Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Mary's musical adventures

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“Guten Tag, Mutti,” writes Mary, from her post as our Correspondent in Europe. It seems there was a mix-up in schedules, and she made a whirlwind tour that covered southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland earlier this year.

Mary is not effusive. I may go on for 10 minutes about something I enjoyed, and from her I get a bemused “Umm.” Not to suggest she wasn’t paying attention. Au contraire, she can flash up that conversation years later, and is rarely wrong about details. Read More»

Las Vegas in August?

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Mary’s vacation plans are beginning to gel. She and Rainer and Hartmut (Rainer’s older son) are going to spend upwards of a week here in August before flying to Las Vegas for a week. Then Hartmut’s main squeeze will link up with them in Vegas and the couples will split off, the younger folks to go on to California for two weeks while Mary and Rainer fly to New York for a couple of days before returning to Germany. Read More»

Who will say goodbye?

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It was a rough week, last week, when the tribe gathered several times to say goodbye to recent members of the clan. Those left behind look around furtively, wondering, “Who’s next?” as another generation realizes: They are.

I’m an obituary reader. Can’t say I read every word of every obit – but I do read enough to recognize a neighbor or a church member. And I’ve been rolling a thought around in my brain. Read More»

Confessions of a television addict

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Now at the age when many parents deny they watch TV, Dave and I can look down our noses at TV fans who set their personal lives’ agenda to correspond with a favorite show. We watch very little TV, we repeat, smugly.

We were married so long ago that television had not yet scrambled high enough to throw a clear signal across the Pennsylvania hills and valleys in which we lived. If you could just make out that the shadow on the screen was the hero and the one on the left the villain, and as long as you could hear the dialogue, why, that was enough to follow the plot and marvel. Read More»

Babies are family too

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Ever since Dave became a grandpa, he has been positively ebullient about children and babies, and never passes up an opportunity to goo-goo in the sometimes startled face of a tyke in a grocery cart or a car seat.

I keep an eye on him, lest a young mother misreads his approach. He’s harmless, I want to say, and soon Mama relaxes and enjoys the attention paid her priceless treasure. And usually the tot responds with a gurgle. Read More»

Ltr. from Mary re. amnesty, vacation plans

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Since we don’t see each other a lot, I salute Mary’s accomplishments in emails and columns. I am so glad she’s my daughter. Although our time together was much less than I’d expected, we tried to spend as much of it with each other as we could.

She is having a wonderful life. Just wish a little more of it happened on the same continent as mine. Read More»

About time – Ding-dings and Bong-bongs

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When I search files looking for a ragtag of information I need for a column, I frequently find something I don’t even remember writing. I have all sorts of ideas, and the sudden discovery of notes or references may give me a start. Or not.

I’ve mentioned the tyrants that live in our house. Clocks. Real clocks, mechanically driven by weights or springs, not electric or battery-driven. Purists cringe to hear someone call an electronic device a clock. Read More»

Superman and hometown newspapers

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These short stories really have nothing in common except they are being published on the same day…

I don’t remember what aroused my interest in Superman a few weeks ago. Was looking for something else and lost track of time – when, “Look! Up in the sky!” There he was, on my laptop screen. No, actually it was a TV movie I had never watched. So I did, and found it winsome. 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 this was the Summer of the Boat. This was the summer we refurbished, added to and made a 25-foot Nimble Nomad 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»

There is reason to hope

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The past recent years of schoolhouse bloodshed has loosed a torrent of ink in the debate about what has gone wrong with America. An alarming bout of writer’s block has made me seek a subject published in June of 1999, and still current today.

Theories abound. We pick and choose among them: The Internet. God having been thrown out of schools.

The entertainment industry. The media. Failure of educators. Failure of parents. Failure of society.

Here’s my take, and a word of hope. Read More»