Next Act with Lois Gross

Pill Poppers

My husband and I would love to travel. It used to be on our “to do” list when we were young and unencumbered. I remember one lovely weekend, early in our marriage, when we simply decided to take a long weekend in San Francisco. You could still do that, in those days. Plane fare was relatively cheap and you didn’t have to plan six months in advance ...Read More

Remembering CarrieFisher: Of Moonlight and Bras

Since early November, my husband and I no longer watch television news which means a much quicker turnaround on “hot topic” stories. When my husband heard my strangled, “Oh, no. She died,” he knew I was talking about actress, Carrie Fisher. Of course, we knew that she had had a heart attack and we heard that she was on a ventilator because she had ...Read More

Confessions of a Santa Claus “Booker”

My first true experience with Santa Claus came when I was working in a now-defunct Philadelphia department store in the advertising department. Each year, Lit Brothers, a wedge-shaped building at the corner of 8th and Market Street, hosted Santa Breakfasts where small children could dine with the magical figure and ask for their heart’s desire, con...Read More

Paper Clips and Safety Pins

I am a student of history. I am also a true believer in the words of early twentieth century philosopher, George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” You can imagine that I’ve been studying history hard, for the past few weeks. Among the trivia I’ve found is a little-known act of resistance by the Norweg...Read More

5, 4, 3 Days Left – But – Who’s Counting?

On Sunday, I did my grocery shopping during Meet the Press. I went to a market farther away and took my time driving. I strolled slowly through the produce aisles and thumped melons, tested pears for ripeness, and decided between cut celery or a stalk of celery. I pondered whether uncut celery was correctly called a bunch or a stalk. I read all the...Read More

Carbon Copies

We’ve lost a righteous man. His name was Eli Wiesel. You may know him only as the author of Night, an account of his life in Auschwitz, from the age of 14 ½ to age 16. I personally believe that he may have been a lamed vavnik. Yes, I know that am straying into dangerous territory here, but this is a legend, not religious teaching exactly. &nb...Read More

Who Can Top the Body Count?

I have written some version of this blog at least ten times in the last seventeen years. I am able to accurately carbon date the first essay because it was about the Columbine shootings. I was a Coloradan at the time; proud Broncos fan; devotee of the Tattered Cover bookstore, which is the best independent bookseller in the company, bar none. We li...Read More

Things I’m Glad I’ve Lived Through (and Never Have to Revisit)

I belong to many nostalgia lists. Most of these sites center on memories of Philadelphia, since that’s where I spent my childhood and adolescence. Mostly these sites just make me homesick for cheesesteaks, water ice (or wadder ice, in the Philadelphia vernacular), and all-night diners where late dates ended over “kitchen sink” ice cream boats. Howe...Read More

Looking in the Media Mirror

Ali McGraw is 77. It was all over the news, a few days ago. Yes, that Ali McGraw. The coltish, flip actor who embodied Jenny Cavilleri from Love Story and Brenda Potemkin from Goodbye, Columbus, is in her eighth decade and the big news was that she has not had plastic surgery or a lot of hair maintenance. She’s doing age naturally. The praise poure...Read More

In Memory of My Patty Duke Flip

“Meet Cathy, who’s lived most everywhere, From Zanzibar to Barclay Square. But Patty’s only seen the sights A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights – What a crazy pair!”   I really wanted to be Cathy Lane, not Patty Lane. I definitely thought that Crepes Suzette sounded more interesting than hot dogs. Hot dogs didn’t make me lose con...Read More

Is That What’s Bothering You, Bunky?

Is the world getting you down? Is life too difficult to take? Does your dog hide under the bed when you walk in the door? Do you hide under the bed when you hear a political discussion? Is that what’s bothering you, Bunky? Lift your head up high and take a walk in the sun with dignity and stick-to-it-ive-ness and you’ll show the world, you...Read More

Caregivers’ Call To Share and Support

I know that many of you are caregivers for a parent, an adult child, or an ailing spouse. It is stressful for the caregiver, because not only are “civilian” caregivers not trained for the role, but also because an increased anxiety level in a loved one in crises causes the caregiver’s personal stress level to rise, exponentially. This has been our ...Read More

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