Saturday, August 13, 2016

New dogs, old dogs, jobs, and life......

Seriously. What's new in pink & blue with y'all?

We've been in our home a bit over a year now, and I've been in my job about the same. I've learned soooo much in this past year and feel so fortunate to have a wonderful boss and to love my job.  My absence for so long was down to having 1 full time and 2 part time jobs, and no, the blogging and reviewing aren't included in that. It's hectic but fun...
HRH isn't with me 2 afternoons but she's often with Papa those days, thanks to his retirement. At least once a month she has a "sleepover" with Mama. It's a big thrill to her thankfully. We know that's not going to last forever. Here she is at the beginning of the month on an outing with daddy.

DH has retired. It's been quite a change and we're still adjusting. He's becoming a better "housewife". :)
Our youngest went off to college last year and DH thought "we" needed something to take care of. I didn't share the sentiment but wasn't asked until it was a done deal. His need resulted in Talullah. 

These were taken a couple months after we brought her home. She'll be a year old the end of November. She's grown a bit since then. She managed to kill the slipper before it got any of us while we slept and in the other she's begging for ice cream. She scaled DH's legs and made it to his chest and the ice cream. She was rewarded for her climb. Now she can jump into his lap.
Many of you may recall my westie, Riley. It'll be 3 years this Nov. since he passed. He sure put up with a lot, especially when he was old and HRH came along. Can't say I was ready for another dog but it's good Talullah isn't a westie. Right, wrong, or indifferent there'd be comparisons and she'd fall short.


Better get back to work. Please share what you're up to, reading, whatever. Look forward to reconnecting with & hearing from y'all. 


Not sure why but I've been fairly nostalgic lately, and not necessarily for times I actually lived in or remember. Funny how these moods can take you & color so much.
How about y'all? What have you been reading and has it been influenced by your moods?
Anyone else feeling nostalgic?

 Bright lights. Big city. Brutal murder.
Chicago, 1938. Late one night before the ten o'clock show, the body of a prominent radio actress is found in the station's lounge. All the evidence points to murder—and one young, up-and-coming radio actress, Vivian Witchell, as the next victim. But Vivian isn't the type to leave her fate in the hands of others—she's used to stealing the show. Alongside charming private detective Charlie Haverman, Vivian is thrust into a world of clues and motives, suspects and secrets. And with so much on the line, Vivian finds her detective work doesn't end when the on-air light goes out...
The gripping first novel in a new series from debut author Cheryl Honigford, The Darkness Knows is a thrilling mystery that evokes the drama and scandal of radio stardom in prewar Chicago. (synopsis from Amazon)

3 Stars
Ms. Honigford does a great job taking readers back to an era when the world stood on the cusp of recovery, advancements, and tragedy. My grandparents told me stories of these days and, with my current nostalgia phase, THE DARKNESS KNOWS was a pleasant evocation of those memories.  That feeling and her mastery in portraying the era make for a very entertaining cozy. The beginnings of the noir period I so enjoy in books and movies. There were, however, a few things that were disappointing.

Viv’s desire and determination to be a modern woman with a career were betrayed, for me, by the way she went about it. There wasn’t as much grit when it came right down to it. It wasn’t necessary for her survival and there were times it came across, for me, that she was doing this in defiance rather than a real resolve to be independent. Her modernity didn’t extend far enough in some instances while going a tad too far in others. Her role in the mystery, while central, had very little to do with its resolution, and one of the most important facets never even occurred to her until much later than it should have.
THE DARKNESS KNOWS was a pleasant read, but I’m on the fence as to whether I’ll read the next one.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


This exciting title from the folks at the Bathroom Readers' Institute contains the strangest short history articles from over 30 Bathroom Readers—along with 50 all-new pages. From the 20th century to the Old West, from the Age of Enlightenment to the Dark Ages, from ancient cultures all the way back to the dawn of time, Strange History is overflowing with mysterious artifacts, macabre legends, kooky inventions, reality-challenged rulers, boneheaded blunders, and mind-blowing facts. Read about…
*The curse of Macbeth
*Stupid history: Hollywood style
*The secret LSD experiments of the 1960s
*In search of the lost “Cloud People” of Peru
*The Swedish queen who declared war on fleas
*Unearthing the past with the Outhouse Detectives
*The Apollo astronaut who swears he saw a UFO
*How to brew a batch of 5,000-year-old beer
*The brutal bloodbaths at Rome’s Coliseum
*Ghostly soup from ancient China
*The bathroom of the 1970s (Synopsis from Amazon)

Is anyone else a fan of these books?  My father in law started me on these and we had the best time discussing the fun bits of trivia we'd learned.
What about you, yea or nay to trivia?  Have you ever had it come in handy?


