May 2013

The Reluctant Grown-up by Fred Amram

Swastika symbol on army equipment

In 1938 I was five years old and I could already feel my childhood slipping away. Mutti first noticed my developing maturity one day when a loud demanding knock frightened her. Mutti’s face tightened and she pursed her lips. The Victorian pallor, in which she prided herself, seemed especially white. We both looked at the door as if awaiting a miracle.

Switched at Midlife by Sharon Carmack

rotary phone and cell phone

I wasn’t expecting another daughter. I was expecting a mother. But there comes a point when mothers and daughters switch roles. Her voice on the phone: “Hello, Sharon? This is your daughter.” I smile. “No,” I say. “I’m your daughter. You’re my mother.”

Debbie Did by Deborah Thompson

blank nametag on woman

Forty-seven years ago my parents named me Debbie. The birth certificate says Deborah, but the intention was always Debbie. They said the name was unusual at the time, and that their choice had nothing to do with Debbie Reynolds. It was a good Jewish name—but not too Jewish. It just felt right.

Flat Rate Archives by Mary-Colleen Jenkins

Vintage Envelope and Paper stained from water

The boxes are sitting on my Seattle steps, bright white against the dark, mildew-stained stairs. I heft them up; they’re surprisingly heavy. I elbow my way inside the front door and drop them on the table with a thump. The red and blue lettering reveals nothing about what’s inside, though I have my suspicions.

Firsts by Nathan Evans

nathan evans

The first time I kissed a girl, it all happened—the way defining events sometimes do—at four in the morning. We were in a student room the size of a large packing crate facing on to what might have been Oxford’s most modern and least lovely quadrangle.

Holy Tribunal by Jane Hammons

Jane Hammons holy tribunal paperwork and ring

When I open the envelope containing a notice from the Diocese of Oakland that my EX of several years has petitioned for a Declaration of Invalidity, my first reaction is to laugh and toss the paperwork into the recycling bin. But the words toll like solemn bells throughout the day. Ecclesitasticum, Ajudication, Decree of Constitution. In the grip of the language as I had been some twenty years ago when I made the mistake of converting to Catholicism, I retrieve the paperwork.