The first rule of knives, in my mother's teaching, was the most important because it has to do with people and relationships. The rule was simple: Knives are not given but sold. If you think a friend or neighbor (or child, partner, or spouse) might enjoy having a particular knife, then tape a penny to … Continue reading No. Knife skills are not bulls*it.
True to the period, the walls in the master bedroom were originally covered in wallpaper, glued directly to the plaster underneath. Instead of removing the wallpaper, Jackie (or, more likely, her mother) painted over it. At some point, Mrs. Jones (or, more likely, Jackie) added a layer of gold grasscloth to one wall in the … Continue reading Artifacts.
The first kitchen I remember is the one on Agnes Place, the house, built in 1912, where we lived from my toddler years until I started first grade. I remember five very specific things about this kitchen. The first memory is visual: The window above the sink looked out onto the back yard, where we … Continue reading The solace of my mother’s kitchen: Part 1
It was more the things left unsaid than anything spoken. When we bought Jackie's house, we knew several of the neighbors on the block, had many friends in the neighborhood, and found connections at every turn. Two of my mother's close friends had grown up on this block, one a couple of houses to the … Continue reading Secrets and haunts.
"Hey, how about you come to dinner one night, and I'll bring out some good wine, and you can teach me how to make that chocolate soufflé. I'm dying to know how to make that." Here are the things I loved about my first apartment, a first-floor gem in an classic old, brick building, situated … Continue reading Prequel: A light in the attic.
It is a bright September morning, and the weather has broken (as it always does, if briefly, after Labor Day) giving a hint of fall. I'm driving slowly through an old neighborhood, tourist-style, looking from porch to porch, block to block. I see a friend working in his yard, and I call through the open … Continue reading Jackie’s house.
It is our 22nd summer in Memphis. It is time now, in the midst of a global pandemic, racial reckoning, and massive upheaval, to tell the story of our house. But the story of our house, our home, would be void of meaning without the story of how we got here. And so, to start, … Continue reading An ordinary marriage.
The original plan was to write and post and share all of this stuff last weekend, but I was busy writing Charlie Brown's obituary, trying very hard to make it funny because if any dog deserves a funny send-off, it's Charlie Brown. One day you'll get to read that obituary and decide for yourself whether … Continue reading A few things: January 2020