From April 13, 2004, me (center) with my friend, Cathie, and her husband, Phil, among the Redwoods.


Not too long before our wedding, my husband Mike introduced me to his friend from work, Phil. A product of the early days of online dating, Phil met Cathie. After a whirlwind romance, and a few days in Lake Tahoe, they married, returning home to surprise all with their news. With their lives being from two locations, his family in Chicago and hers in San Francisco, they agreed to move to California.

Despite my students’ concerns that I would “turn gay” by visiting this part of the world, Mike and me spent Spring break 2004 visiting this couple.

Continue reading A Forfeited Trip

IMG_2402At the corner of Milwaukee and Racine, in Chicago, a ghost bike honors fallen bicyclist Lisa Kuivinen, who was trapped and dragged to her death in 2016.


I had hopes that this short story would be part of a project called Intersections, which was going to be a display and book in memory of those who died from any sort of road accident through any art medium. Either there weren’t many entries or the project simply fell apart, but I was inspired to contribute a piece.

My husband works near the location of her death, so he suggested I look into the accident at that intersection.

Here’s the resulting story:

Even in the middle of August, when the heat index is supposed to reach over 100 degrees, there are those days when Mother Nature decides to give everyone a break from the oppressive temperatures. Melvin Perkins could care less about the weather; he’s more concerned with keeping the electricity paid for to keep his bride of three years along with their two-year-old daughter cool whenever they wanted. Carole has been out of work since decided that being a telemarketer wasn’t her thing; she choose homemaking instead.

Continue reading At Milwaukee and Racine

Rekindling Readers

IMG_2372Books for the Students First Classroom Library collected so far this summer; some were donated from relatives, others sent by supporters from Virginia, a bunch I bought – all are meant for the readers of room 236. 


Twelve weeks into last school year, I was so excited. Finally, I was going to actually establish a classroom library. This idea was my hidden dream – I supposed I was meant to be a librarian and not a teacher…but I had to do it. I just had to…

Way back in the fall, I attended Illinois Reading Council’s Day of Reading Conference where I was enthralled by Kelly Gallagher. Not only have I read a few of his books, Readicide, Teaching Adolescent Writers, Deeper Reading, but I knew this guy knows his stuff simply because he still teaches. He’s with those of us who try to make a difference. each and every day. He’s real…not one of those who now speaks all day long telling me how to teach, while being clueless with what’s really going on these classrooms. Students’ eyes constantly glued to a screen. Their fly-like attention demanding the answers to opinionated analysis questions. Clueless parents unsure about the person I am contacting them about.

Continue reading Rekindling Readers

Summer’s Heat, Tempers Rise



Image from Facebook via Chicago Sun Times from the video of the Saturday, June 24, 2017 incident involving an off-duty Lansing, IL police officer and a Lansing, IL teen.



Since the towns where I live and teach are two separate locations, I hear news about my work city via Social Media and the news, be it the actual printed or electronic newspaper or television. Being aware of what I’ve missed is critical during breaks due to the fact that I want to be aware of what’s going on. This morning, all of the major networks’ broadcasts mentioned a Lansing, IL teen was assaulted by an off-duty police officer.

The first thing in my mind was: Does this incident involve one of my kids?

By kids I do not mean, biological, but as one of the kids I teach – be it I had taught them or will teach them. The young man involved is not one, as of yet.

He is fifteen, black, and scared due to the whole world being introduced to him as the teen whose face was shoved into the grass. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have seen students of mine placed in this position.

Continue reading Summer’s Heat, Tempers Rise