Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Larry (25/365)

Larry F.: A bit nerdy, great smile, quick wit, produce man at H.F., fun work-mate and occasional dance partner. Had some sort of mysterious illness our sophomore year of college. Visited him in and out of the hospital a few times. Haven't seen him since.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Darlene (24/365)

Darlene: If friendships could be bought then she had lots of friends. Weekly after Hebrew School lessons, she would visit the little gift shop to buy candy and gum for her "friends". Willingly, they lined-up at her desk. The price? Be nice to Darlene.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tony (23/365)

Tony C.: In sixth grade, not quite sure how to best express my affections toward Tony; I squeezed and poked him on the bus ride home hoping he would notice me. He sure did. He sent Roseanne to straighten me out. My crush quickly ended.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Roseanne Lovelady (22/365)

Roseanne Lovelady: Her name alone bestowed her inalienable rights to educate us neighborhood children on all matters of birds and bees. She enlightened me in second grade. Years later when my mother had the “talk” with me I feigned surprise. Roseanne’s version remains vividly intact.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Mike (21/365)

Mike Y.: His high school football career was almost as promising as his drinking ability. In college, the drinking and other shenanigans finally won. Football... a lost opportunity. Two years ago his wife discovered him slumped over his desk. The steroids commanded his grand finale.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Cathy (20/365)

Cathy: Late to first period the first day of high school, Cathy calmly explained to Sister Nancy that she accidentally rode the wrong bus. Her tenacity fascinated me, as did her failure to realize she was the only girl on an all boy bus.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jim (19/365)

Jim (in 1967): Our postman let a precocious five year old tag along as he made his daily foot deliveries, sharing his stash of Starlight peppermints with her. His Irish eyes twinkled, always whistled while he worked. He clearly had the coolest job on the planet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sharon (18/365)

Sharon D.: Bottle blonde, wore her shorts too scant for a lady of her age and stature. Flirting with her lawn care crew like a common tramp, a cigarette unattractively dangling out of her mouth. Her laugh sounded old and haggard from all that smoking.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mark (17/365)

Mark F.: In fifth grade had a nasty spitting habit. Mr. Bultinck warned, "Do it again and you will be spitting into a Styrofoam cup." Mark took the challenge. Thirty-three years later the memory of Mark drinking his own spit is deeply etched. Miraculously cured.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Linda (16/365)

Linda: Neonatal nurse who has cradled dying babies in her arms, gently kissing their foreheads, guiding them from this life with such love and tenderness that she is proof that God sends angels to do work few others can do. She found her calling.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Eugene (15/365)

Eugene: He was five with freckles, wavy red hair, gorgeous smile and a personality so lovable I hugged him everyday. On Mother's Day he was on the sidewalk playing with Greg when the motorcycle came flying around the corner ending his short sweet life.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Millie (14/365)

Millie: Called to congratulate me the day my son was born, two days later she died from a stroke. Made the best chocolate chip cookies. Said her secret was softening the butter to the consistency of peanut butter. Her baking legacy continues through Melissa.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Jay (13/365)

Jay: Took what I believed, turning it inside out. Removing the last bit of naiveté from my mind. All this through the study of the Bible. All this from a man of the cloth. I am shattered, waiting in exile. My grace is gone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sandy (12/365)

Sandy W.: I was horrible to you. I am ashamed of all the hurt, suffering and pain I caused. This is my public apology. There is no excuse for the hell I placed on you. I hold myself responsible. You are in my heart. Sorry.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dave (11/365)

Dave: Thinking of him after all these years makes my heart skip-beat. We were star gazers until things took a turn. I watched him vanish on a bus, looking at me out of his window until I was just a speck. Waving Good-bye.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Julia Kathryn (10/365)

Julia Kathryn (in 1986): "Julie what is your name?", I ask my 3 year old niece. "Julia Carefree!", she giggles and off she skips until we reach the edge of the baseball field. She stops dead in her tracks refusing to go another inch because, "It dirty."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dick (9/365)

Dick: Great salesman. Everyone bought his spiel, everyone that is but the C.F.O. Now he's sitting in a cell block doing 25 for white collar crime. Daughter got married last year, none of the 250 guests bothered asking, "Where's Dick?" Lousy father and husband.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Aunt Helen (8/365)

Great-Aunt Helen: Never married, always wore sensible shoes, unafraid to take the "L" downtown, loved Daley. "Good Gravy! Did you catch the Cubs game? They won 12-6." "I just love those Beatles, watched them on Ed Sullivan." Have the honor of inheriting her jiggly arms.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Andy (7/365)

Andy: Andy told our entire fourth grade class how weird I was for dipping raisins in lemon flavored Jell-O. I laughed while inside hurting. The next day I looked inside his desk and saw a package of cherry Jell-O and a box of raisins.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Rachel (6/365)

Rachel: She was twelve and innocent the afternoon her mother told her, "take your two little brothers outside to play." Ten minutes later Rachel heard gunshot. She ran inside to see her mother lying in a pool of blood. Dead. Single gunshot wound.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

John (5/365)

John: The day we found angel dust in his drawer I was too young to know its' evils. His father shook sense into him, he did a 180. Now he stiffly goes about life. Everyone thinks he's terrific. All I see is his shell.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sheila (4/365)

Sheila: Tough as nails, mean as a snake, forbidden friend of Freshman year. Used to chain smoke Marlboros in her Catholic uniform. Years later saw her dressed in Blue in front of the White Hen eating doughnuts. Always knew she'd make a good cop.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ed the Philanderer (3/365)

Ed: My Godfather couldn't keep a certain part of his body faithful to his wife. His cheating ways cost him his marriage, friendships and the respect of his children. I think of him now all alone, old and shriveled. Was it worth it Ed?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mrs. Flannery (2/365)

Mrs. Flannery: Second grade teacher. Full of passion, sweetness, ideas and energy. Published my first book in her class...hand sewn, cloth cover. She set up a working post office, let each child be Queen or King for the day, instilled my love for learning.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mr. Bultinck (1/365)

Mr. Bultinck: Met Howard when he was 22. I was in fifth grade. It was his first year teaching. Some of his creative geniuses included field trips to Ferrara Pan Candy Company, Wrigley Field & a Bowling Alley. He encouraged me and helped build my confidence.