1998: I buy my first computer–a Sony laptop. I’m still writing little bits about women but no real story yet. I start keeping a list of the books I read–this year I will read 35. Cal goes to Mobile for business, and I tag along. It’s where my grandparents lived, where I went every summer for years. The new family allows me inside the old house. Into the living room where my sisters and I danced to Jesse James. And down the hall to the pink room, Gram’s room, and the blue room. In the den, as I turn to leave, to head back to the front door, there, around the door frame are our ages and heights and names–Cindy, Susie, Jenny. See, I say, I was here. I will write a story about it. One morning Sam spills cereal all over the counter and the floor, and he walks away. I tell him to come back and clean it up, and he responds, “Oh, Mary will do it.” Mary is our housekeeper, but after that, I find her another place to work and the kids learn to clean up their own messes and how to wash their own clothes. In July we all head north for 18 days–first to Boston with a game at Fenway Park and then to the ferry in Hyannis that will take us to Nantucket. Our house is bike-riding distance to almost everything. The air feels different here–cooler for sure but also lighter, buoyant, alive. There are lobsters and lighthouses and summer sweatshirts. Back home in August I have a French Camp–the Bon Voyage French Camp–with t-shirts and everything. We play French board games and eat French food and receive a visit from a French Canadian player on the Columbus Ice Hockey team. Apple introduces the iMac, Sam starts school, I coach his soccer team, Google becomes a company, Jack gets his own computer, and then I skate away to Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires for three days of New England and time to myself.

19 days to 60


Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver