Category Archives: MY CHILDHOOD

SLOW-MOTION MIDLIFE CRISIS

In an interview before he died, songwriter John Prine described his old age, his daily life, his relationships with others. “I’m good at hiding,” he said, laughing. He meant hiding from loved ones, from professional obligations. He meant slipping away … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, COURAGE, LITERATURE, MOVIES, MUSIC, MY CHILDHOOD, SPIRIT, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 34 Comments

OH BOY

Apparently the college where my kids are headed next month will attempt to enforce a 1-hour limit on parent help during move-in day. I say ‘attempt’ because I have a hard time imagining anyone limiting my Armenian-American spouse to just … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, MY CHILDHOOD, THE ARMENIAN IN-LAWS | 33 Comments

ONE HELL OF A READER

After years of deteriorating vision, my mother finally reached the point last week where she can no longer read. I can think of no one else who will miss reading as much. Whether Scandinavian detective novels or Téa Obreht’s Inland … Continue reading

Posted in HEROES, MY CHILDHOOD | 14 Comments

WHERE’S FEKKESH

1977 was a great year for movies. Star Wars was released, along with Annie Hall, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever, Julia, The Goodbye Girl, and The Turning Point. It was also the year I saw The Spy … Continue reading

Posted in DUMB SHIT I'VE DONE, MOVIES, MY CHILDHOOD | 6 Comments

LET US NOW PRAISE LORI McKENNA

I remember being shocked by the ending of Rocky. It was 1976. I was 8 years old. I didn’t know from sad endings. That this shy, courageous, kind-hearted boxer would lose the fight had not even occurred to me. I’d … Continue reading

Posted in MOVIES, MUSIC, MY CHILDHOOD | 3 Comments

EVERYTHING TURNS OUT OKAY

When I was three and a half years old, I went crashing into a glass door on the first floor of my family’s home in Chevy Chase, Md. The worst damage was not from my arm going through the door, … Continue reading

Posted in DUMB SHIT I'VE DONE, MY CHILDHOOD, SELF HELP, SPIRIT | 5 Comments

THANK YOU, MISS KOPP

Yesterday I wrote about a bad teacher. Today I write about a good one — Janice Kopp. Miss Kopp was my 6th-grade teacher. She was strict, scary, a grammar fanatic, and … utterly heroic. She remains one of the two … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, COURAGE, HEROES, MY CHILDHOOD, POLITICS, SAYINGS, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 31 Comments

WHITE FLIGHT

My first experience with racism was in 4th-grade, and it was basically every day, all year. In 1976, my school was “integrated” via school busing from the Rosemary Hills area of Montgomery County, Maryland. It was the first time I’d … Continue reading

Posted in MY CHILDHOOD, UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT | 10 Comments

DAVE’S A MESS

There’s a scene in the old hockey movie Slapshot where an opponent talks trash about the Chiefs’ aging player-captain Paul Newman. One of Newman’s teammates, Dave, is outraged. He drops his stick and attacks the opponent. A bloody brawl ensues. … Continue reading

Posted in COURAGE, DUMB SHIT I'VE DONE, HEROES, ICE HOCKEY, MOVIES, MY CHILDHOOD | 3 Comments

ON THE OTHER END OF THE LINE

It’s thrilling to feel a fish tugging on the line. After all the waiting around, your heart jumps at the first sudden jolt, followed by the frantic pulling, diving, and darting. The drama unfolds underwater. The anticipation builds as you wait … Continue reading

Posted in CHILD REARING, DOGS, MY CHILDHOOD | 11 Comments