A man with no statue: Rudy Wilson

He called me his daughter. It was half-affection, half-running joke, because we couldn't have looked more different. But there was no doubt that Rudy Wilson was everyone's dad, complete with dad jokes, and his death this week is a blow to the entire community.

He was a quiet groundbreaker, a man dedicated to education throughout his life. He was one of the first black faculty members at SIUE when it was a fledgling campus in 1970. He had already broken ground as the first black teacher at a California college, and when he came here, he taught in the school of education and became the assistant provost for cultural and social diversity.

Part of his job was to mentor student teachers, including visiting them as they worked in area high schools. This became a problem at a local high school and its all-white faculty, according to multiple sources. It was indicated that he was not wanted, and therefore, the university informed them that they would get no more student teachers until…

Thanksgiving Feast

I had multiple requests for recipes to my Thanksgiving menu, so here they are, attributed when I can remember where I got them...

Eggs Benedict
from Patrice Stribling Nelson (with modifications)

This is a heart attack on a plate, but it's so worth it. We usually double the recipe, because we usually want it two days in a row. You can also make the sauce alone to drizzle over steamed vegetables like asparagus or broccoli.

1/2 c. butter
4 egg yolks
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
dash white pepper
English muffins
all the eggs in the world
Canadian bacon etc. (opt.)

Begin by toasting the English muffins: two halves for each person if you are serving anything else, four if this is all you plan to serve or your family are gluttons like mine. Meanwhile, start frying eggs - one egg for each muffin half. Traditionally the egg is supposed to be over easy or poached, but I cannot stand runny eggs, so I make them over hard. Your mileage may vary.

If you're doing something fancy, you can…

Giving Thanks

I've never been all that good at the traditional Thanksgiving toast, where we go around the table and say what we're giving thanks for this year. Partly because my answer is always the same: my family. I am blessed with a wonderful family that loves me and that I love, and we all mostly get along, too.

I am blessed with a husband and son whom I adore and for whom I cook bountiful meals, and they seem to like me okay. My favorite part of any holiday... or weekend, or spare few hours... is snuggling in with my menfolk to watch movies and laugh together. Our family "adventures" (as I always called them when Boy was small) are the highlights of my life.

This year the family circle is a little smaller. We've faced that before, of course; I've lost several family members, as has Jim. This year has been tougher than most, however.

I've not written in this blog for quite a while because it didn't feel right to post anything until I could write about Grammy. A…

A literal sucker punch

Yesterday I messaged a friend that I had been sucker-punched in the head. He said, "I saw, I'm so sorry." He thought I was talking in metaphor, because my grandmother passed away Friday morning and there has been much reminiscing on Facebook.

Grammy's death is too big a thing for me to wrap my head around yet. I thought I'd be able to write about it by now, but it's going to have to wait until my heart and my head get in sync. There are too many moments, too many scenes, too many memories that don't connect with each other to write about her yet. I keep mentally stumbling across things, like the way she called me "My Elizabeth" since I was a toddler, or the alternate lyrics she taught me to John Phillip Sousa, or her funny sweaters, or the time I told her the sky was a different color blue where she was, and dubbed it "California blue," which she said always came to mind afterward when the sky was clear over her house in the San Joaqui…


MAN: *excitedly hands me box of new electronic toy*
ME: Yes dear. I will be setting it up shortly.
MAN: *crestfallen* Shortly? Not now?
ME: I am reading the directions.
MAN: *puzzled look*
ME: Yes, reading the directions. That's what we grownups do with complicated new devices. We read through the directions before we open the box.
MAN: Pish tosh.
ME: Go sit till I need you to help me with the cords.
MAN: It may not take the same cables as the old one -
ME: That's why I'm reading the directions. Shush.


Watching Alien 3... (quasi-spoilerrific)

First two minutes.
BOY: What the [bleep]! They killed them?

(We're all with you, kiddo.)

Halfway through.
BOY: Wait, how you gonna get out of this one, Ripley?

BOY: What! There's another movie to get through!


ME: Do you need a ride home tonight?
BOY: Nah, I got a ride. We're going to stay for a while and help the girls' volleyball team.
ME: *sporfle* How exactly are you going to "help" the…

Fall Deathmarch Stalking Guide

In case you hadn't noticed, this blog is on semi-hiatus. Not that I don't enjoy sharing the menfolk's shenanigans and my latest rants, but there's a lot of things up in the air right now and I need to focus for a bit.

However, the Fall Deathmarch must stomp on! Each year I say I'm not going to do this to myself, and each year I give in. Coming up:

• St. Louis SPJ Student Boot Camp, Edwardsville, Ill. Sept. 23 (journalism)

• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (books and art/Literary Underworld)

• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. Oct. 6-8 (books and art/Literary Underworld)

• Leclaire Parkfest, Edwardsville, Ill. Oct. 15 (books and art)

journalismSTL, St. Louis, Mo. Oct. 23 (journalism)

• Heartland Book Festival, Cape Girardeau, Mo. Oct. 28 (tent. - books)

• St. Louis Indie Book Fair, St. Louis, Mo. Nov. 3-4 (books)

• Contraception, Kansas City, Mo. Nov. 10-12 (books and art/Literary Underworld)

• Edwardsville (Ill.) Winter Market, Dec. 2 (tent. - books and art)

Return of the Living Snippets

As the hour slips on past midnight....
ME: *yawn* I have to get up stupid early. Tell me to go to bed. MAN: Go to bed. ME: Don't tell me what to do. MAN: See, I knew that's what was going to happen.
ME: WHY is there a phone charger in the bathroom?
BOY: Uh...
ME: With a cord IN the sink, because that's a great idea!
BOY: Let me try a toaster next!
ME: Smartass.

MAN: Ow!
ME: (without looking up) Stop using the hand.
MAN: I forgot!
ME: Learn!

BOY: What did the doctor say?
ME: He said I should rest more.
BOY: Well, then you should rest more.
ME: Oh really? Which of my jobs should I quit?
BOY: All of them!
ME: Sure, no problem! Then you will support me?
BOY: ...

ME: Ian, please put the DVD away.
BOY: Yes mom.
ME: And see if you can't put it away where it belongs? In alphabetical order?
BOY: I do!
ME: That's funny, because I spent twenty minutes having to reorder the DVDs because somebody in this house managed to graduate high school without learning his ABC's.
BOY: Why di…