4 Stars
My father in law introduced me to the Bathroom Readers' Institute books years ago, and I became an instant fan.  STRANGE HISTORY is no exception and a delightful addition to the line.
Fun, quick read little bites of minutia that never fail to entertain and educate (to a degree).
These off the wall tidbits of trivia come in handy at the most unexpected times and can be used to spark conversations, revive flagging ones, and be the source of much hilarity.
Lovers of trivia and humor should be pleased with this latest in the series.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The writing life & Autographed print copy giveaway of DEATH AT THE DAY LILY CAFE with Wendy Sand Eckel

On the eve of my pub date for Death at the Day Lily Café, the second in the Rosalie Hart mystery series, I have been reflecting on the path I followed to getting published. Yes, I found a terrific agent and fell into the hands of a talented editor at Minotaur, but the first step was joining a critique group.

 I was honored to join an eclectic talented group of writers over fifteen years ago. We’ve worked hard and can each now claim a published work or an Emmy winning documentary. Our mark of a good meeting is shared ideas, a dose of humility, wine, followed by gut-aching belly laughs.

 As I have been reflecting, I asked a member of my critique group to do the same. Here are her answers.
 Me: What do you write about? Terese: I write non-fiction, mostly about people and situations which teach me some sort of life lesson. Professionally, I am a television and documentary producer, so I’ve written a buhzillion scripts. Many of those, over the last ten years, have to do with the military and wounded warriors. My only book, which has not been published, is about Colonel Greg Gadson, who lost both of his legs in Iraq. I got to know him early in his recovery, during which he became an inspirational speaker for the New York Giants. They won the Super Bowl that year. After all that happened, I said, “We have to write this down!” He humbly agreed. Sadly, his best friend, a guy who was a key supporter while Greg was going through so much, has been diagnosed with ALS. Chuck is strong, but still, it’s Greg’s turn to be the pillar. And now I’m writing all that into the book. Talk about life lessons.

 Me: Do you write about anything else?

 I write a blog called “On Dogs and Men.” I have two beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, which I believe are meant to be shared with the world. (Sometimes they over-share.) We’re working on that. Lillian is a therapy dog. We visit Hospice. It’s an environment rich with inspiration.

 Me: What’s your writing process, outline or shoot from the hip?

 Terese: I pretty much just sit down and start blathering.

 Me: Where do you write?

 Terese: Most often I like to write wherever Lillian and Delilah are (the dogs). Lazy as that sounds, sometimes it’s propped up in bed — because that’s where they both fit. They’re big dogs. It saves on the heat bill.

 Me: What is your writing process?

 Terese: First I vacuum the house. Then there’s laundry…dishes…eyebrow plucking…varnishing cupboards…anything to put it off. Eventually it’s butt-in-chair. That’s it. Think Nicholas Cage in the opening credits of Adaptation. “Maybe another cup of coffee…” I die laughing every time I see that.

 Me: What are you reading now?

 Terese: I read at things. So there’s always a stack and I read from different things in the stack. Right now A Walk in the Woods is at the top. I just finished Susan Moger’s Of Better Blood which was a horrifying education. And, of course, while I’ve already read most of Death at the Day Lily Café, I’m looking forward to reading it leisurely. Last time I was cramming before producing your book trailer.! I also listen to a lot of books while I drive. Right now it’s the former Sergeant Major of the Army, Al McMichael’s book about Leadership since I’ve had the pleasure of working with him recently.

 Me: Research?

 Terese: No. I just live.

 Me: Target audience?

 Terese: Anyone who will read it.

 Me: Have you always written?

 Terese: Since I can remember. I recall, one Thanksgiving, writing an account of the family dinner from the perspective of the dog under the table. My teacher gave me an A++. Definitely the last time that happened, although I have been lucky enough to walk a few stages carrying Emmys. 
Me: Advice for writers?

 Terese: The most intimidating thing you encounter is a blank page. If it scares you, go run the vacuum. Then sit down.

 Me: Who is your favorite author and why?

