Magical Memoir Moments

Mama Kate extracts a splinter from Lydia's finger.

Vintage Dress Photo Shoot at the Home Place

Several weeks after we moved to Lititz, PA, I invited my daughter Kate, granddaughter Lydia, niece Joyous, and her daughter Anna Mary to join me in exploring a pile of vintage clothing I bought in the late 1980s at my Grandpa Hess’ estate sale.The dresses had stayed in closets in Goshen, IN; Kalamazoo, MI; and…

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Sam and Todd Dickinson at the Bull's Head pub, Lititz, PA

Living a Dream: Owning A Bookstore

How many people living in a big city dream of getting away from it all, moving to a small town, and setting up a shop? How many harried professionals wish they could buy books, read books, and talk to customers every day? How many parents of young children wish they could go into a family…

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Daddy adn Mother with little brother Henry and me, about 1955.

One is Silver and the Other Gold: Making Friends after 70

When I was about five years old and discouraged about some relationship with another child, I asked my parents how to make a friend. My parents were both young, in their twenties, but on this subject they were wise beyond their years. “To make a friend, be a friend.” Did my mother say it, or…

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Neighbors Donna and Anna having an early-morning chat.

Porch Culture: Where Architecture and Hospitality Meet

A few mornings ago, I stepped out my front door here in Warwick Woodlands, and there was neighbor Donna talking to neighbor Anna over the porch railing. Just the sight of them gave me a pleasant little frizzon — that “electric feeling behind the navel” that informs me that something profound is speaking to me….

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Grandchildren l-r: Lydia, Owen, and Julia. They all came to Lititz to celebrate the Hershey Family Christmas we missed in 2020.

“Whatever Happened to That Book You Were Going to Write?”

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may recall that I wrote a prayer on February 15, 2020, asking for guidance and strength as I undertook a new book-writing project. I had no idea that a month later the whole country would be closed down due to a pandemic. Nor could I have…

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Juneteenth: A Black Holiday With a Place for White People Also?

Positioned between two worlds of Harrisonburg, VA, and Lititz, PA, right now, I am sitting in Lititz, listening and watching virtual performances of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival broadcast from Harrisonburg. Under the direction of Amanda Gookin, the festival is both in-person and virtual as the nation emerges from the isolation of a pandemic.  …

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L-R Sisters Doris and Sue, me, Suzanne Groff, Dale Groff

Was Tom Wolfe Right or Wrong: Can We Go Home Again?

“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time—back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”   –Thomas Wolfe Thomas Wolfe…

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Walking the tunnel through Afton Mountain was one of our last Virginia adventures.

A Very Moving Experience: Sorting, Giving, Tossing, Selling, Keeping

We are counting down the days now — seven left! One week before we drive north, our car packed with paintings and blankets. Our lives as Virginia residents behind us. Our new lives as Pennsylvania residents ahead. Fortunately, we have had three months to prepare for this transition. A journey of 225 miles begins with…

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Nadine Block

A Role Model Shows Up in the Inbox: Plus, A Book Giveaway

All my life I have looked ahead to someone older to help show me the path ahead. Role models, we sometimes call these people. I started early, looking up to my neighbor Shirley Clark. She was a member of the safety patrol. I became a member also. Last week someone who just might qualify as…

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Photo by Jack Rutt

From This Valley They Say We Are Going: Another Turning Point

 A few days ago I wrote about the long, cold winter our family has endured. This week new life has erupted. Daffodils are budding, and the early ones are dancing in the breeze.     This beautiful passage from the second chapter of the Song of Solomon speaks for us: “Arise, my love, my fair…

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