Cutting the Cord

I now saw that talking to my parents was pointless. So instead, I typed them an email. I need to talk with you about things that happened in the past. I have a lot of memories I’m just trying to make sense of. I know no one’s perfect, and we all have made mistakes. ButContinue reading “Cutting the Cord”

The End of Family

The last time I saw my father was in Austin, Texas. I was 25. My brother and I flew down to see our parents with high hopes for their happiness. They said they loved the city, that they loved the pace of it, that they were happier there than in their Seattle suburb. My brotherContinue reading “The End of Family”

The Beginning of the End

A few months before my graduation, I came home after classes one day to find my parents in the living room. The lights had been shut off and the blinds drawn. The ivory sofa loomed gray in the dim light, and my father sat in the center of it like a king upon a dais,Continue reading “The Beginning of the End”

My Other Grandfather

My father’s father was made of different stuff. I never knew him as Grandpa because he died the year I was born. There is only one picture of us together, and in it, he sits stiff and unsmiling, his wire-rim glasses glinting at the camera. He has my father’s long solemn face and the sameContinue reading “My Other Grandfather”

On Seeing My Father’s Face for the First Time in Nine Years

I can’t say for sure exactly why, but two days ago, I sat down at my computer, opened Google, and typed in my parents’ names. I was overcome with longing to find out what had ever happened to them. We haven’t spoken in nine years. I hadn’t felt the least bit curious before in allContinue reading “On Seeing My Father’s Face for the First Time in Nine Years”

Why I Love Grad School, or Please Talk Career Options with Your Daughters

When I was 22, my undergraduate professors started to ask where I’d be going next. Everyone assumed it would be grad school. My art history professor, a supportive, wry-humored expert in Mexican art named Deborah Caplow, especially believed I would make a career for myself in art criticism and teaching. My future, cast in theirContinue reading “Why I Love Grad School, or Please Talk Career Options with Your Daughters”

Rage Against the Dying of the Light

I inherited my mother’s rage. And she had a lot to be angry about. Growing up in small-town Kennewick in the 1950s and 1960s, she was told she couldn’t do what the boys did. Couldn’t race bikes out in the street. Couldn’t beat them at math. So she did. But, as a consequence, she couldn’tContinue reading “Rage Against the Dying of the Light”