 Terese: This is a hard one. I love Anne Lamott because of the every day life lesson thing. Hemingway is so brilliant you sometimes have to just stop reading and take it in. George Shaw. Abraham Lincoln — have you ever just slowly read his address at Gettysburg? It’s incredibly artful. Then there was Steven Tyler’s autobiography. What?

 Me. Offer a writing prompt?

 Terese: I always steal from one of instructor Mary Bargteil’s which involves writing out your whole name and just sort of reflecting on it. “Schlachter” brings up some good material, but I think “Jones” works just as well. *Susan Moger and Mary Bargteil are also in the critique group.

   Rosalie Hart returns to the sleepy town of Cardigan on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in this delightful traditional cozy mystery series filled with to-die-for recipes and small-town charm.

Rosalie Hart has finally opened the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stocked with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor—to help clear her little sister Lori of a first-degree murder charge.
With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it’s not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. When Rosalie’s daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Dianne Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.

Website      FB        Twitter: @WendySandEckel


Wendy Sand Eckel is the author of MURDER AT BARCLAY MEADOW, the first in the Rosalie Hart mystery series set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, she has degrees in criminology and social work and a passion for words and their nuanced meanings. DEATH AT THE DAY LILY CAFÉ, the second in this series, will be released by Minotaur Books July 26, 2016.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


3.5 stars
As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.
But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York. (synopsis from Amazon)

A CERTAIN AGE is a trip back in time to my favorite “modern” era. Maybe it’s simply nostalgia on my part, but it was a glorious time full of promise and limitless potential, and a sense of innocence we’ve lost.
A CERTAIN AGE’s character’s embody and reflect aspects of the era beautifully with each facet given a name and face. I truly felt transported back in time with:

Theresa- New York Society and old money matron, of a certain age.

Sophie- Bright young thing with the world before her. Pauper to “patent princess” thanks to daddy’s invention. She’s also the object of Jay’s affection and his desire to throw off the mantle of bachelorhood.

Jay/Ox- Theresa’s brother, impeccable pedigree and no money.

Boy(o)/Octavian-  Recently returned from France, former war pilot. Experience has made him more man, and more troubled, than men twice his age. He’s also Theresa’s lover.

Sylvo- Theresa’s husband. They’ve had an agreement for years, initiated by Sylvo. It works for them.

While the male characters play integral roles, and we couldn’t do without them, most of their actions, to me, are in reaction to the women. They’re the ones who call the shots.
And of the women, speaking for myself, Theresa was by far the most interesting.
The opening “trial of the century” teases because we have no clue who’s on trial or for what, though murder is what usually results in a “trial of the century” moniker. The characters are then introduced and we get to know them and their all too human dramas, be they monied or poor, as they draw ever closer to the fateful day and its events that culminate in the trial.
Things were tooling along swimmingly and I was there hook, line, and sinker…..until we knew who and what in regards to the trial. There had been foreshadowing but I’d hoped it was my imagination. Sadly, it wasn’t and that’s when events became a bit melodramatic/soapy and somewhat on the predictable side. Despite that, Theresa’s POV was still interesting while Sophie essentially lost me. Bright young things aren’t all that entertaining to me.

But I certainly appreciated the twist(s) at the end.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

WHAT WE BECOME ~Arturo Perez-Reverte Review Dual Rating

Perez-Reverte is on my auto buy list so I was truly surprised and disappointed by my failure to connect, or be moved by, Max and Mencha. 

En route from Lisbon to Buenos Aires in 1928, Max and Mecha meet aboard a luxurious transatlantic cruise ship. There Max teaches the stunning stranger and her erudite husband to dance the tango. A steamy affair ignites at sea and continues as the seedy decadence of Buenos Aires envelops the secret lovers.

Nice, 1937. Still drawn to one another a decade later, Max and Mecha rekindle their dalliance. In the wake of a perilous mission gone awry, Mecha looks after her charming paramour until a deadly encounter with a Spanish spy forces him to flee.

Sorrento, 1966. Max once again runs into trouble—and Mecha. She offers him temporary shelter from the KGB agents on his trail, but their undeniable attraction offers only a small glimmer of hope that their paths will ever cross again.

