My Real Life Modern Family

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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 →

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Black and White

19 Written by: | Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 10:19am

 

terriUniversity of Baltimore MFA student Terri Steel sees her loving family like any other, even if plenty of people stop and stare.

Other kids called us the Oreo cookie. It was the 1970s and there was no such thing as political correctness. Sheila, Shirley and I enjoyed being the cookie, or at least that’s what I believed. I never considered that perhaps it was because of my position in the shiny white center. Names like Fat Janet and Retarded Betty were common in my neighborhood. One of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons featured Bill Cosby’s voice as the lead; it was called “Fat Albert.” Read More →

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Father and Son: An Annotated Bibliography

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Jan 07, 2015 10:12am

image via homewiththeboys.net

image via homewiththeboys.net

University of Baltimore MFA student Michael B. Tager remembers his father’s recommended reading, and vice versa — and invites us to read between the (loving) lines.

Berenstain Bears Go Out For the Team, 1983

I am in his lap, his stubbly cheek against the top of my head, his deep voice patiently reading the childish prose. The Berenstain Bears are all I want him to read, though I have dozens of other children’s books.

Brother and Sister play pee-wee baseball. I relate, though our umpires and coaches don’t wear menacing sunglasses. Brother and Sister also play catch with Father. My father isn’t very good at catch but he plays with me, saying, “Relax,” and “Straighten your elbow.” Read More →

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Murtherfore: A Story of Alcoholic Inspiration

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Dec 31, 2014 12:00pm

1920s  Party

This New Year’s Eve, writer Lindsay Fleming remembers her father-in-law’s wit and wisdom, his whiskey sours and his elegant exit.

My father-in-law was famous for his whiskey sours.  When your drink ran dry, he’d be quick to notice and urge a refill.  If you hesitated, he’d settle it with the reminder, “No bird ever flew on one wing.”  When he died, copies of his recipe were posted by magnet on the refrigerator at the family beach house.  A backup was filed underneath the highball glasses in the art deco bar on the screened-in porch. Read More →

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To All the Young Women Never Cast as Clara

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 10:00am

image circa 1890

image circa 1890

In a special installment of “My Real Life Modern Family,” writer Patrice Hutton reflects funnily and philosophically on childhood Christmases past.

‘Tis the season, the season in which we’re reminded of our first failure of womanhood: never being cast as Clara. We grow up and lean in while learning that we can’t have it all, but years ago, we faced our first trial of womanhood. We’d stalk the mailbox for letters, or push toward the cast list, to see that once again we’d been overlooked for the role of Clara. Read More →

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Gracious Receiving 101

4 Written by: | Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 12:00pm

charliebrowntree2

What to do if we receive a Christmas present we hate? University of Baltimore MFA student Melinda Cianos gives it to us straight.

Okay, let’s review. This holiday season you are likely to receive, if you’re lucky and people like you, a nifty gift or two. Please do not forget the appropriate reaction to said gifts in order to avoid the severed relationships and tarnished reputation surely to follow you into the New Year if you do. Below: a few reminders to help you stay in good, gracious standing. Read More →

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Myra and Mom

8 Written by: | Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 10:27am

image via weheartit.com

image via weheartit.com

Baltimore writer Gay Jervey remembers her mother’s most enduring–and exciting–friendship.

Not long ago, I received the news that I had been dreading for months: Myra Shannonhouse, my honorary Godmother, ally and bridge to so much that had come to shape me, had died after the long, wrenching free fall that so frequently accompanies illness, old age and the kind of greedy bad luck that just won’t back down. Read More →

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Don’t Shoot: One UB Student Stands United

2 Written by: | Monday, Dec 01, 2014 10:13am

image via ksdk.com

image via ksdk.com

University of Baltimore MFA student Nancy Murray recounts her local experience after Ferguson.

“Is there a way to add to the conversation through our art?” she asked. Her eyes scanned the faces of the students. None of us wanted to talk about Ferguson, but we all kind of needed to. Read More →

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Lessons from a Turtle

2 Written by: | Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014 10:22am

image via ecology.com

image via ecology.com

Award-winning poet Elizabeth Hazen reflects on her ambitious life thus far — the winning, the losing, the waiting it out.

Once at the National Zoo, I watched a pair of giant tortoises copulating, the sound that emanated from their habitat like a sleeper’s distress in the midst of a confusing dream. My son wondered what the matter was. All of the children wondered, the older ones with a slight blush of awareness. The adults chuckled nervously, parents scooting their children along to the next exhibit. Meanwhile I stared with the fascination of a scientist, the brazenness of a paparazzo. How those enormous, armored bodies could fit together—how even turtles could evince pleasure without words! Somehow this was a comfort to me, though simultaneously I was conflicted by my voyeurism and my relentless obsession with things I do not understand. Read More →

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What’s for Dinner? (One Mother Confesses)

10 Written by: | Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014 9:50am

overworked momWhen University of Baltimore MFA student Melinda Cianos suddenly realized she’d never shown her family how to serve themselves dinner, she felt called to instruct.

My father worked at Bethlehem Steel for 20-some years and my mother never finished high school. There weren’t conversations around the dinner table, or elsewhere in the house for that matter, about how and why I should attend college, so I didn’t. I started a family at 22 years old; I had more than enough to keep me busy so I don’t how not having a degree found its way in to start gnawing at me, but it did. I looked away from it until I was 34, at which time I thought, “I’m ready.” What I didn’t realize was that I might be the only one in my household who was. Read More →

Most Comments This Week

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Checkpoint Charlie: Before the Wall Came Down

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