Dear Niece, Last night I had bad dreams about the apocalypse without zombies, because I’ve been reading too much Huffington Post. Huffington Post writes about only three things on their main page: Apocalyptic Politics, Apocalyptic Weather, and Kittens. On the Black Voices page they write about Beyonce, Bill Cosby, and Apocalyptic Cops. Around 2:30 AM, I decided if things get too bad you should come up here to “The Wall.” Since it is remote up here in the Northwoods, we will be safer. In a city, we would have more access to better supplies, of course, but the supplies would run out eventually, and weRead More →

My sweetie made me bread pudding for my birthday. Is the dessert pan half full or half empty? Well, the GOOD news is that my belly is half full of Louisiana goodness, and you can’t go wrong with that. The other good news is that someone loves me enough to make me some of that Louisiana goodness. What a fine blessing. The other day he came home with cream and raisins. That was quite out of the ordinary, and it aroused my curiosity. I asked, “Honey, what’s that for?” He said he was going to make me something special for my birthday. I thought heRead More →

Jack Bilander and I have a parasocial relationship. I stalk him on the internet like a cast-off lover seeking any possible shred of information about who he’s romancing. I suffer from bouts of borderline personality disorder, speculating about his thoughts and yearnings. Time and again, I look at a particular photo of him, and think back on the brief period that I knew him personally. He was incomprehensible then, like the many other adult treasures in that period of my life. Jack was a flirt. People who’ve sold me his etchings and who knew him from the neighborhood describe his charm. I witnessed this truthRead More →

homemade lip gloss

A couple of Christmases ago I decided to skip shopping, save money on presents, and make things instead. Plus, rejecting commercialized Christmas is always good. Homemade presents are more meaningful and contribute less to landfills and capitalists’ pockets. Ironically, I ended up spending lots of money; buying presents would have been cheaper. The supplies came from hobby shops with right-wing agendas and whole food grocery stores with dubious health insurance politics. I purchased obscure things like bees wax, shae butter, lavender essential oil, and rose petals. Still, I had fun sharing tea and hot chocolate with several women friends while we expressed our creativity onRead More →

My gratitudes for daddy: 1. He was a supreme raconteur; I owe every story to him. 2. Whoever thought to put pears and cheese together? Whatever odd pairings in life, I got from him. 3. The persistent belief that cats know what you’re thinking despite your best efforts otherwise. ∞Read More →

My father spent time in federal prison for seeking to overthrow the United States government pursuant to the Taft Hartley Act. In 1952, it was against the law in this country to be an officer in a labor union and affiliate with the Communist Party in any way. At the age of 28, my father resigned from the Communist Party in Denver, Colorado, and ran for an officer position in a labor union. In 1956, at the age of 32, he was named as a Communist before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In those days, the FBI did not have to provide any materialRead More →

In the 1870s, Julia Ward Howe attempted to start a Mother’s Day for Peace. Anna Jarvis started Mother’s Day as a memorial for her mother, and did not appreciate its commercialization. My grandmother, a “right on woman,” completely agreed, but ate the candy anyway. Here is my grandmother, Anna Zuckerman, accepting an award for her service to the Susan B. Anthony branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.     We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth aRead More →

Christmas, 1967. The stuffed bear ever at my side is Loofy, short for Lucifer. Lucifer, a hand-me-down from my aunt, was a best beloved and devilish beast who stood up to hellish things in the night. If I recall the story correctly, Loofy was named after Lucifer brand matches. His name bears a pun, for Lucifer is the bear-er of light. Quite a Sells-family tradition, these thoughtfully punning names. The little love in my arms is my niece’s mom – my sister – the youngest of the three children in my family. From aunt to aunt, the story of my life.Read More →

My grandmother was a grassroots politician, not a legislator. To me that distinction is essential. It gave her a clarity of vision that made things simple; she moved through a world in which the work was hard but the logic was unquestionable. Where she moved, people followed. Yesterday at RootsCamp I heard some of her clarity. The keynote speaker was Frank Curiel, a labor organizer of forty years’ experience, who talked about what grassroots work means. You go to the hall, you see the people there, you talk to them, and you listen. The backdrop of listening, in his case, was the farm and fieldRead More →