"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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Something Old — Ten Ideas, Old and New, From a Mother of the Bride

Something old -- the cream colored pumps I wore for my 1977 wedding were too long and too narrow for Christina's foot. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Something old — the cream colored pumps I wore for my 1977 wedding were too long and too narrow for Christina’s foot. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue. — Old English Rhyme

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I thought my 40-year-old shoes would make a perfect “something old” for Christina’s wedding trousseau in May. So did Christina. My wedding shoes couldn’t be more vintage but, given their boxy shape, my daughter and I thought they could easily pass for stylish in 2017.

Too bad that the shoes were too narrow for Christina’s feet. And my lacy 1977 wedding dress was too small.

As the mother of the bride, with lots of years to my credit (my past [Read more…]

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Little Girl Lost — My Mother’s Magical Babushka

A street corner in downtown Detroit, 1942, showing Kern's department store. Public domain via Wikipedia Commons
A downtown Detroit street corner, 1942, showing Kern’s department store — in
summer. Public domain via Wikipedia Commons

 

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

When I was three or four years old, my mother took me shopping in a big department store in downtown Detroit.  Crowley’s, Kern’s, Hudson’s? I can’t remember.

I do remember that the  ceilings were high, and that the dark, worn wooden floors [Read more…]

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Winter Solstice — My Mother’s Last Words to Me Before She Died

Tinka Falconer enjoys Nordstrom Cafe chicken and berry salad. Photo by BF Newhall.

A few months before she died, my mother celebrated my birthday with a chicken, berry and candied walnut salad at the Nordstrom Cafe. Photos by BF Newhall

My mother died three years ago this Christmas season. A friend remarked earlier this week that when her mother grew close to death, “There was nothing left but the love.” That’s how it feels to me. [Read more…]

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My Mother’s Goneness

Small tweed and leather purse. Photo by BF Newhall

My mother liked her purse’s tweedy, sporty look. Photos by BF Newhall.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

My mother is gone. But when she died she left a few things behind, a battered old purse and a small sofa she liked to call the loveseat. The loveseat had followed her [Read more…]

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