"Wrestling with God" book with Barbara Falconer Newhall

Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith

"Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read the words of this fine author and observer."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

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A Lost Child in Wartime Detroit — A Headscarf Story

the story of a lost child in the old crowley's department store. File:Partirdge & Blackwell.jpg (category Department stores in Michigan) & Blackwell Department Store in Detroit, Michigan Date 1910 Source Library of Congress-Prints & Photographs online catalog Author Detroit Publishing Company

I was a lost child in a dark and cavernous department store like this one in downtown Detroit. The store might have been Crowley’s, shown here in 1910 when it was still Blackwell’s. Photo Courtesy Library of Congress. Author Detroit Publishing Company.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

When I was a little kid, three or four years old, during World War II, my mother had a yellow babushka. That’s what we called headscarves in Michigan, back in the ’40s. Babushkas.

My mother wore that yellow scarf whenever she went out into the winter cold, but I couldn’t see the point of it. It was a triangular, crocheted thing that went over her head and tied in a half-knot under her chin. It had big gaps, holes, between its soft strands of crocheted yellow cotton.

If I wanted, I could slip two or three fingers through the holes [Read more…]

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My Ancestral Ghosts — Are They Haunting This Halloween House in Minnesota?

Could my ancestral ghosts be haunting this Halloween house in Red Wing, Minnesota. This duplex, built in 1920, probably replaced the house she lived in. Photos by Barbara Newhall

Could my ancestral ghosts be haunting this Halloween house? My three-times great-grandmother lived at this address on Third Street in Red Wing, Minnesota, more than 100 years ago. This duplex, built in 1920, seems to have replaced the house she lived in. Photos by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

The maple, ash and elm trees were turning gloriously gold and carnelian in Red Wing, Minnesota, earlier this month. Front porches up and down neighborhood streets sported witches, spiders, ghosts, and fat, round jack o’ lantern faces trying hard to be scary.

As for me, I was hunting phantoms of my own. I was looking for my ancestral ghosts, one George J. Richards and his mysteriously named Dutch [Read more…]

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My Long-Lost Dead Ancestors — I Found Them in a Parking Lot

The 1600 block of Minneapolis's Seventh Avenue South where my long-lost dead ancestors once lived is now a parking lot fronted by high rises. Photo by Barbara Newhall

The 1600 block of Minneapolis’s Seventh Avenue South, where my long-lost dead ancestors once lived, is now a parking lot fronted by high rises. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Yes, you can locate your long-gone ancestors. You can pin them down to an exact place. Locating ancestors is not quite as easy as googling your high school boyfriend. But it’s fun, and only a tiny bit more challenging than the Tuesday New York Times crossword puzzle.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been digitally trailing some of my  [Read more…]

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The Writing Room: Write About My Aging Mother? I Don’t Think So . . .

 
Tinka Falconer on the exercise bike after broken hip.

Within a few weeks of hip surgery, my mother was doing physical therapy at a skilled nursing facility. Photo 2010 BF Newhall

Barbara Falconer Newhall, June 5, 2010

Ten reasons why I’m finding it impossible to write about my 92-year-old mother, even though she’s all I can think about right now:   

  1. I love my mother, and I don’t know how to write about that. [Read more…]
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