Lessons from my father

My father is the world's most quiet, unassuming, soft-spoken man - I think he had to be, just to balance out the dynamics in our household of talkative, easily excitable, occasionally crazy women. He doesn't say much, but the few words he does say - or his very silence - have taught me some of … Continue reading Lessons from my father

Ye Olde Pen Shoppe

Writer Adam Hochschild talks about “travel close to home.” You don’t have to go very far, he says, to enter into worlds other than your own. So lately I’ve been exploring routes off my beaten track, trying to enlarge the map of my everyday world, and just as Hochschild promised, I’ve been making some marvelous … Continue reading Ye Olde Pen Shoppe

Tales out of school

Michael Cook, editor of Mercatornet.com, tells this story about learning grammar under his Year 8 teacher, Sister Margaret Louise. "She was an elderly lady with a big heart, a ferocious temper and a passion for grammar. We knew our way around past and present participles, subjunctive and indicative moods and split infinitives. We had to. … Continue reading Tales out of school

Lost—and found

Have you ever come face-to-face, quite unexpectedly, with your younger self? I did, a few days ago. A friend of mine emailed a photo she found of a group of us, taken circa 1992, during a picnic in Tagaytay. Some of us are sitting, others leaning, on a fence. We're laughing and windblown. And maybe … Continue reading Lost—and found

The fourth B

You’ve likely heard of the classic trio of desirable qualities in a prospective partner: beauty, brains, and bankbook. To this I would add a fourth “B”: backbone. Because a person could be drop-dead gorgeous, or smart as a whip, or rich as Croesus, or even all three at once. But if you want dependability, initiative, … Continue reading The fourth B