Arturo Pérez-Reverte is at his finest here, offering readers a bittersweet, richly rendered portrait of a powerful, forbidden love story that burns brightly over forty years, from the fervor of youth to the dawn of old age. (synopsis from Amazon)

WHAT WE BECOME flits through time following Max and Mecha through forty years from their first meeting aboard a cruise ship to Buenos Aires in 1928 to Sorrento in 1966. 
Perez-Reverte is one of my favorite writers and an auto buy. His characters are always rich, revealing themselves over the course of the story. Max and Mecha are no exception, except that I felt I never knew Mecha as well as Max. Parts of her seemed veiled, elusive; or perhaps it’s that I saw her filtered through Max.
He also deftly manages to bring the decadence and glamour of each era to life for readers, as he tells their story in a back and forth fashion, unfolding slowly as bits and pieces are revealed in each era, akin to a tapestry.
As with every Perez-Reverte there’s always something specific the characters revolve around, that brings them together, in this case it’s tango, dance. I always learn so much when I read his books.
Since all the elements I so enjoy were present it’s beyond me why WHAT WE BECOME didn’t have the usual effect on me. Typically, whenever I pick up a Perez-Reverte I resent my inability to simply do nothing but read through to the end.  That didn’t happen this time, and try as I might there was never a connection with Max and Mencha. I’m flummoxed.
WHAT WE BECOME is everything I expect from Perez-Reverte, writing wise, yet Max and Mencha fell flat for me. They didn’t engage me as his leads usually do. I enjoyed the story but never experienced the immersion into their world.  
So, for writing I give WHAT WE BECOME 4 stars. Purely personal for the effect, or lack of, on me, 3 stars.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ONLY YOU & Signed print giveaway with Cheryl Holt!

CHERYL HOLT does it again with another fast-paced, dramatic tale of seduction, passion, and romance. This time, love blooms on a lazy, decadent trip down the Nile!

Lady Theodosia Postlewaite, known as Theo to her family and friends, has always had the worst luck. On the night her betrothal was to be announced, she was unwittingly caught in a compromising situation. With her engagement ended and her reputation in tatters, her incensed father demands she flee the gossip by accompanying her dour, grumpy aunt on a sightseeing trip to Egypt. Theo reluctantly agrees, and she's determined to spend the months abroad proving she possesses the highest moral character. Most especially, she vows to never so much as speak to a handsome man ever again.

Soloman Grey has lived in Egypt for the past decade. His own scandal chased him out of London, and he's built a new life for himself as an adventurer and explorer. Because of the gossip that ruined him, he doesn't trust anyone, and he constantly vows that he’ll never so much as glance at a pretty woman ever again.

But when Soloman meets Theo, he's dragged into her world in a dozen ways he never intended. She's beautiful, funny, and lonely, and he can't resist. Yet, he's the bastard son of an earl, so he could never be worthy of her. When her relatives would do anything to keep them apart, dare he risk all to have her for his very own?
An excerpt from Chapter 2…

“You’re coming in, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I suppose I will.”
“My Aunt Edna will like to thank you for bringing us home.”
He didn’t imagine her aunt would think any such thing.  If he was lucky, she wouldn’t recognize his name.  Miss Postlewaite hadn’t, but her aunt might.
For that very reason, he rarely involved himself with the British tourists who wandered through Cairo, and over the prior decade, he’d met boatloads of them.  Their world was a small one, and he could spot a Brit at a hundred paces.  But his self-imposed exile suited him, so he couldn’t figure out why he would deliberately put himself in a situation where he would stir new gossip or be insulted to his face.
Yet apparently, he wasn’t finished with Miss Postlewaite.  From the moment he’d seen Akbar marching off with her, he’d been fascinated.  The silly woman was a menace who was in need of constant protecting.  No doubt she assumed the event was ended by his kicking Akbar several times, but once he’d had chatted with her aunt, he’d return to the bazaar, would find Akbar and deliver a louder message.
More and more often, his temper was spiking, and he couldn’t seem to rein it in.  Miss Postlewaite’s appearance in his paltry universe had given him cause to vent a bit of ire at a reprobate who thoroughly deserved it.
She asked, “Could you speak to someone in a position of authority about the porters abandoning us at the bazaar?  I’m not sure who to tell or how to say it.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll definitely tell someone for you.”
“Was it common for them to do that?  We’ve only just arrived, so I’m not certain what’s customary and what’s not.”
“Yes, it’s common.  Typically, women are too sheltered.  They don’t have the experience or sense to avoid hazardous circumstances, so in a place like this, it’s easy for a criminal to take advantage.”
“What a charming compliment,” she sarcastically replied.  “I love being told I have no sense.”
“While you’re here, you have to be more cautious.”
“I plan to be.”
She flashed a smile that he felt clear down to the tips of his toes.

