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Staff-written issues

Reader rock critic Steve Esmedina, editor Judith Moore, dads, moms, first day of school, Danielle Van Dam murder scene

Blubbo's World Reader writers and other friends remember Steve Esmedina. "Blubbo, oh Blubbo, where do I begin? You’re dead, gone, laid out rotting in a casket somewhere in the ground; and if that’s just your ...


29 Reader writers on their fathers

To commemorate Father's Day, this issue contains a collection of reflections from Reader writers about their fathers: The Last Tag Sale — Jeanne Schinto An Air of Exoticism — Duncan Shepherd Kinder Than I Would ...

The Last Tag Sale

I help Dad move out before he remarries.

I notice he has thrown away some color slides — family pictures. The bag breaks and they spill out. I don’t say anything, just pick them up off the driveway and put them in a ...

An Air of Exoticism

A photo of him directing Charlton Heston at Northwestern in The Male Animal. Him with Helen Hayes. Him with Lillian Gish.

My father was older than other kids’ fathers. The disappearing and already disappeared hair on the top of his head offered testimony to that. The mustache that linked him to an earlier generation of Hollywood ...

Kinder Than I Would Think Possible

My dad’s life as a writer demonstrated to us that we don’t have to lead ordinary lives.

When I got in trouble, my father’s impulse was to hug me. He did punish me for the little things, but when I did something corrupt, committed a youthful transgression that had the potential to ...

What He Is, Is Dead

O, Papa, how I wish you were here to kiss my cheek and call me Kitten.

Dead, dead, dead is what I think now when I think, “Father.” My father’s dead. My father’s underground. More than a decade, my father’s moldered. His big belly’s deflated. His big belly’s dust and rubble. ...

Positioned on a Pedestal

He credited his conversion to reading C.S. Lewis and the letters of St. Paul.

My father died in the autumn of 1989 of congestive heart failure. His name was Lester and he was 79 and, as he recedes into the past, he gradually ceases to be a single human ...

Coffin Nails

Seeing Casablanca, I imagine, led him to the Camels.

I was born on a Sunday evening in May 1953, so I probably first tasted cigarette smoke, first inhaled it, the following Wednesday. If my dad smoked as he drove my mom and me home ...

A Self-Made Man

Happiest when he raced jalopies in downtown San Diego

There were six pairs of Sunday school shoes lined up on the kitchen floor every Saturday night, three little patent-leather pairs with rounded toes and a single strap across the top of the foot, and ...

By No Means Mr. Mom

He let me pick the music and blast it, even if it was Mötley Crüe.

Wolf’s Breath Chili. That’s what I’m making for you, Deeda my pigeon sweeta.” The words whistled out from beneath the chip in my father’s front tooth. He danced around the kitchen and executed a combination ...

Bopodondo from Macondo

He once gave the shoes he was wearing to a barefoot man.

As my father lay dying, on June 29, 1990, I held his ice-cold hands. We didn’t say much, at first. Didn’t know where to start. Then I asked if the legend was true. His family ...

Real Parents

Dad was adopted.

At breakfast my father asked me what I thought we should do if, in Grandma and Grandpa’s safety deposit box, we found the document identifying his real parents. The year was 1967, and he and ...

Why the Tie, Why the Canoe

A giant of a man in a small place

There is nothing better for a man but that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God. — Ecclesiastes 2:24 My father’s ...

My Father Never Stopped Moving

He repaired the damage from snow Tamarack Lodge received every winter.

During my adolescence, my father had a hard time keeping a job. His problems began when I was 11. We lived in Pine Valley out in East County. My father sold surgical supplies for a ...

Time on the Court

I asked five women out a total of eight times, and they all bailed on me. One didn’t show up at all.

I have never thanked my father for one of the nicest and most difficult things he ever did for me, because until I thought of it just now, I didn’t realize he had done it, ...

The Man Who Loved to Dress Women

He consigned my clothes to the flames.

“Never put a rat on your back.” I was five years old, hurtling through the subway station in New York, on the way to the garment district with my father when he gave me my ...

The Collector

My mother didn’t think much of all the “crap” he brought home.

He is old, now, my father. If he were a Toyota Corolla he would have well over 200,000 miles on him and you’d be wondering just how soon the old heap was going to seize ...

The Guy Who got the Lazy Boy off the La-Z-Boy

He jumps onto the rear three inches of the toboggan and yells “Yahoo.”

He likes rhubarb, polish sausage with sauerkraut, and mincemeat pie. He looks like Paul Newman and walks with a John Wayne swagger. (My sisters and I thought he was just cool, but later in life ...

His Lightness, My Weight

My birth was a clear break with his previous life.

Until he lost consciousness eight hours before his death, my father was lucid. He did have night terrors, usually around 4:00 a.m., when, animated by morphine dreams, he’d rise cackling from his bed, hairy arms ...

You Don’t Have to Like Him

"You’re right. I’m just no good. I’m such a bastard.”

This Father’s Day I won’t send my father a card. I won’t see him, I won’t call him. I probably won’t think much about him. I’m being paid to think about him now. It’s not ...

Blue Milk Tickets

He loaded his truck in the morning and came back with empty bottles at night.

My father went to work 6205 days in a row, give or take a few, from 1945 until 1962. Until I was 16 and my cousin, Jackie, 18 or 19. We were both old enough ...

He Hung On For Dear Life, And So Did I

My anxieties on becoming a father

On December 31, 1997, my wife was five months pregnant with our first child. We’d gone to bed early, I’d dreamed a bad dream, and then in the earliest hours of the new year I ...

Pleasure Principle

He developed an aversion to the very word “fun.”

I’m grateful to my father, Bill Grimm, for many things, the first and most fundamental of which is my life. As the 16th of 17 children, I’m thankful to my dad — and my mom ...


In the summer of 1959, he took me to a drive-in to see Gregory Peck in Pork Chop Hill.

Sometimes, when I hear or think I’m hearing the voices of the dead, they thrum in my head like hundreds of bees I once heard in a blossoming almond tree. Other times they are the ...


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