VERY PERSONAL ESSAYS

Read these opening lines and click for the rest.  Jon Roemer took the photo of me, my books, and my diaries. (Confession: my office is usually a whole lot messier.)

Five Things I've Learned From Being an Advice Columnist 

School Library Journal

"I've been Dear Carol since the magazine's first issue in 1994..."

Time with Mom

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"My mother was not a hoarder, but she sure was a saver…"

Dividing Mom's Ashes: A Labor of Love

     Chicago Tribune 

"I was eleven the first time my mother talked to me about death. Mom was speaking in the abstract about 'pulling the plug,' and I burst into tears and ran out of the kitchen…."

A Daughter Remembers

Cigar Aficionado

"My father was a big man who smoked a big cigar. As a young girl, I wore the golden rings from his cigars with pride. As a grown woman, I still like the rich smell of a fine cigar…."


To Grandmother’s House We Go

Chicago Tribune

"I adored my dad, but did not love my grandmother. I wanted to love Grandma Sophie. I wrote her letters when I was first learning to write, back when I was figuring out 'dear' versus 'deer' and where to put the stamp…."


Thank You, Dear Abby

Huffington Post

"When Dear Abby died on January 16, I was suddenly 11 again, sitting in my best friend Judy's kitchen, snacking on Pop-Tarts and reading Dear Abby's column aloud. One day, Judy's father listened in and said, "I bet she makes up the questions." "I bet she doesn't," I countered, surprising myself. Since when did I contradict grownups? Since when did I defend them?" 


A Chance to Say a Final Goodbye Through Email

Chicago Tribune

"In 2000, when I was new to email, our friend Miguel called from London and told our answering machine that his father had died and he was flying to Boston. It seemed impersonal to email condolences, rather than write a proper letter in black ink on manila card stock, but that's what I did…."


A Letter to my Teenage Self

Dear Teen Me

"Here you are in white cap and gown graduating from Byram Hills High School in Armonk, New York with no idea that you’re going to grow up and be an advice columnist…."


Road Taken: On Teaching

Middlebury Magazine

"My husband and I never dreamt we’d teach at Middlebury. It doesn’t seem so long ago that we met as students. Rob Ackerman ’80 was in Spain on a junior-year abroad, and I was getting my master’s in Spanish. We met in a graduate theater class in Madrid…."


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