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Stories this photo appears in:

Emphasis on the writer — a Reader group issue

The story I wanted to write, favorite books, deep night in San Diego, and contest winners from our readers

The Idealization of Jessica Trump She paused for a moment. I could hear her thinking, and then she said, “My spring break is next week, and I haven’t made any plans. I could catch a ...

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 ...


The woman we never forget.

"Careful, Ma; don't spill your soup," I warned. "First time you spill, that's it — you're going to the home.” Mom's reply was immediate. "I know. I've picked out what I want to take with me."

The Rock

We loved each other. We liked each other. We were buddies.

She was the hardest-working human being I've ever known. The first of her four children was born in 1940, the last, 4 years later. For the next 20-plus years she did what mothers did back ...

Life Is Full of Consolations

I never heard Mom complain about her annual pregnancy.

"Make sure you write about her peacefulness," my wife told me as I sat down to my computer. And if there were a one-word description of my mother, peaceful might be it. Irene Pilon, along ...

The Next Jean Harlow?

Mom had no time for psychology.

Betsy was a piece of work. There's a scene in Amadeus: Mozart scribbles strings of notes. Salieri gasps. Mozart feathers in complex tones. "Genius! Perfection!" shouts Salieri. "Oh no," says Mozart. "Now we put in ...

Bleach, Hand Cream, and Onions

A love that bordered on idolatry

"I visited your father's grave," my mother said when she last called. "And I gave his headstone a good kick." This is the sort of joke we share, my mother and I. Survivors of an ...

Rage to Kill

I haven't spoken to her in eight years, ever since she threw a scene at Taco Auctioneer in Cardiff.

I think I got my perfect pitch from my mother's side of the family. I got my anger from her side too. I call it the curse of perfect pitch. Or the chip-on-the-shoulder gene. My ...

The Letter Writer

Tragedy came to happy family in 11 short years.

My mother died at the end of October. At her wake, Duyen Pham asked if my mother ever wrote me, back in 1975. That was the year Duyen (13 at the time) and her family ...


"Mom. You can't let this situation stay this way."

"Careful, Ma; don't spill your soup," I warned. "First time you spill, that's it — you're going to the home. I'll know you can't take care of yourself." Mom's reply was immediate. "I know. I've ...

Talent for Joy

I have ever been the little old lady my mother will never be.

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his. — Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest Since differing with Oscar Wilde must constitute literary blasphemy, I regret ...

The Defender

I could stay here forever.

If I had known of such a thing at age 11, I might have told my mother I was having an anxiety attack. As it was, the only way I could communicate to her my ...

As Thin as Butterfly Wings

My mother continues to sew.

My mother was born in the high desert of northeastern Arizona. Even now it's a hard place to thrive, with rain unlikely and resources few. Her father built their house out of adobe bricks he ...

True in Love and True in Deed

My mother was becoming a feminist.

"A Woman's Place is in the House...and the Senate," read the banner on the door of the cabinet that housed our dinner plates and cereal bowls. Similar posters peppered the kitchen walls: "What if Prince ...

A Purple Paisley Pea Coat

I was left with Polyester Pants Mom.

I don't know quite what to say about my mother. I love her. I talk to her twice a day on the phone. She spent years tending to a pack of feral cats, and now ...

Speaking Only in Memory

Eight years old when Mom died

My mother died suddenly and in her sleep — with a peaceful smile on her face, my father said. I was eight when it happened, and I moved around my new life as if in ...

A New Definition of Shine

Even when she's quiet, you can see her brain working.

My mom has always understood: a mother's duty merely begins when she has children. Linda Bouvier took me to heart from the start — to museums when I was two, to symphonies at three -- ...

The Class Valedictorian

Forgiveness was not my mother's long suit.

We were buds, my mom and I -- until I hit puberty and became sullen and hostile -- a team, us against the world, a pretty blonde girl and a redheaded kid, walking among strangers. ...

What She Called an Overhaul

She took my father back three times, and then he was called "out."

The mother of my youth was never afraid. She wore splashy polyester pantsuits with a thin self belt. Every weekday at 6:00 p.m. she careened into our carport in Oakland on Penniman Street in her ...

Strength and Determination

She never took a break.

Mom, baptized Margaret Mary Howard, "Peg" to family and friends, was born March 20, 1932, in Fauleighter (pronounced Fall-ay- [clear throat]-ther), County Mayo, Ireland, to John and Margaret Howard, the third of five children. She ...


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