My Ever-Changing Family

Our family shrinks and grows. People die. People get born. People get mad and won't talk to you for a while. Kids grow up and find partners of their own, and pretty soon there are brand-new in-laws.

My Old Stuff — A Little Moldy, a Little Dusty, but Unlike Certain People It’s Still With Me

My grandmorther's pince-nez with gold chain, hairpin and laminated metal case from J.H. Chinnery, optometrist, Scottville, Michigan. Photo by Barbara Newhall

My grandmorther’s pince-nez with gold chain, hairpin and laminated metal case from J.H. Chinnery, optometrist, Scottville, Michigan. Photo by Barbara Newhall

I love my old stuff. I couldn’t get rid of it when I wrote this piece back in 1987, and I can’t get rid of it now. The ski boots and baby bottles are gone, but we still have the crutches.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, The Oakland Tribune, Sept. 6, 1987

Things. They stay where you put them. They don’t talk back. They don’t upchuck on the Persian rug. Things don’t have to be fed, clothed or diapered. They don’t require thank-you notes or post cards from Tahoe. [Read more...]

Share

The Perfect Christmas Tree — I Finally Found It

Rows of perfectly shaped christmas tree on a tree farm. Creative commons photo

A Christmas tree farm. Photo: liljulier/flickr via Creative Commons

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, The Oakland Tribune, Dec. 24, 1989

Christmas trees. Some of my most intense childhood memories have to do with Christmas trees. When I say intense, I’m not talking magic – I don’t mean twinkling lights and “Joy to the World.”

I’m talking galoshes. Galoshes caked with mud and slush. Fingers and [Read more...]

Share

Little Girls Are Superior to Little Boys — Here’s Why

A 5-year-old boy wearing shorts holds on to the arm of a 3-year-old girl in a dress. Photo by BF Newhall

Boys and girls find out at an early age that boys have something that girls don’t have. And it’s not what Freud claimed it was. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, The Oakland Tribune, June 1, 1987

Little girls are superior to little boys.

This fact is not written down in black and white anywhere. The popular baby books talk warily around the topic of sex differences. And researchers will make only minor, technical concessions to the superiority of girls. [Read more...]

Share

The Weekend I Talked — And the Kids Listened

A traditional house in an snowy, tree lined neighborhood in southwest Minneapolis offered by Edina Realty. Photo by BF Newhall

A traditional neighborhood with lots of charm in southwest Minneapolis. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

You know your kids have turned into grown-ups when they listen to your advice. I don’t mean take your advice. I mean listen – gently and kindly – as you talk away about how you did things when you were their age. Or how you did things last week. Or how they [Read more...]

Share

For Wetter, For Drier — I’m Married to California

The hills of southern California on the Grapevine near Gorman are grey from drought. Photo by BF Newhall

Normally these slopes on the Grapevine near Gorman in Southern California would be a lush green from winter rains by now. Instead they are a spectral silver-grey with last year’s dead grass. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Note: This column first appeared in the Oakland Tribune on February 19, 1989, during a California drought. This year’s  droughtis far worse, Jon tells me.

Basically, there are two kinds of Californian. Those who are delighted by a sunny February day. And those who are dismayed. [Read more...]

Share