Tag Archives: Portland

Would you let partisan politics ruin your family?

  In my summer travels and writings, I recently had an opportunity to see the play “The City of Conversation,” by Anthony Giardina. The play is about family and politics, and how the latter could affect the former. In short, and without diving into the work itself too much, the play is about two strong women, […]

My Father’s Day

On Pearl Harbor Day, 1996, I came home early from work, and within minutes of walking in the door, my sister called with news of our father’s death. After hanging up, the poet Robert Lowell came to mind. A New Englander who spent his life at odds with an old-school father, Lowell once wrote: I struck […]

Her eternal search for E.E. Cummings

  I‘ve made the pilgrimage before, even in the rain. Early one morning, under a misting sky, I drove down to Boston – specifically, to Jamaica Plain. My last visit had been years before, yet I followed the course by memory. Urban landscapes can change in 35 years, but finding Forest Hills Cemetery is never […]

A hotel room for Christmas

  My best Christmas was spent in a hotel room, and I have the candy jar to prove it. Filled to capacity with old, inexpensive holiday ornaments, it sits at home on a bookshelf and collects dust, yet remains a treasured possession. In the early 1990s, I used to make monthly pilgrimages to Iowa to […]

Stage Names: What Martin Luther King, Jr. tells us from Portland Stage

PORTLAND – About halfway through Portland Stage’s current production,  “The Mountaintop,” a fictional, near-fantasy account by Katori Hall of the last night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life in a Memphis motel room, I heard the echo of Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) : “This is not a biography; is the confession of every man who struggles.” Those words, […]

Patti Stevens found suicide in the realm of tortured souls

The recent tragic case of Patti Stevens, the Dallas, Texas area woman who took her own life on Oct. 25 in the wake of her husband Dave’s brutal murder by schizophrenic former Texas A&M football player Thomas Johnson, once again brought the scourge of suicide to the national spotlight. Indeed, in an eerie parallel to Andy Warhol’s  alleged “15 […]

Seared in memory: What were you doing on 9/11?

In my lifetime, there have arguably been three events considered show-stopping cultural icons; instances when, years later, someone might ask: “Where were you when … ?” or “What were you doing when … ?” The first was President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. As a young boy not yet in school, I didn’t grasp […]

Caribbean wedding conundrum

A few years ago, I received an invitation to a wedding of some distant cousin-in-law taking place in the British Virgin Islands. It was the fourth such request I had received that year. My friend Bill happened to be the groom in one of these weddings. It didn’t escape me that in each of those […]

Zaftig zucchini, anyone?

A few days ago, I texted my friend Amanda (side note: a captain on U Maine’s cheerleading squad in the 1980s), and asked her how her famous gardens were doing, specifically her zucchini. Her answer back was telling: “I don’t do zukes because there are always fools like you growing them, and giving them away.” […]

Looking into the eyes of freedom

Whenever I walk the Revolutionary battlefield in Concord, Mass., I’m heartened by our nation’s resilience. Studying the world-famous Minuteman statue, and on the same ground where, in the spring of 1775, a hastily formed American militia awaited King George’s troops, I can’t help but value the cost of freedom. This drive for liberty, however, was nothing […]