Welcome to another Saturday Snapshot event, hosted by At Home With Books.

Every week, we come together with a snapshot or two or more….sharing a glimpse of our world and peeking into yours.

Most of my Saturday photos are about the connections I’ve enjoyed in my life.  This week, I’m sharing about both the connections I have now, and some that I had once upon a time that I’ve rediscovered.

First….Here’s Heather with Noah:

Heather and Noah - moments

And below is a photo of an old friend with whom I recently reconnected.  Mary and I met when we were college freshman.  After we went our separate ways, we kept in touch by letters.  Remember those?  We managed to maintain the connection for two decades…and then lost touch.

I found her again this week….and we had a long gabfest and connected on Facebook and via e-mail.  We’ve also been sharing photos, digital style.  What fun!

Right:  Mary - with her two daughters and her grandson
Right: Mary – with her two daughters and her grandson


And here’s a more up-to-date photo of Mary’s grandchildren:

Lily - 10 and Eddie - 8
Lily – 10 and Eddie – 8

I hope to now visit your photo treasures and share in your moments.


15799339Weezy Coffey was labeled the “smart one,” while growing up; her sister Maureen, on the other hand, was the “pretty one,” who would “marry well.” Did these labels define their lives? Weezy (Louise) tended to do the opposite of what her parents decreed, so in a sense, perhaps they did.

Now she is the matriarch of a family comprised of three grown children, partnered with Will, who is a kind man and a good father. It seems she did marry well, after all, while Maureen was divorced early and raised her children alone.

The story begins with Claire, the middle “child,” late twenties, living in New York. Her world has imploded. Despite the fact that she, the “smart one,” has a good education and a good job.  She is drowning in credit card debt and expecting eviction any day. Partially because her boyfriend, who shared the apartment and the rent, broke up with her and moved out, cancelling their wedding. She spends weekends holed up in her apartment like a hermit.

Martha, the oldest, still lives at home with her parents. A year older than Claire, she is obsessed with worrying and stresses about almost everything.

Max, the youngest, seems to be age-appropriate and is soon to graduate college. His gorgeous girlfriend Cleo, however, is a mystery to the family. When she joins them all at the shore, she confidently displays her body on every occasion imaginable by wearing her bikini…all the time! Even at dinner.

This mix of characters kept me turning pages as I read their stories from their perspectives throughout The Smart One. Whenever I was ready to dislike one of them, as I saw them from another’s eyes, I soon felt some sympathy for them when I read their point of view.

When the three adult children, along with Cleo, find themselves living in the family home in a suburb outside of Philadelphia, all at the same time, chaos will ensue. Will Weezy’s well-ordered world turn itself into an uncontrollable mess? Why do the two oldest “girls” suddenly morph into teenagers, whining and screaming? How does Weezy suddenly find herself trying to control every thought and feeling that they have? And why does she feel the need to coddle Martha, spotlighting every minor achievement as if it were something remarkable?

While I could see all kinds of ways Weezy could have handled the situation better, I could also relate to having that almost empty nest turn into madness, having had my share of “returning” adult children over the years.

Eventually, some resolutions were reached, but not through anything particularly insightful done by any of the characters. Living rent-free helped with credit card debt, but none of them actually seemed to have made any real changes. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book and couldn’t wait to see what would happen. Four stars.


Welcome to another creative opportunity to showcase photos, via our weekly Saturday Snapshot event, hosted by Alyce, At Home With Books.

This week I want to showcase collages.  Creations that show us relationships that are dear to us, like granddaughters, cousins, the generations, and a coming-of-age portrait.

First is one I created of my two granddaughters at different points in their lives.  The photo on the left was taken a few months ago, and the snow baby poses show them at age seven at the Big Bear Cabin.

Next I’m focusing in on the two cousins.

Left, Aubrey at the beach; bottom right, Fiona clowning around at school; and top right, more snow babies


Now for a spotlight on generations of women in my family.

Left to right: Laurel-Rain, my mom, two cousins again, and my daughter at age 17


And the final shot is of a collage hanging on the wall in my office, showing family moments.

Left to right:  me and my brother, ages five and eight; me with my first born son; my mother holding me as a baby; and my brother, in the 1980s.

Middle row, left to right:  There I am again as a slightly older baby; me, my grandmother, and my mom in the late 1950s; my parents with older brother as infant, with grandmother and aunt; and in the final group photo, my brother and me, our parents, grandmother, aunt and uncle and cousin.

Front Row:  Me as a babe in the buggy; me at sixteen; and me at fourth birthday.


More family moments than what you were expecting, I’m sure. 

Now I’m off to see what the rest of you are showing today.



Friendships born in prep school days, and which continue into adulthood and old age, form the core of Gossip: A Novel, that reads like a powerful and emotional chronicle of intimacy and betrayal, trust and fidelity, friendship and motherhood…and explores the way we use “information” to sustain, and occasionally destroy, one another.

Narrated by Loviah French, who runs a small, high-end dress shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, we are privy to her inner thoughts and feelings as she tells the story. She shows her feelings, her fears, and the connections she has to the people who surround her in her somewhat solitary life.

Dinah Wainwright was one of Loviah’s school friends who seemed to know exactly what to do in every situation. She commented on everything and seemed to have the right connections. She was readily accepted.

After college, she became a writer about family, food, furniture, or fashion; she went to art openings, book parties, and even celebrity functions. At one point, she headed up a column called “Dinah Might.”

