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Category Archives: family history and genealogy
June 14, 2017 by Mara Purl
My father let us see that love really is reciprocal. I helped him walk when he was ninety-nine, reassured him his journey made sense, made a difference, and had value greater than the gold of kings. When it came to the real paternity test, he passed with flying colors. Read more
July 5, 2015 by Mara Purl
In my memories, honeysuckle twined itself densely through the framework along one wall of the wrap-around porch, sweetening the air. In the cool of the cellar, I reached high to grasp one of the scores of jars of applesauce my grandmother had made. My little legs pumped hard to make the rope swing go higher. I sat on my granddaddy’s lap and asked for the hundredth time to listen to his “tick-tock”—his gold pocket watch. The aroma of biscuits wafted out from the kitchen.
May 11, 2015 by Mara Purl
I came away with the impression that most of the greats and grands of the family were quite heroic in their way, surviving the Great Depression, serving in the Great War, and coming home to tend their farms and care for their families.
July 14, 2014 by Mara Purl
For her final birthday, we planned a unique performance. Mom designed a dress for me to wear, and had her wonderful seamstress make it. A dazzling green organza confection, it made me feel as if I was wearing jade sliced as thin as clouds—and then she gave me her jade jewels to go with it. I knew this would be the last dress she’d ever give me.
August 19, 2013 by Mara Purl
Projects have always been a way of life for the Purls. Sometimes a bane, sometimes a boon, projects define our time and express our various core purposes. That’s what I’ll miss the most, I think—that I won’t get to do the next project with Mom.
July 14, 2013 by Mara Purl
“A Year for Mom” are posts written the year of my mother’s illness and her passing. It had started as one of Mom’s bright ideas. Though she and Pere had been unable to fly to California to see my sister Linda perform the remarkable one-woman show The Year of Magical Thinking, she imagined that, somehow, the show could come to her. Read more
May 10, 2013 by Mara Purl
The first time I saw a picture of my darling nephew, he was making the thumbs-up sign in an ultrasound image. Close to the time of his delivery, my sister asked, “If he comes in the middle of the night, should I call you?” I answered, “Every other woman does!” This was literally true, since my husband’s an obstetrician. We laughed, and then dashed to the hospital at the appointed hour. Read more
November 28, 2011 by Mara Purl
I think as a child I probably loved Thanksgiving because of the future—it meant Christmas was coming soon! It was also a holiday I anticipated with great joy because it meant we’d go visit Grandma Dorothy. She married my step-grandfather late in life—but just in time for my sister and me to adore her. The house she shared with “Daddy Bob” was a classic New England cottage in Waterbury, Connecticut. Cape-Cod-Blue with white trim, it stood erect despite the steep street that seemed to slice under it.… Read more
November 14, 2011 by Mara Purl
“Who done it?” Why do we get so caught up in solving mysteries? I have several readers—whose names I shall not divulge—who regularly e-mail me demanding to know who killed Chris, and whether she’s really dead, and when the crime will be solved! And I thought I was the only one who couldn’t sleep at night wondering about the characters of Milford-Haven!
My accomplished friend Margaret Coel has equally marvelous stories about the obsessive nature of readers and how involved they become with her characters. At our event last weekend, she recounted some of the “helpful suggestions” she receives regarding her two protagonists, and how their life-dilemmas might be solved.… Read more
August 30, 2011 by Mara Purl
I like to think of myself as unsinkable. That’s probably a good thing, given my affinity for water. An ocean-lover at age three along the Connecticut coast, I became a competitive swimmer at my school in Tokyo (where I grew up), and always knew I’d live along the California coast someday. It sure came in handy to think of myself as “unsinkable” when I crewed on a Greenpeace voyage to save whales. And I’d say it’s been an even more useful quality during the heaving storms of a career in the entertainment business.
We can’t think of the word “unsinkable” without thinking of Margaret “Molly” Brown.… Read more