Michiana Chronicles

The Michiana Chronicles writers bring portraits of our life and times to the 88.1 WVPE airwaves every Friday at 7:35 am during Morning Edition and over the noon hour at 12:30 pm during Here and Now. Michiana Chronicles was first broadcast in October 2001. Contact the writers at chronicles@wvpe.org and thanks for listening!

The Shepherd's Life

Jul 3, 2015
Published here by permission of the photographer.

You read a book about what? You’re recommending a book about what? That’s the reaction I’ve been getting from people, and I can’t blame them. There are sheep on the book’s cover, after all. What does that have to do with our life? Shepherds on harsh yet beautiful mountain farms in a far corner of a distant country?

We Are Caitlyn

Jun 5, 2015
ABC News.

I wonder if people will look back on this moment in history and say that this was the week when transgender people began to be understood and respected around the world. Caitlyn Jenner has completed her public transformation from “he” to “she,” after a long process of struggle and change that was grounded in personal truth. The event of her self-presentation in Vanity Fair seems comparable to Magic Johnson's 1991 HIV announcement. That event universalized the AIDS epidemic and made it possible for people to see the unfolding tragedy as something that belonged to all of us.

Justin Solomon (@JSolomonCNBC)

In the movie State and Main actor Alec Baldwin plays an eratic and irresponsible fellow who at one point manages to get his station wagon airborne on the streets of a small town. When he emerges from the wreckage he laughs nervously and blurts out just three words: “So that happened.”

Gimme Shelter

Apr 3, 2015

My daughter is building a shanty. 

She comes from a long line of shanty builders.  In our family, we have been building these makeshift dwellings since our oldest child first set foot in Central High School.  It's a project for World Geography -- normally sometime in ninth grade.  And it's a great opportunity . . . for procrastination.

In my view, my son is a perfectly competent human being. In my son’s view, I am a fight-picker.

Now, I think that the way he became a perfectly competent human being is due to stellar direction from not just the village, but in large part from me. That being the case, it stands to reason that others too easily can benefit from my direction. That’s not fight-picking; that’s the sharing of information and life-experience. I ask, how could anyone possibly interpret the giving of a gift such as that as spoilin’ for a fight?

You know, sometimes I think my troubles started when I learned how to read. A good book stops me in my tracks—political ones, such as The Way of the Knife—about the CIA’s secret army; histories, like Vietnam and America; novels, mysteries—I just finished a chronicle of the Gastonia, North Carolina, 1929 textile strike—and a novel that surrounded that experience with the beauty and anguish of the mountains: Call Home the Heart, by Olive Tilford Dargon.

Telling the Truth

Mar 6, 2015

Oh, month of March -- I greet you with an ambivalent heart. After all, the snow still falls outside the big window in our little kitchen – that relentless lake-effect sifting that isn’t a storm, it’s a state of mind.  Still, I tromp through the crusted drifts to our forsythia bush to cut twigs to force into clustered canary blooms in windowsill vases.  The twigs are rough bronze on the outside but fierce green within.  Dead? Or Alive? I’m forcing them – and myself – to remember what hope looks like. 

Two Women on Their Way

Feb 27, 2015

The youngest member of our family will graduate from high school in a few weeks. On Tuesday we wandered the maze-like corridors of the neighborhood school for our very last set of parent-teacher conferences. We said our farewells to beloved faculty members and to the rows of brightly-colored lockers and to the just-a-little-dusty trophy cases and framed and fading photographs of the valedictorians of 1962 and 63 and 64. The cunningly tedious FAFSA financial aid report will put its dagger deep into the heart of our weekend.

Graham King--Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Once Upon A Time, when I was fat in the way only a healthy twenty-five-year-old girl can be fat (i.e.: perfect with tiny flaws only she can see with the help of three hand mirrors and a bad romance) I did yoga naked. Well, mostly naked. In the secluded backyard of my friend's house, with two wonderful gal pals, we did (almost) naked yoga one fine summer day. It was glorious: warm sun shining on our nubile bodies, wind rustling our hair. The naughtiness of it was thrilling and dangerous . . . until we heard someone call out!

Joe Chaney

Two winters ago on the Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i I met a man in his mid-thirties, a Midwestern loner who’d been kicking around on the island for five years. He was from one of those wheat-growing plains states with stubble fields caked in snow to the horizons, and he didn’t talk much, but I kept nudging the conversation along, speaking of the beauty of the island, saying how nice it must be to live there. Dreaming of a life in paradise but clinging to my pessimism, I ventured the supposition that jobs were hard to come by.

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