My Name was Supposed to be Elizabeth Ann

— Stories from the Roads (Not) Taken

Valentine’s Day is next month, but I want to tell you a love story. There’s a boy, yes. And a girl. And they are young, though they feel like adults. They have recently been separated but are now reunited, ablaze with certainty in themselves and their future together. When our story begins, they stand, improbably, …

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As I write, Thanksgiving is a few days away, but I’m already listening to Christmas music while cross-stitching ornaments. Usually I wait until after Santa arrives in Herald’s Square to start prepping, but this year I started early. The ornaments take awhile, and the music… I credit my son. Recently, my daughter accompanied me on …

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I remember meeting with my guidance counselor in seventh grade and, while I can’t recall their name or gender, I can recall knowing the answer to their VERY SERIOUS QUESTION but not whether it was the right answer. Which, when you are a somewhat bookish kid and also a pleaser, yanks your innards in a …

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Middleswarth potato chips are to central Pennsylvania what cheesesteaks are to Philly.  You can’t get them anywhere else, and nothing else compares.  After college, trips back home always included pit stops to the Sheetz or turnpike hubs to stock up on their BBQ barrels, tangy sweet deliciousness to which I introduced my husband and then …

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(*WARNING: the following contains spoilers for Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner) By now you should have read through chapter twelve of The Kite Runner. And please don’t tell me you’ve read when you haven’t. I’ve been doing this a long time and I can tell, especially with this book which contains so many deftly plotted …

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My least favorite chore used to be  grocery shopping. All those hours spent moving items from the shelves to my cart to the belt to the bags to the car to the house to the kitchen, only to hear several hours later, There’s nothing to eat.  A minor thing to complain about, then. Not so …

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One of my all-time favorite novels is Khalid Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, which I believe contains one of the most engaging and efficient first chapters I’ve ever read. In it, 38-year-old Amir lives in San Francisco and reflects on an unexpected phone call from Rahim Khan, a family friend in Pakistan who offers Amir “a …

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I packed books when I left home mid-March, but I have not been able to read them. They require an emotional energy I cannot muster, so they remain unopened in my bag. However, I can still read poetry. Mornings as I drink my coffee, I read my daily poems from Poets.org and The Paris Review. …

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When you’re a kid, disaster is the sound of silence. Of adults’ metallic whispers like needles in your ears.  It tastes like soda, sweet and carbonated, tickling your nose and throat as you swallow, then sloshing in your overfull stomach.  It is also the words of a forbidden book. ***** It begins as a gift–an …

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