Lux et Veritas

I had the good fortune to attend Yale’s commencement ceremony a few days ago; and also visit the campus for the first time. I saw “Lux et Veritas” pretty much everywhere. “Veritas” was my high school’s motto, so I knew the meaning of that word straight away: veritas means truth. I wanted to believe “lux et veritas” was “luxury and truth,” but somehow, I knew that would never pass muster as a traditional college motto. Much less a college with a history as long as Yale’s. After a bit more thinking, I figured it out: it’s “light and truth.”

Light and truth: I’m a big fan of both. I’m also a big fan of Niece Emilie, who was receiving her master of public health in environmental health sciences. It feels very appropriate that the place she chose to advance her studies has a motto that speaks to both the brightness and integrity she holds in spades.

Yesterday, I traveled south from Connecticut (technically, New York, where I spent the night after the graduation) to Baltimore. That’s where I am now, for work. I go home tonight, but then I leave again Saturday. To spend a week in Ireland with Husband Tim! Telling you this as a means of explaining the brevity of this post, and also to let you know that I’m taking next week off from blogging. I’ll post about the Ireland trip after I’m back.

In the meantime, here are some photos from Yale!

Statue of former Yale president Theodore Dwight Woolsey. His foot has been burnished gold from people rubbing it for good luck.

Anticipating My Birthday


Today is my birthday. I endeavor to post to this blog on Wednesday of each week, and my birthday just so happens to fall on a Wednesday this year. Thus, I find myself composing a birthday post.

This occasion seems an appropriate time to share something my mom put together, way back when she was expecting me. She and my father celebrated their fifteenth anniversary with a trip to San Francisco, about two and a half months before I was born.

My mom was a scrapbooker extraordinaire. About two years ago, when my siblings and I were clearing her house, I was fortunate enough to find her scrapbook documenting the San Francisco trip. (I wrote about the monumental task of going through my parents’ house here: Clay.)

I really dig that I got to make this trip with my parents, even though I have no memory of it. (It would be pretty remarkable if I did.) Seeing my mom’s distinctive handwriting makes me wistful, but also so very grateful to have such a concrete and indelible memory of her.

Here are a few snapshots from the scrapbook. But first, here’s some context:

Mom refers to herself in the third person (Ida). Ger is my dad.

Carmel: she’s my godmother. She looked after my six siblings, ranging in age from fourteen (Debby) to three (Stephen), while my parents were in San Francisco. God bless her. A remarkable woman I’ve been meaning to write about forever.

The Herberts: my parents’ first neighbors, when they were newly married and living in an Army barracks. I’ve always heard that they were not neighbors for long…six weeks? six months? Yet my parents maintained a lifelong friendship with the Herberts that saw many reciprocal visits between California and Louisiana.

The trip began to materialize in May, when Ger asked Carmel if she would stay with the children — and she agreed! This was to be a surprise, but Carmel convinced Ger he should tell Ida enough in advance to give her time to think about what she should take. (Dear Carmel!)
So on June 15, 1969 we left via National Airlines for San Francisco! Ger rode the jump seat & Ida was in the other end of the plane. Had one stop in Houston…
…then landed smoggily in San Francisco. After some looking around we found the Herberts & vice versa…got our baggage and drove out to Portola Valley to visit our first neighbors — the Herberts! Tom & Mary Ann; Tommy, Suzanne, Terry
Dad looking like he has a top knot; Tommy, Terry & Suzanne bring to mind the saying “the coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco”

Carmel’s epilogue: Welcome Home, I had a grand time. Hope you did too. I apologize for Stephen. Very pink back. He didn’t seem to care, but I was guilt ridden. Except for dinner time which became hazardous for hearing, we had an uneventful interlude.

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Last weekend, I took a break from my City Park wanderings and attended “Signing in the South,” a meet-and-greet event matching up more than thirty local authors (myself included) with readers. Many, many thanks go to author Taylor Anne for launching this inaugural event. It was wonderful! I met new readers, handed out nearly all the bookmarks I had promoting my soon-to-be-relaunched novel, and met some other writers face-to-face. I definitely plan to reach out to these authors in the future.

And, not only was the weekend a nice boost to my career as a fiction writer, it also turned out to be a really fun and memorable road trip. Niece Nicole and Niece Cece accompanied me on the three-hour drive to Lake Charles, Louisiana. “Signing in the South” took place there, at the Isle of Capri Hotel and Casino. I feel really blessed to share so many interests with the younglings in my family. Not only does it make communication easier, it makes for a lot of good times. And since these two particular younglings are in their twenties, we could go about the casino at will.

A few memories from our time in Lake Charles:

This is where the gambling took place. I was the only one to partake. I lost $4.75.
Nicole observed that the carpet looked like the Cephalopods’ language in the movie “Arrival.” What’s the message here?
On our way home, we stopped for boudin balls in Iowa, Louisiana. Trust me, they’re delicious!