The 33-Year-Old Bookmark

Growing up I always spent a week in the summer at my Nana’s in Philadelphia and in 1976 I stayed a few extra weeks to join in the city’s celebration of our nation’s bicentennial. One of the many places we visited was the Franklin Institute, a science museum named after Benjamin Franklin.

In the gift shop, I bought my mom a bookmark. It was simple and probably cost a quarter back then. This summer, 33 years later, I found the bookmark in some papers she kept in a locked box until her death. Although I had not thought about it in years, I instantly knew what if was, impaired vision and all. Avid readers that mom and I have always been, there were a lot of bookmarks in our lives. But for some reason, she kept this one safe and secure for almost three decades.

I began to use it and one day after giving my husband a library book to return I realized I had left the bookmark in it. He still had the book when I called him so I asked him to get the bookmark before he returned it. That evening he looked in his briefcase and couldn’t find it. He swore he put it in his bag but it wasn’t there. He searched the car, called the library and a few other places he had been that day. He felt terrible. I told him it was fine but inside I was really bummed.

After a week or so had passed, it became a joke between us. He would tell me I should stop Type-A’ing and sit down and read. I would reply, “I can’t. I don’t have a bookmark.” A few months later he took everything out of his briefcase for a good clean out. And found the bookmark.

It now resides between page 126 and 127 in the latest book by one of our favorite authors. Every time I get a new novel from one of the writers mom read too, I feel a little twinge for all the books she has missed since she died. We enjoyed many of the same storytellers and now we share the same keepsake.When I tuck it in a book, I like to think she’s reading it with me. This old, thin piece of plastic holds more than my page. Not bad for $.25.



I’ll Follow Me Everywhere

We all have had to put the past behind us in order to move on with a new normal. Seven years since my vision loss, I have realized that even when we stop looking back and focus on the future, what came before is still with us. The distance between then and now will increase with the passage of time but it’s always there.

Yesterday morning I was telling someone about testing I’m having done at Wills Eye Hospital, how I am hopeful that someday my sight will be restored, that I will pursue all avenues to that end, but I live my life as if my sight will always be as it is now. A few hours later, I tried something I hadn’t done since I woke up blind, something I used to be a whiz at. And it was damn near impossible given my inability to see very well. As in all things, I was a determined trooper, knowing going in it wouldn’t be easy but grateful there was a potential option for me to return to this activity. The result was soul-crushing. I’ve lived without it for seven years but to have it within reach then have it slip away was painful. I cried.

You can put the past behind you and I have learned, for the most part, to do just that  But it will still be with me for the rest of my life.


Monday Kickoff

“The clock is either
for you
against you.”

— an announcer during a football game

It’s Monday.
Try to catch everything that’s thrown at you.
Run like hell.
When necessary, take a timeout.

Monday Night Football


A Visually Challenged Bird Mom Walks Into A Bar

We have all seen photos of people where there’s a black bar across their eyes to protect their identity. Our eyes show the world who we are. When I just saw one such picture, I had the thought that my eyes have a black bar of sorts across them from the inside and, therefore, others looking at me can get a sense of who I am, but I unable to do the same.

I’m told that I maintain good eye contact even though I can’t see your face unless you’re close enough to kiss. I follow your voice. The window to your soul, your eyes, may be closed to me by the “black bar” across mine, but your voice is the door to your spirit. I may be looking at your shoulder, but I see you.


My Takeaway

What is it about a takeaway coffee cup?
Expensive and environmentally unfriendly.
The baby bottle of adults.
Holding one evokes thoughts of yoga pants, entrepreneurs and baristas who become friends.
So much better than your favorite mug at home.
Rainy days.
“You’ve Got Mail”.
Paparazzi. As if anyone’s looking for me.
If ordering you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Find your latte in life. Whatever it is, it will be so much more than what it appears to be.




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