In Short …

A 21st century grandmother talks to her new granddaughter about life, womanhood, dreams, failures, love, kindness, and not taking herself too seriously. Since the granddaughter is an infant, the conversation will be a bit one-sided. This might change, the grandmother thinks.

Flares

Dear Ellie — You and your parents have moved into your “new” 100-year-old house, we hear. You’re living on the second floor while walls get knocked down and floors refinished below you. Aging houses, even those with good bones, require that kind of expensive attention….

Did You Hear That? An Era Just Passed

Ellie — Your great-grandfather, Bill Pennebaker, died almost exactly a year ago. I was in New York City that weekend in October. Your grandfather was supposed to join me, since New York was a business trip for him. But he’d flown to West Texas when his…

Let It Fly

Ellie, my dear girl — Well, you probably don’t remember it, but Opa and I came to Seattle for your second birthday in August. Yes, you’re two! You aren’t a little baby any longer. In one particularly memorable episode, while under Opa’s “supervision,” you found…

Travel Tales

Dear Ellie — Look at you — barreling all over the place, talking more, looking more and more like a girl than a baby. Lucky for us your father is such a wonderful photographer and you’re his favorite subject. For example:   Opa and I…

Card Sharps, Card Dullards

Ellie, darlin’ — Your grandfather and I haven’t seen you in two months — and won’t see you again till your second birthday in August. So we’re relying on FaceTime calls and photos and reports from your parents to keep apprised. It’s dizzying to try…

Feelin’ Good Whenever you Can

Dear Ellie, my little pink-cheeked sprite with the wide, blue eyes — Here in Austin, it’s a gorgeous day, with bright blue skies and warm sunshine. It’s too beautiful a day to write about politics. (Lately, even the most heinous weather would be ruined by politics….

The Good Old Days

Dear Ellie — When people get to be a certain age — let’s say Opa’s and my age — you’ll notice they may start talking fondly about The Good Old Days. They’ll get a misty look in their eyes and turn inward, seeing something you…

Speak Easy, Speak Hard

Dear Ellie — Your grandfather and I are getting a little impatient. We haven’t seen you since Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! That was more than three months ago. Since then, you’ve started talking. That’s such a miraculous time for your parents and grandparents, when a child interacts…

The Saying’s Correct: Sisterhood is Powerful

Dear Ellie — Your great-aunt Ellen celebrated her 64th birthday last month. Since you’ve only seen her once and she lives thousands of miles away, I want to write you so you’ll know more about her. After all, in my unbiased older-sister opinion, she’s one…

Happy New Year

Ellie — I hear you didn’t make it to midnight on this December 31st — but then, neither did your grandfather. 2017! People my age marvel at what a high number that is, at how quickly the years pass as we grow older. By the…