Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Mary's Letters in Spring

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Found a few letters I had filed away in case of column depravation. So many of you tell me you like to read of Mary’s adventures in Europe. Permit me.

In case you are relatively new to town, let me introduce you to our elder daughter, Mary, an opera accompanist in Dusseldorf on the Rhine River in what we used to call West Germany. She works an irregular schedule hinging on rehearsals and personal coaching, and gladly gets on a bus to help with a distant venue and a company of mixed nationalities. Read More»

Some Thoughts about Time

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This column originally appeared in The Citizen in July, 1999.

Time is money, they say, but no, it isn’t. Time is not money, and cannot be measured in the way money can.

You can earn money and spend money and keep track of money. While you may not know exactly how much money you will have at a given time in your life, you probably know whether your paycheck will cover expenses, how well your investments will do, how much a pension plan will pay — and you can amend income or reduce outgo.

Money is predictable, trackable. You know how much is in your account. Read More»

Being a matriarch is hard

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We’re looking forward to a gathering of the clan this summer, on a smaller scale than this one in 2001. Good to review sometimes.

Breathes there the mom, with soul so dead, who never to herself hath said, “This matriarch stuff is not all it’s cracked up to be”?

If you’re a reader of op-ed pages and letters to the editor, you’ve surely been following the controversy Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen ignited when he wrote that rearing a child is not the world’s most difficult job, as parents who leave the work force often claim. Read More»

The Summer of '99

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The Summer of ’99 will go down in our personal history as one of the best we’ve had together.

We didn’t travel to speak of. Didn’t do much boating. The weather was not especially pleasant.

But 1999 was the Summer of the Boat. This was the summer we refurbished, added to and made a 25-foot Nimble Nomad trawler our own.

Two previous owners had loaded her with toys that would have taken us years to add. Life jackets for more people than the boat would comfortably carry. Electronics Dave had only dreamed of. Pots and pans, plates and tableware – even a tinkly little set of wind chimes. Read More»

Losing it

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I remember promising not to regale you with pitiful complaints about how this, the last portion of my life, is playing out, but since I’m in charge here, I’ll do what I please.
It’s this thing of losing stuff. Losing one’s car in a parking lot: that’s irritating but usually very brief.

Last time it happened to us, right here in the Kroger lot, a man who recognized me for what I have become: a ditzy old lady floating along in space and time,not knowing what the day or date it is. In spite of Dave’s skewering a hollow “golf ball” to the antenna of our small Toyota. Read More»

Under the clear green leaves

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An amazing springtime this year, what? The perfect blue sky, the emerald curtain of fresh green drawn around our little bit of earth, clouds like vanilla ice cream comes.

And time to gasp as vista follows vista, banks of azaleas, each trying to shock the senses once again.

One of those little gems in time appeared in front of City Hall Sunday afternoon, as the Founder’s Time Line was unveiled and applauded. And how often do you get to dedicate a historical dateline with plenty of the original cast included? Read More»

Blockade ... part 2

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The great Alaskan Ferry Misadventure, a fishermen’s blockade in Canadian waters, continues....
Before the end of the first full day, Mary and Rainer opted to fly on to Juneau. With a limited vacation ticking away, they booked flights to Ketchikan by Taquan Air, where Alaska Air took them on to Juneau. We’re not sure yet how much of their suddenly soaring expenses they’ll be able to recoup. Read More»

Blockade, Part 1

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As often as we have traveled in eastern Europe, Ireland, England, Gibraltar — all potential hot spots — it never occurred to us that we could find ourselves in the midst of an international incident on this continent.
Canadian fishermen, charging Alaskan fishermen with violations of fishing agreements, blockaded Prince Rupert Harbor in British Columbia, preventing the Alaska Marine Highway ferry from leaving on its northbound route.

With us on it. Read More»

Washing dishes: A memory of 1994

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They pushed back from the table.
“Would you like us to do the dishes?” one asked, her tone clearly reflecting her enthusiasm.
“Well, you know we usually do them by hand, and I doubt if that’s what you had in mind,” I replied.
“Whatever,” the other shrugged, eyes distant, in that universal teen code that compresses into one gesture the idea that there’s not much she can do about it anyhow, so she might as well bear with this adult and get “whatever” over with. Read More»

Frank and Aunt Mary Jane

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Who is the oldest person you know? goes the television commercial.
Twice in the past month I was grieving for “the oldest people” I knew. First for Frank Klein, then about a week later for Aunt Mary Jane Wilson.

Mary Jane died peacefully in her house-atop-a hill near Carlisle, Pa, where she had raised her four sons and her daughter since about 1940, and worked as office manager in the family’s paving operation when her husband died in 1971. Read More»