[The memoir jumps back and forth between times. Even with each chapter clearly dated, it’s hard to determine what my aunt’s writing in the present, and what’s the past. For a person like me who has a tenuous understanding of English grammar, much less all the numerous tenses in French, it’s not easy. It truly […]

[In Georges Huisman’s introduction, I was a little annoyed by how much emphasis he placed on the prisoners maintaining their femininity despite the horrible conditions and treatment. It seemed like a strange thing to tout, and cringe-worthy, like Maurice Chevalier singing “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” in the 1958 movie Gigi. Then I read the […]

[In this next chapter, my great aunt Catherine Ammar writes in dedication to those she knew who died at the hands of the Nazis, and to the memory of her husband. Last night I asked my father if anyone ever found out how Raymond Ammar died, but he just shrugged. “Everyone begged him not to […]

On August 3, 1944, my great aunt, Catherine Ammar, was taken by the Gestapo in France for her work in the resistance and transported to Ravensbrück, and then later to Sachsenhausen concentration camp where she was forced to labor, I suspect, for Seimens. After liberation the following year, she joined about 80,000 other POWs marching […]

I’m writing on an iPad. I’ve scrunched my long fingers together on this barely adequate keyboard because my laptop has been in AppleCare since last Thursday. Thursday morning started like any other day here in the mountains – cup of coffee made in a single serve French press, belly rub for Emma, survey of the […]

It snowed last night. Through the window, I see first the snow as it falls, tracing its diagonal path through the grey sky, then each long needle of the ponderosas encased with crystal where the snow lands, then each branch sagging under the weight of the snow, then the snow piled up on the deck […]

“Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo! Woof!” Five barks and a declamatory statement penetrated the early morning. Emma was on the edge of the bed, ears perked, nose pointed at the ceiling, and working hard to be my savior like a normal dog, not like the speck of a Chihuahua she really was. “Shut up,” I mumbled at her from […]

Last week, before my telephone was hooked up at the house, I drove into Boulder to get internet and call my mom on my cellphone. She had asked me to call every evening, to make sure I was still alive. She was dubious about this plan to live alone in the foothills, but supportive; she’s […]

In 1976, Anne LaBastille, an ecologist and free-lance writer, published Woodswoman: Living alone in the Adirondack Wilderness. Sometime around 1984, I pulled it off the shelf at the Waldenbooks in Rosedale shopping mall and took it to my mom to buy for me. As a rule, she never censored anything I wanted to read, and […]

Last May 31, our second tenant moved out of our home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We’d been renting it for 6 years, and now we had a decision to make. Do we find a third tenant, or sell? Having tenants was stressful. In the mountains, home maintenance is different than in the […]