This New Land, These Old Hands

Anna Kutnik’s hands shook as she baked.

It was October 1st, 1932–a Saturday and Rosh Hashana. She did not often bake latkes, but it felt important to do so today, on the first of the High Holy Days. She was not Jewish, but her husband had been, and a couple of their children still kept their father’s faith. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that– John had turned out to be a drunk who left her to raise their children alone, Continue reading “This New Land, These Old Hands”

Waste Not, Want Not: Feed, Seed, and Flour Sacks

My maternal grandmother, Laura Jane Waldrop Gregg, did not coin the idiom “Waste not, want not,” but she lived it every day in the way she managed her house. Born in 1899 and married in 1921, she had her third of four children—my mother–in October 1929, just at the cusp of the Great Depression, and her fourth child—my aunt Dot–in 1933, in the heart of it.  Continue reading “Waste Not, Want Not: Feed, Seed, and Flour Sacks”

Big Brown Beast

Every May in the Philippines is an exciting month for her citizens. The streets of Pulilan in Bulacan Province, San Isidro in Nueva Ecija Province, and Angono in Rizal Province are filled with vibrant-colored decorations, fresh Filipino dishes and desserts, and an audience prepared for the parade which begins the Kneeling Carabao Festival.

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The Southern Negro Farmer

“John Hurston, in his late twenties, had left Macon County, Alabama, because the ordeal of share-cropping on a southern Alabama cotton plantation was crushing to his ambition. There was no rise to the thing.”

 (Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road)

            Zora Neale Hurston is most known for being an influential author of African American literature, with her most iconic work being Their Eyes Were Watching God. However, she was also an anthropologist and ventured

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Crochet Comforts

A red and white striped blanket my great-grandmother made
A red and white striped blanket my great-grandmother made

Growing up, the most tangible part of my mom’s family was a collection of crochet blankets acquired from funerals and my mom’s childhood home. My grandmother Joan Frances died before I was born, and my great grandmother Frances Jane lived in Pennsylvania in a nursing home before she died in 2008, so the blankets were how I connected with the two women who were my namesakes. My mom kept the blankets in her closet, some wrapped carefully in plastic comforter bags. In the winter they would come down from their perch and be distributed throughout the house. Continue reading “Crochet Comforts”