Michiana Chronicles

The Michiana Chronicles writers bring portraits of our life and times to the 88.1 WVPE airwaves every Friday at 7:45 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 through their individual e-mails and thanks for listening!

The Funeral Home

May 23, 2014

It's early Friday morning and I'm sitting in the parking lot of a funeral home, eating a sweet roll from Dunkin Donuts.  Well dressed employees are arriving all around me  They stare quizzically.  I smile back.  I'm not here for them - I'm here for their wiring.

Last  night, I get a text from my boss.  Meet me tomorrow at the funeral home.  We need to replace some speakers in their chapel. 

"Wow! There are a lot of people in this community who are interested in grave-robbing. And lots of them are sort of old. That's pretty creepy­" That's what I said to history-buff, Larry, as we stood at the South Bend City Cemetery one recent Saturday. We were waiting for a program presented by the Center for History to begin. The plan was that Travis Childs from the Center for History was going to trot us around the cemetery in conjunction with the Saint Joseph County Library's "One Book, One Michiana" selection for 2014, Frankenstein, talking to us about local grave-robbing lore.

From the Ethereal

May 9, 2014

From the ethereal to the earthereal, the fun never stops. I woke up Monday morning with my arm hanging limp from my shoulder. A little body English would have swung it around in circles like a mean boy with his sister’s rag doll. Lit-tel story. Sunday I played bodhrán—the Irish frame drum—as I describe it, north-end-of-a-south-facing goat—to accompany a glorious choir, the St. Joseph Valley Camerata. I bought a new suit for the occasion! Know when the last time THAT happened? When I got married-1970.

That’s me … trying – ugh, so thunkingly – trying to remember how beauty works.  I used to be able to play Chopin’s Nocturne, Opus 72, Number 1 in C minor as if it were second nature – easily, beautifully.  I’ve felt hungry for its sadness and sweetness in my fingers these days, so I’ve cracked open my old music book.  Muscle memory is carrying me part of the way back to the song, but it takes more effort than I expected.  My muscles dimly remember, but my fingers are stiff, and a decades-old injury from a delicatessen meat-slicer has left my middle finger numb at the tip and fumbli

Crackpot Notions

Apr 25, 2014

Now that the sidewalks have cleared and like a happy cat the days are stretching into evening I find myself once again taking walks. For me as an introvert long walks are perfect for flicking off the cares of the day and musing on various crackpot notions. I wave to neighbors and get back to fine-tuning my crackpot theory about the American presidency, which goes like this:

Dear Mom

Apr 18, 2014

I am (almost) glad that you died when I was thirteen years old.   Last night John and I watched the movie "Everybody's Fine" where parenthood and life can go wrong and painful. Afterwards I went up to Libby's bedroom where she was finally asleep, and I lifted her up in to my arms, onto my lap and I held her and rocked her and cried into her soft, sweet neck.  Then I did the same with Portia.  Neither of them woke up, They slept the deep sleep of little girls and good living.  I thought of you.

Sugar Camp Days

Apr 11, 2014

Ah, the sweetness of springtime! The almost-budding trees! The slowly warming air! And, warmest of all, the pancakes! There’s nothing like a pancake breakfast to get you through the final frosty days. For people who want to confront this problem head-on, there’s “Sugar Camp Days” at Bendix Woods County Park.

Teaching Ukulele

Apr 4, 2014

Last fall, quite unexpectedly, I became a guitar teacher.  The director of a local music program contacted me and said, Our guitar teacher just left town.  Can you fill in for him?  Next thing I knew I was presented with a roster of seven students, five of whom had never played the instrument before.  And ten days to prepare.

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