Dr. Margaret Burns answered an ad I placed in the Asheville, NC, Citizen-Times while I was researching a novel set in the mid 20th century at a private psychiatric facility. I remember the first time I heard her voice; it was low-pitched and direct (blunt almost) while at the same time curious in a kind way. Southern mountain all the way.
In her mid-eighties, Dr. Burns was still seeing an occasional patient and worried a bit about outliving her money. She was eager to share with me her recollections of the practice of psychiatry all those years ago. She felt Highland Hospital (affiliated with Duke University) had generally been a healing place. To my great surprise, I learned that the hospital’s director and at least half of its medical staff were female.
This Valentine’s Day greeting is late, and I apologize. No matter how you spent yesterday, how many chocolates or roses you received or sent, how many delightful cards arrived in your mailbox, and whether or not you awoke this morning with your heart’s desire, there’s more to be done.
Romantic love is one of life’s greatest gifts.
No one at the public radio station warned Phoebe Hoss not to read the f-word. She’s 84, after all, with white hair and lovely manners. Perhaps the interviewer thought it unnecessary. Never mind, she read it anyway, although you didn’t hear it if you were listening, thanks to some sound engineer.
Flying from the lips of her then 9 year-old son as he looks for a weapon to attack his friends, the f-word appears repeatedly in the opening of her book, All Eyes:A Mother’s Struggle to Save Her Schizophrenic Son.
I have two new heroes this week: Diane Ravitch and Dennis Kucinich don’t have a whole lot in common, but both of them exhibited the rare ability to hang onto their principles and change their minds at the same time. We could use more leaders like them.
During the run-up to the 2002 Congressional election, I was traveling in South Georgia. One ad, run repeatedly, caught my attention, because it featured candid shots of New York Congressman Charles Rangel whose wavy silver locks brushed the collar of his custom shirt in a style that was more New Orleans than Savannah.
Although race was never mentioned, the voiceover proclaimed that if Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, voters could look forward to the ascension of this obviously dark-skinned man to the Ways and Means Committee chair.
Random reflections on politics, the media, political activism, women's lives and spirituality, often inspired by travel, cultural events or what I read.
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