Missing Mariani

“Mariani? No, she left for England Friday.” I turned and gazed across the dining room of the pizza joint, tried to focus on something across the room as an anchor against the swell of emotion these words brought. I was at Portofino’s Pizza #13, in Kifisia, a northern suburb of Athens, Greece. It was the…

Forty red azaleas

Amsterdam: At The Florist

I awoke in a Vermeer painting. Watery afternoon light slanted through the high mullioned windows, creating shafts of golden bright contrasted with deep shadows of ocher and umber. I blinked and looked around, puzzled. My sister dozed in an armchair and I remembered. It was Saturday, February 14, 1981, and I had just arrived in…

Where Is My Mother?!

Parting: Are You My Mother?

Act I: Racine, Scene 21: Parting Exterior, bright, bitter cold (-5F), 7:45 am, Thursday, February 12, 1981. Hotel vestibule in downtown Racine, Wisconsin. Glen, age 16, and his mother Rita stand in the vestibule in heavy parkas, waiting in awkward silence. Rita:       Can you give me Lori’s phone number? I may want to talk to…

Where Is My Mother?

“Act II: Greece” It was 2012, I was 47 years old and I was writing what I call a “therapeutic memoir.” I had known for a while that writing it was necessary. I had to take one more close look at all the painful stuff of growing up, having ignored it for several decades. I…