Amazon    Apple     Kobo  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon "Top 100" bestselling author who has published over forty novels.
She's also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She'd hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn't sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world's greatest love stories.
Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as "The Queen of Erotic Romance", and she's also revered as "The International Queen of Villains." She is particularly proud to have been named "Best Storyteller of the Year" by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.
She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans. Visit her website at

Saturday, June 18, 2016

5 Star Review: THE SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND by T.M. Causey

Avery Broussard has the curse of seeing lost things (and make no mistake about it, it is a curse). Missing belongings and beloved pets, lost love and loved ones—she sees it all. Long ago, that curse destroyed her own chance at true love, causing her to flee her Louisiana home, vowing never to return. She’s kept that promise too, until a phone call from her estranged grifter father forces her hand. Her big brother is dying, and she may be his last remaining hope. 
Avery wants nothing more than to rescue her brother, but doing so pulls her into a labyrinth of lies and deceit rooted in her own lost love and her family’s twisted history. It doesn’t help that a little girl has gone missing, and the abduction is tied to a killer Avery failed to help the FBI catch. With no time to spare, Avery realizes her curse might well be the only thing she can trust. Is it too much to hope that she might save her brother and find the missing girl before she becomes the killer’s next victim? (Synopsis from Amazon)

THE SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND is undoubtedly the hardest review I’ve written to date. It’s required a lot of time and thought. Avery’s story isn’t typical or easy.

My introduction to T.M. Causey was Bobbie Faye, the South’s answer to Jersey girl Stephanie Plum. When Bobbie Faye disappeared I searched, in vain, for something by Ms. Causey, until THE SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND. It’s a fine Southern Gothic but it is dark. We’re talking so dark there’s times you can’t see your hand in front of your face. I can go there; the dark often calls. I can’t read light all the time. You have to have balance to appreciate each. However, there’s one aspect that should, and normally would, have shut this down for me, children in peril. That’s something I simply don’t handle well and it’s extremely rare that I’ll read books centered on that premise. But this was Bobbie Faye’s creator so…

Up front, let’s be clear that Avery Broussard is as far from Bobbie Faye as you can get and still be in the same universe.  She and her brother carry heavy, painful loads and you have to wonder how they’ve managed it, day in and day out. In fact, few of these characters are unscathed.  
The children in peril aspect hurt my heart something terrible. I cried more with this book than I’ve cried in ages, but simply could not quit reading for love nor money. There were elusive threads right below the surface that glimmered now and again; like constantly catching fleeting glimpses of something you can’t quite make out from the corner of your eye. And those bits were combining with present bits to keep me guessing, thinking, and praying for justice. To be honest the latter was more along the lines of vigilante style because anything less would be too easy. The denouement left me stunned in disbelief, balling, and exhausted.

I’m glad I read THE SAINTS OF THE LOST AND FOUND. It’s an excellent example of Southern Gothic and finely written. It stays with you long after it’s over and visits you when you least expect it. The kind of book that shakes you out of your complacency. But, it’s also the type of story I can only read once a year. It’s hard, it hurts, and it wrings you out emotionally.
If you can handle the dark until you reach that faint glimmer of light, it’s well worth it.

5 Stars

Hoping to be here more and Happy Father's Day

It's been quiet a while since I've had the time to do anything here. Hope y'all have been healthy and content. We bit the bullet and bought a house again, moved, sent the youngest off to college, and I started a new career. Something that never crossed my mind, especially at my age. Life is still keeping us hopping but I hope to have some new content here at least once a month. Maybe even some giveaways.

So, do tell....what y'all been up to? Anything good, life changing, daring?
Would love to hear it...

Here's a blast from last year. HRH with Daddy at the zoo...Still have her a couple afternoons a week. She's something else y'all...
Take Care and looking forward to hearing from y'all...If there's something or someone you'd like to see here, holler. See what can be arranged.
Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Shadow of theHare, Recall Chronicles, Vol. II

Malia is a stubbornly dissident author and bibliophile in a world where books have ceased to matter and barely exist. She remembers how things changed through the 21st century, but after fifty years of self-imposed exile, she returns to a world far more terrifying than the one she fled. In Dallas, Nigeria, and India she doggedly pursues the truth her heart demands.

 Website   Amazon      FB    Twitter      Goodreads     NetGalley 


The café was down a couple of side streets, in an area of Dallas I hadn’t visited for decades. As soon as I sat down I saw her and I couldn’t help but stare. It had to be Jenda. When I saw her look ing at me, I slid down off the barstool and walked over to her table.

