrong-headed, if not downright wrong. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Checkpoint Charlie: Before the Wall Came Down

5 Written by: | Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 9:52am

BigComboTrailerTwenty-five years ago, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. University of Baltimore MFA student Ellen Hartley recalls a night in 1966 when she and her student husband tried to cross to East Berlin. What stopped them might make you grateful.

 

Halten Sie — sofort!” A guttural voice. “Schnell aus dem Auto!”

Danny slammed on the brakes of our VW Bug. We stumbled out of the car. A pair of burly border guards ordered us to step aside and empty our pockets.

1966, Checkpoint Charlie. My husband and I were students, out for a night at the opera in East Berlin. Read More →

Most Comments This Week

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