Category Archives: history

The Tale of John Leak and His Foot of Clay

Once upon a time, spring had begun for the more than 4,000 people in a booming Southern town named after the Marquis de Lafayette. Trees and shrubs—forsythia, azaleas, redbuds, and wild cherries— provided a dazzling palette of yellow and pink … Continue reading

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E Plebnista: A Sardonic Meditation on American Greatness

Twenty long days have passed since I last put thoughts to words and words to (virtual) paper. I have not written about the gleeful euphoria with which I anticipated the election of 2016, the exquisite pain with which I learned of … Continue reading

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Rutherford B. Hayes, Who Are You–and Why Are You Tormenting Me?

In the summer of 2012, my husband and his 12-year-old daughter went on a 2,200-mile bicycle trek from Selma, North Carolina, to Austin, Texas. They slept mostly in tents, usually in a manner known to long-distance hikers and cyclists as … Continue reading

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Sticks, Stones, and Mayhem in the Marketplace of Ideas

In a lifetime of writing, I have spent many grueling hours perfecting the art of the compelling introduction–to say nothing of the time spent crafting clever and thought-provoking titles. For my current topic, however, I am afraid that I have … Continue reading

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Finding World War I: Fact, Fiction, and Truth in Pat Barker’s “Regeneration Trilogy”

We are living moment by moment through the centennial of the war that neither ended all wars nor made the world safe for democracy–catchphrases so cheap and aims so lofty that even as the armistice was being signed on November 11, 1918, … Continue reading

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Our Whole Heart: Language and the Book of Common Prayer

Along with the King James Bible and the collected works of Shakespeare, the Book of Common Prayer has permeated the English language and given Anglophones worldwide some of our most beautiful and evocative phrases. Even the most secular among us get … Continue reading

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The Mering Chronicles (cont. from 6/11)

Hang-ups, hanging out, and hanging on I visited Dr. Mering’s office often to receive assistance with my writing, to ask for suggestions for outside reading, or simply to satisfy his curiosity about how “this girl from a little mining town in the West” … Continue reading

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Rites of Passage Part III: John V., Il Miglior Fabbro

Learning at the feet of the master  In furtherance of my naïve but exuberant efforts to learn how to think, my history T.A.-cum-guru John Hosmer suggested that I take a class with his Ph.D. advisor, John V. Mering. It was the … Continue reading

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Rites of Passage Part II: My Endless Summer of Thomas Wolfe

A naïve and sheltered twenty-year-old baby boomer from a copper-mining town in Arizona who asked her revered teacher/guru for a list of books to teach her how to think, I probably didn’t expect the internal cataclysm that ensued. But I … Continue reading

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