The holidays aren’t complete without the
macabre sight of our neediest brothers and sisters lined up all over
town in inclement weather waiting for handouts — boxes of food, a
turkey, clothing, maybe a voucher or two for free furniture.
By now, the staggeringly high childhood
obesity rates in this country should come as a surprise to no one, and
neither should the health issues that go hand-in-hand with what’s become
the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting more than 30
percent of children in the U.S.
He sat on that tiny chair across from me
and poured tea and talked to me in the blackest British accent that was
awesome and made me giggle. He turned up the pinky finger of his
drinking hand and kept my little cup filled. (I took lemon and sugar.)
And even in the vestiges of his boyhood
in his overtures toward independence, he does what all our children,
grandchildren, nieces and nephews among him do. He is looking for his family. Even when he is letting go, he is holding on.
What work ethic I have — especially the stamina and energy to plow through until the end — I got from her. Our mother never stopped. My three blood siblings and the four stepchildren she raised can all attest to the fact that she never stopped parenting us.
Marjorie Celona’s Y and Leah Stewart’s The History of Us
are more than just novels by writers who happen to be female; they’re
sensitive, psychologically complex works that deal the nature of
identity in ways both singular and incisive.