Professional journalist, amateur novelist. Catherine’s mom. If you like my work, feel free to tip your writer.
The time I caught a ghost on camera
The summer before my eleventh birthday was the first time I encountered a ghost. Well, sort of. I was on a camping trip with my Girl Scout troop on Johnson’s Island, a tiny patch of land in Lake Erie. During the Civil War, the North built a prison camp for captured Confederate officers on Johnson’s Island, and a Confederate cemetery remains there today. Next to the graveyard is a cabin, and in the cabin is where I was staying with a dozen other ten-year-olds on an overnight trip. Unfortunately, it drizzled throughout our first day, so we were bored. Some girls cut through the graveyard to a walking trail. Suddenly, two girls came running from the woods, screaming that they had seen a ghost—a young soldier in the blue jacket worn by Union troops who once patrolled the island prison.
Yes, of course race is a social construct
While I was in college, one of my affable hippie professors declared, to an audience of Poli-Sci 101 students, that race was a "social construct." Observing the confused looks on his students’ faces, he elaborated. Race is a man-made concept, he said, and is not necessarily based in science. Instead, racial labels (including "black" and "white") change with the times--and with political agendas. He pointed out that some European immigrants weren't considered "white" in 19th-century America, when they were new and unwelcome.
January 6th was not an "insurrection"
January 6th was not an “insurrection.” Nor was it a “coup”—or, if you prefer a more positive spin, an “uprising” led by Trump supporters. January 6th was a tantrum.
COVID-19 is the nail in the coffin for the anti-vaccine movement
I’m an anti-anti-vaxxer, and I’m proud of it. My 9-year-old daughter is fully vaccinated. I never had any concerns that vaccines would “give” her autism. Why? Well, as anti-vax moms like to brag, I did my research. Starting from her birth in 2011, she got her shots on schedule, as recommended by experts. (I chose to ignore self-styled experts on the Internet who watch too many YouTube videos.)
Marjorie Taylor Greene, "America First," and dog whistles
Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia congresswoman infamous for mocking survivors of the Parkland school shooting, has scrapped her plans to launch an “America First” caucus. The caucus’ policy platform made a lot of dubious assertions, such as that “recent election results” were the product of “manipulated” voting machines and widespread fraud. Even former president George W. Bush trashed the America First platform, calling it a shortcut to irrelevance.
One Night at the Pirate's House
The people of Savannah hid whenever they saw those tattered sails approaching the Georgia coast, billowing in the fair winds like storm clouds. But not me, never. I stayed put at the inn, at my station behind the bar. I was only a tavern maid, but I didn't care. I would not hide from the pirates who terrorized this city and stole my only brother.
I Don't Know Them
Strong women. Where do I even begin? Is the American Revolution too late? Sybil Ludington of Connecticut was only sixteen years old when she hopped on her horse and rode into the night, warning American militiamen that the British were coming. She carried only a stick to defend herself against any stripe of hooligan, as well as the gun-wielding English. Sybil rode twice as far as Paul Revere, but no one has ever heard of her.
The Melungeons: Appalachia's ethnic mystery
In the eighteenth century, land surveyors in the Appalachian Mountains reported encountering bronze-skinned, light-eyed people who fell to their knees in prayer five times a day. The mysterious mountain-dwellers, who lived far beyond the Western border of the thirteen colonies, referred to themselves as “Portuguese” in broken English. While their outward appearance suggested they were Mediterranean, the custom of praying five times a day hinted at Islamic roots. The French-speaking explorers, unsure what to call this mysterious community, described them as mélange, “a mix.”