By Rebecca F. Rikleen

We were not the first owners nor the last owners of Blue Boy.  But he was ours.  I had been wary of buying a Ford in the first place; Ford the man was such a bigot, so hateful.


But price was right; the car was carefully used, and convenient and within our means. Plus it was a hatchback, great for lugging groceries and treasures from yard sales; the mileage was good.  I would overlook the dreaded personality of the namesake, long dead.


Ford was born in 1863. Blue boy was born 91 years after Ford.  Blue Boy served us well; we bequeathed him to my daughter Annie when he was 12 years old.  Now a year later, granddaughter Emily drove him to show us her apartment in Brooklyn.

At 125th St and First Avenue she slammed into a black sedan.  I wasn’t looking; I saw nothing till suddenly an enameled black wall loomed and then, with a jolt, our windshield smashed in myriad fracture lines; paper bags collected around my legs and greasy black smoke spiraled up from the motor. Continue reading

Kitchen Smells Story

By John Flack

As Susan was instructing me in class to write about an event conjured up by the remembrance of a kitchen smell, forming almost as she spoke, was a long ago Thanksgiving dinner at my Gram mom’s house.  Why that, I can’t say, but since it happened so quickly I have decided to write about it.

I was young, around the age of 8, I believe, and my family was at my Gram mom and Gran pop’s house for Thanksgiving.  They were my dad’s parents.  I always liked their house better than ours.  It was, and is, three stories, semi-detached and made of red brick.  Then as now, there was a small yard between the house-wide front porch and the hedge abutting the sidewalk.  The house, the lawn, the hedge and the metal gate in the hedge were always well-maintained by Gran pop while he was alive.  The house and the lawn never changed and seemed ageless.  The road in front, crowded now with cars during rush hours, was much less travelled then.  It has a long history, being originally built by Swedish settlers in the early 1600s as a means of getting to the interior from their village in Upland, on the Delaware River.  It may be the oldest road into the interior of Pennsylvania.  The house was given as a gift to Gram mom and her new husband in 1913 by her parents who ran a business of some kind in downtown Media – the small town in which we all lived.  My father was born there on the second floor in 1917.  His sister, my Aunt Helen, was born in 1920, but I think she was born in a hospital.

As best I remember, it was late in the day around 3 or so when we parked out front, opened and closed the gate and entered the living room through the front door.  I imagine Gram mom had been in the kitchen prior to our arrival, preparing dinner and, although she is cooking a turkey, just like my mom did, the smells are different – to this day I remember the difference, although just like then, I can’t figure out why nor explain the difference.  I just know it was.  It is the only holiday meal I can recall eating at their house.  My gram mom was a very good cook and I remember enjoying it. Continue reading

Don’t Cut Your Neighbor’s Trees

By Peggy Strait

Did my husband Roger and I ever think that we would own a mountain?  Well, not exactly a whole mountain, but so much of one that we now call it OUR MOUNTAIN.


It all began one summer afternoon in 1968.  Roger, our nine-year-old son Paul, and I were leisurely spending the day at our recently purchased fisherman’s shack of a Hudson River country house when I read something startling in the New York Times.


“Look at this,” I said to Roger.  “Land for sale in the Catskill Mountains for only $59 per acre!”


Roger was definitely interested.  He was born to American missionary parents in the beautiful, forested mountains of Burma.  If there was anyone who loved mountains and trees even more than I, it was Roger.


Next morning, before I was out of bed, Roger had contacted the owner and gotten directions.  I quickly packed some food for the trip. Then, the four of us  – Roger, Paul, Paul’s pet Doggie, and I  – got into our VW Beetle and drove west along Route 28 into the heart of the beautiful Catskill Mountains, to the home of Mr. Redmond, the owner of the land for sale, located on Route 28 in the town of Arkville.

Continue reading