“You’re Jenda Swain,” I said, smiling, hoping she’d say, And you’re Malia Poole! But she didn’t. I hadn’t seen her in almost ninety years and it was clear she’d been taking the age prophylaxis, the miracle drug called Chulel that kept everyone young in our 22nd-century world. Almost everyone. She was giving me that look—that what-the-zujo-is-an-old-woman-like-you-doing-in-my-world look—followed by the averted eyes.

“Of course you don’t remember,” I said. I pulled out a chair and sat across from her. “Nobody remembers much of any thing anymore.” I looked down at my wrinkled, age-splotched hands and then up into her smooth, fresh face. It was hard to believe I was two years younger than Jenda. “I idolized you and your boyfriend, you know. Such temerity! The things you did…” I was hoping to elicit some of those things from her or perhaps startle myself into recalling what some of them were.

She said nothing, glancing around the café as if to offer an apology for my presence. For my existence.

A memory suddenly came to me: a full-color portrait of Jenda as she was in high school. Not this business-suited twit, but a passionate firebrand of a girl. An artist?

“Do you still paint?” I wasn’t giving up. “You always had your mom’s gift for art.”

Jenda was clearly embarrassed and growing quietly angry. But I thought I detected the old passion under the surface. Come on Jenda—show me some of the old spunk.

She avoided my gaze. “I think you must have made some mistake.” Her tone was flat, dismissive. “You may know my name, but you clearly don’t know me.”

Her face flushed slightly and I thought I saw a glimmer of recognition in her eyes. Leaning forward, I looked into those eyes. “You need to ask more questions,” I said. I pushed my chair back and rose to go; then I looked down at her one last time. “You’re the one who doesn’t know who Jenda Swain is.”

My tears began to fall as soon as I was out on the street. I felt betrayed. Damn these disconnected memories! I have more memories than most people these days, but there’s that one year from high school—the period when I’m sure I knew Jenda best—that’s always been a blank. At least until recently. It’s cru elly ironic that now I’ve reached an age when normal memories start to fade, these submerged ones begin to wash up like shards of sea glass on a beach. I write them down, cataloging them like curios of uncertain provenance.

After I left the café, I couldn’t stop thinking about Jenda. She felt like a key to something. I may not remember a lot about her, but I do know that up-tight little prude with the pressed lapels isn’t the girl I knew in high school. I’m sure that back then she was a passionate Vintagonist. Something had happened to her; I thought I knew what it might be. In any case, I knew it was something very different from what happened to me.

I still identify with Vintagonists, those people who cherish and preserve old things, not as things in themselves but as links to our past, reminders of shared experiences, repositories of our stories. In the late 2020s and into the ‘30s, the Vintagonist movement was popular among young people like me and like Jenda Swain. While the corporations pushed us toward ever-higher consumption of infinitely recyclable short-cycle goods, Vintagonists celebrated antiques, vintage things, and so-called mementos. To signal our nonconformity, we wore badly mended clothes salvaged from the recycle bins, dyed our hair in shades of sepia, and adorned ourselves with relics like lockets and watch pendants. I still wear one of those, although mine has a more personal significance. We fed one another’s rebelliousness in frequent meetings and acts of protest that employed poems and songs and art. The movement dissipated after a while but never went away. Its roots ran deep.

Almost a century later, I feel once again the pull of those old ideas, a riptide tugging at my foundations. I’d found a place where I could have lived out the rest of my days in peace without having to deal with the outside world, but instead here I am, walking around in the corporate fantasyland where everyone is young—young and cheerful and bright. But it’s a flat white brightness—no spark, no color. People stare at me (like Jenda did) and then they don’t see me at all. I disap pear. I don’t belong in their world and so they white me out.

I began making my way back toward my sister Leticia’s habitat. I knew she’d organized an event for the following night at her place. She’d told me that Jenda’s high school boy friend Montagne would be there. I hadn’t seen him for the better part of a century. Maybe Montagne would have some answers. I’d told Jenda she should ask more questions; maybe it was time for me to ask some questions of my own.

I feel like a refugee here, uncertain about what comes next. Uncertain, too, about some of what went before, during that blank period around the age of fifteen. The past, for me, has gen erally been constructed from old novels; I adore histor ical novels. But with these strange memories drifting back, I think it’s time to reconstruct my own past, my personal history, and to find out just how much I can recall.