The ferry Seastreak glides across New York Harbor, bringing our sleepy family home after a July 4 outing to Sandy Hook beach in New Jersey. Off to the left, a seagull skims the water, its speed momentarily matching ours. To my right, the towering Parachute Jump at Coney Island glows…


“So you’re traveling by yourself?” the woman asked me as we wrapped up a tour of Dexter Avenue King Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, this past April. When I answered yes, she said, “Wow, that’s brave.”

The woman — about my age, late forties — was part of a Friendship…


Or: How Do People Write That Fast?

Well, this didn’t bode well.

I had just, with great excitement, received my packet for my first-ever American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and saw that my contestant number was … 13. …


My grandfather was born in Croatia in 1897, a year and a place that assured his propulsion into the meat grinder of twentieth-century Europe. At seventeen he was drafted into World War I and promptly captured on the Russian front. During his imprisonment—on a family farm, according to my father…

Mary Jean Babic

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