• Divine Intervention

     “The Marlborough” & “Divine Intervention” In 2007 I was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in the playwriting category for “The Marlborough” a screenplay which loosely chronicled my adventures in 1960’s Baltimore & friendship with future John Waters’ star Divine. I have now written “Divine Intervention” a memoir that is more of a deep dive into that story, speaking of my childhood in East Baltimore, my break with my parents and subsequent move downtown. There I met a group of eccentric and extraordinary friends including Glenn Milstead (the soon-to-be-famous Divine), designer Van Smith, director John Waters and a host of actors and students who supported my freedom…

  • Kent Island

    “Kent Island, The Land That Once Was Eden” ISBN 0-938420-84-4 Maryland Historical Society Press 2002 This blend of history and memory began as my thesis project in the Master of Liberal Arts program at Johns Hopkins University. Include image of book cover and 2 book excerpts & reviews as on the previous site

  • The Washington Monument

    On July 4, 1815 the people of Baltimore climbed a lush wooded hill overlooking the city to lay the cornerstone for the first monument to George Washington in the United States. Like other Julys in Baltimore, the day was probably sweltering, the hot sun beating down on this crowd of 20,000 as they hiked the incline to Howard’s Woods. "After walking about a mile I came to the summit of a hill that overlooked the city, and there I stopped a moment to take breath.…The ground had begun to smoke with the warmth of the rising sun, and the city seemed to spread itself out before me.…towering above the fog…

  • Hotel Rideau

    I’ve learned many times the truth in the phrase “you can’t go home again.” [1]  A trip to a Maryland seaside resort several years ago made this aphorism unquestionably and somehow sadly clear for me once again. For successive summers in the 1950’s I travelled with my parents, brother, and paternal grandparents for a week-long vacation in Ocean City, MD. Other than Christmas, it was the most exciting highlight on my childhood calendar. Anticipation grew as the trip drew near and my mother began packing the large brown suitcases laid out in my parent’s bedroom. When the day of departure arrived, all six of us, plus luggage were crammed into…

  • October at Cylburn

    Yesterday we went for an autumn walk through Cylburn Arboretum.  We take such walks regularly when the weather is sweet, and yesterday was such a day — the sun shining, the breeze moving through the richly colored leaves, the pines and cedars dark against a bright blue sky. At the edge of the visitors parking lot stands an impressive bed or ornamental grass.  The airy plants resemble a sea of swaying feathers, the seed heads topping their stems bobbing like ocean froth in the golden October sun.  At a distance, the bed seemed a uniform dull sienna, but walking closer I see that the sheaths are a soft olive green,…

  • The War of 1812

    The War of 1812 and the decisive battle of Baltimore gave Americans both a new sense of unity and a stirring national anthem. But envision for a moment what it must have been like for simple men — bricklayers, ship caulkers, shoemakers, tailors – to take up arms in defense of their city, knowing that they faced a larger, well-seasoned and superior force.  Imagine what it might have been like to stand with Francis Scott Key aboard the deck of a British vessel several miles from the harbor, helplessly witnessing the brutal attack on Fort McHenry.  Picture him there in the thin pale light of dawn, his heart aching over…

  • Communities and Churches

    I grew up just north of the Highlandtown section of Baltimore.  Ours was a safe and tight knit community, and the church we attended was approximately one-half block from our front door.  My parents were very active in the church and so from a young age my brother and I attended church, Sunday school and summer bible school.  When I grew older, I studied catechism, participated in youth group, sang in the choir, went to a church sponsored summer camp, took orders for Christmas candy, Easter eggs and bake sale fundraisers, and waited tables at church suppers and bazaars.   The people who attended the church lived in the neighborhood as…

  • Captain Arthur

    “How you doing, Captain Arthur?”  “Jus’ kicking lightly, m’am, kicking lightly.”  Captain Arthur Jones is among the best of gentleman and a fixture of the Kent Narrows, Maryland landscape. While the seafood industry has produced many interesting stories, there is none more so than that of eighty-eight year old Jones, who began working at the Narrows at the tender age of twelve. In the summer of 1930, young Arthur joined his brother and cousins to walk the 70+ miles from Accomac, Virginia to Hurlock, Maryland. Following the railroad tracks and walking day and night, they reached friends in Hurlock early on a Monday morning, secure that these friends would help them reach Kent Island where…

  • Baltimore Riots

    The recent unrest in Baltimore stirred my  memories of  the night of April 6, 1968 and the Baltimore riot that occurred in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. I  had dropped out of college after two years due to lack of funds, and was working two jobs in order to save enough to finish my degree.  My day job was as a secretary-typist at IBM, and I waitressed  three nights a week at Baltimore’s Park Plaza.  A Mount Vernon area landmark, the Plaza, built in 1842 had been a private home, a social club and several incarnations of restaurants.   The front dining room was relatively sedate, and…

  • Andrew Wyeth

    I’ve thought many times of that trip to Pennsylvania in 1958. The outing was arranged at the request of my widowed grandmother who, urged by fleeting time and memory, had been struck with a longing to see the farm where she had lived as a young bride and to visit Aunt Katherine, the widow of my grandfather’s brother. To say that I was unenthusiastic was, of course, an understatement. I was 12 years old and engaged with more important activities. I knew the excursion promised only a confined and boring afternoon surrounded by a gaggle of uninteresting adults. “Do I have to go?” I whined. “I don’t know any of…