WVPE's 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!

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Commentary
8:28 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Christmas Caroling

Joseph Vasquez (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

As my wife and I were strolling through the neighborhood this week, we noticed a group of people walking toward us along the street. Most were teenagers, and they all seemed to be carrying sheets of paper. I said, “They must be Christmas carolers.” My wife said, “People don’t do that anymore, do they?” But as they were passing us, one of the adults said, “We’re going caroling. Would you like to join us?” He was obviously the youth minister, and it was clear to us now that they had come from the church at the end of the block.

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Commentary
7:30 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Christmas Cookies

Thirty-five years ago, my Grandmother Graber - from Goshen, Indiana - sent me a birthday card.  A simple yellow card with a picture of some flowers and a duck.  Inside was folded a well-worn ten-dollar bill.  For some reason, probably because we were living in England at the time, the card was put aside, together with its contents, and came to rest in a box of old family letters.  And there it stayed.  For decades.  Only this fall did the card, and the money, finally make its way back to me. 

This is what she said:

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Commentary
7:44 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Home Sewing as Art

“What am I going to wear?” could well have been Mother Eve’s thought as she prepared for her hasty foray from the flora and fauna into the larger landscape. Since the invention of those of the female persuasion, this has been the question. So, there Eve was, presumably with no good ready-to-wear boutiques, with the probably unhandy-as-dressmaker Adam, and with that damned talking snake having slithered off and now nowhere to be found. Nothing for good old Eve to do but construct the world’s first home-sewing project!

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Commentary
7:40 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Turkey Tales

 Starting in 1967 and for many years, a bunch of us who were single and courting and subsequently married folk, gathered for Thanksgiving. We divided the food preparation almost by status, with the host gaining the honor of cooking the turkey, and others the subsidiary fare. I started out making a baked onion casserole. Sound strange? It’s delicious. You take Vidalia onions—very sweet—peel and slice them in half, and put them in a glass baking dish with some “cream-a”: cream of mushroom, chicken, onion, celery, or broccoli soup, thickened with flour and some milk.

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Commentary
7:35 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Seneca Falls Blues

Here’s a tale of a feminist mother’s fantasy gone off the rails.  Spoiler alert: I am that feminist mother.  And the fantasy was the plan to give a talk at an academic conference with my own college-aged daughter and a friend at one of the hallowed sites of herstory – Seneca Falls.   All good.  In theory.

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Commentary
7:05 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Days of Remembrance

Combat veterans are a famously reticent bunch. Some of them won’t tell their stories to just anyone, and some won’t tell their stories at all. And in the stories they do tell, you have to listen for clues because they have witnessed things that nobody can fully tell another person. A friend of mine who served in the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II shared just a few episodes.

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Commentary
7:52 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Bicycle Obsessed

They say less is more, but I’m a girl for whom more is more.  I like things a lot.  I am zealous and easily obsessed or excitable.  I live my life well most days, but my obsessions can make me a little crazy.  I guess I am a binger.   I’m a little bingey.  I bingeth.  I am a women bingeonified.  Of course that was a word before I used it.

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Commentary
7:37 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Our Masquerade

Judging just by its economic impact, Halloween is the second-most popular holiday in the U.S. It's the day when you get to be someone else, and that someone indulges in sweets of all kinds without any concern for the consequences. Perfectly respectable citizens dress as ghouls and turn their front lawns into graveyards, playgrounds for ghosts and devils, and bloody crime scenes. On Halloween we get to try on a different role, perhaps becoming what we secretly wish we could be, in a world without real consequences.

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Commentary
8:29 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Our Trees

This was our first house. That first fall, back in 1993, we sneaked over here under cover of darkness, to rake leaves, even though we hadn't actually bought the place yet.  Two flimsy green metal rakes from the True Value on Main Street.  There was no fence, and we worked for hours under the night sky, dreaming and hoping the neighbors wouldn't notice.

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Commentary
8:16 am
Fri October 17, 2014

A Small Domestic Story

Usually I tell you small, domestic stories, and this one today is no exception, but today’s story, as well as being a bit more self-revelatory than usual,  also may be an allegory of a much larger topic.

In our family, my son, Joseph, has told a story of helping to launch his sons into the world of self-reliance when they were fairly young, by sending them alone to the check-in counter at the airport. This is what he saw from his yes-of-course-he-stood-back-and-observed-in-case-anything-really-went-wrong-and-they-needed-help, vantage point.

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