Avis Binney was almost a total opposite, quietly living her life with impeccable social credentials. Her stepmother Belinda became a beloved mother figure to Avis, Loviah, and many of their friends.

Over the years, through marriages that fail for various reasons, the connections between the women remain. However, some have frayed with time, resentments, and the inevitable pull of other connections.

When Dinah’s son Nicky marries Avis’s daughter Grace, the union seems to promise a better future for the old friends, albeit with some competition between the women when the child is born.

What bitterness held by Dinah and manifested in little “blind items” in the society pages creates a core of ill will? How will this emotion come back to haunt her? How will Nick’s problems maintaining his various pursuits affect his marriage? And in what ways will the inevitable fall-out descend upon them all?

The story told through Loviah’s eyes felt like a conversation. At times, she even uses the terms “you know how it was” or “we all know” about various aspects of what she’s describing. Personalizing the story in this way made it incredibly touching and helped me really connect with the characters.

The astounding finale blindsided me, and yet I could also sense something coming; lest I leave any spoilers, let me just say that it was chilling. Gutcheon is a fabulous storyteller, and this story in particular earned five stars from me. I recommend it for everyone who has ever maintained long term friendships and can testify to the damage wrought over time by the little things that chip away at those connections.


When I think about the connections in my life, I often see a recurring and bonding theme in childhood moments.  Mine and the childhoods of my children and grandchildren.

The terrain of childhood is a starting point for us all, even though we have very different childhood experiences.  But talking about those experiences can bring us closer together.  Sharing photos that spotlight our experiences can do the same.

In the photo above, the centerpiece is one of my childhood pictures, and I’m bookended by pictures of two of my grandchildren at different phases of their livesMy snapshot captures me at about age three, apparently tossing a teddy bear into the bushes.

I remember the moment.  I had just spent more than a week (which seemed endless) in a darkened room, recovering from measles.  The disease that (thankfully) children can now be immunized against.

Hating those endless hours in the darkened room, I can still see myself pushing a miniature car about in the crib, feeling very bored.  I might have been scared, too, since nobody talked about what was going on.  Afterwards, I had to wear dark glasses to protect my eyes; at one point, I recall stomping on the glasses and breaking them.

Years later, I found those glasses in a bottom drawer of a cabinet, and the memories flooded back.

I suspect that the beloved teddy bear had to pay for my frustrations about being “contained” for what must have felt like an endless period of time.

Now, juxtaposed against my childhood moments, take a look at the photo on the left, of my grandchildren experiencing their own adventures in very different ways from mine.  They seem happy with the cat (Sebastian), enjoying each others’ company.  I wonder what their memories are of this moment.

On the right, the same two are enjoying preteen moments at our “family monument.”  Yes, at some point, my children dubbed this sculpture at the local university “ours,” because we often posed for photos there.  I have a couple shots to share:

The First "Family Monument" Shot


This second photo was taken several years later, in the early 1990s.

Why do we feel so connected to this particular spot in our family history?  Perhaps we feel the strength of our bonds when we share the common experience. 

Do you have family traditions that spotlight your connections?  Moments you share that bond you?




Memorable Moments -- A Mother and Daughter

Ever since I organized my closet awhile back, with the old photo albums stacked (in order!) on one of the shelves, I’ve been grabbing them and studying them.


Today’s search yielded the photos above, which I’ve made into today’s header (collage).

The photos are a bit blurry and faded, but the memories are vivid.  On the left, my daughter and I posed for this picture on an Easter morning in 1979.  Yes, way back in the day!  On the right, my daughter sits alone in her favorite chair, one of the pieces I took away from our family home when we split.  This photo was taken in my apartment across town, and my daughter is a year older than in the previous photo.

What a distance can be wrought by one year!

I remember loving that apartment, though, even as I’d loved the previous home.  Each abode is filled with such moments of connection, even though eventually the people go their separate ways.  The kids remain, though, as the core connection between us all.

What family moments do you recall when you search your photo albums, or even your photo boxes?  (I have some photos in boxes, too, and strangely enough, they fared better than the ones in albums, with those old-fashioned sticky pages!).

My photo albums are a huge part of my favorite collections.  They take me back in just a split second, recalling special moments—almost as if no time has passed!


Three Generations of Females

Today, this post and my new header are focusing on “fours.”  Why, you ask?  Well, for each of the little girls in the header, there are a couple of commonalities…first, they are three generations of female relatives; and secondly, they are all four years of age in the photos.

From left to right, the girls are:  the Queen Mother (that’s me!); my daughter Heather; my granddaughter Aubrey; and granddaughter Fiona.

Incidentally, Aubrey and Fiona were both born the same year, the same month, and only days apart.  How about that for a bonanza of treasures?

The same thing happened with my two oldest grandsons, but that’s another story for another day.

Do you like to plumb the photo albums for similar treasures?  What have you found that you’d care to share?  Hope you’ll stop by and connect with us here.


Three Generations of Females

Today’s blog header and the photo I am spotlighting here feature three generations of my family.

On the left, you’ll see a picture of me…I was about four.  Next comes my mother, looking all stiff and proper.  That was their thing, back then.  They probably had to work pretty hard to accomplish that pose.  Then comes my daughter—looking relaxed, even dreamy—and her pose tells us something about her generation.  Of course, she’s older than the other two subjects, so she’s entering young womanhood, leaving childhood behind.

Photos can tell us a lot about the subjects.  But then, there’s always more to the story.

For example, in the photo of me, I was annoyed with the teddy bear, for some reason, and right after the camera snapped, I tossed him into the bushes.

That’s the story behind the photo.