Mary Beth Writes



Don't be so lazy. Pick up that bowl and dust UNDER it. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

Your house is always so lovely and tidy.

You (write, weave, carve, sing, run races, climb rocks, lead tours, play volleyball, speak other languages, create art …) really well. Why don’t you do more of it?


Whites only. The Colored fountain is behind the station.

Thank goodness we finally gave them their rights. That injustice really bothered me.

Why are they so unmotivated to get ahead?

We welcome everyone to our Sunday school.

I wonder why no minorities runs for school board in this town.

Their young men are so dangerous.


Young people these days are fatter than we were in our generation.

Ah, most of the gals are not stuffing their Thanksgiving turkeys anymore. Just roast it dry and you can buy stuffing kits that are much tastier and so much easier.

Women do too much work around the house.

Why don’t people cook real food anymore? Women weren’t so lazy in our generation.


We take care of our own.

The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Do you shop for Fair Trade products? 

Oh, I can’t afford Fair Trade chocolate or coffee. That stuff is nearly double grocery store prices.

Yes, I give money frequently to organizations that help those poor people in Africa.

We need a change in Washington. Prices are way too high.

Did you hear that because of the war in Ukraine the price of wheat will keep going up and up and it will cause hunger and starvation in many places around the world?

A penny saved is a penny earned.


Oh Honey, look how high you can jump!

Oops, you fell down. Want to sit on my lap for a couple minutes until it stops stinging?

Congratulations on achieving Honor Roll while you are still in elementary school! You are good at paying attention and figuring things out.

You’re graduating from Nursing School?  I knew from when you were a toddler you were going places.


Of for crying out loud, it’s just a little scrape.

You had a bad day at school? Well join the human race. Think I like my job?

Complaining only makes it worse.

Big kids don’t cry.

I’m so sorry you have this advanced disease. You waited longer than most to start dealing with it. I don’t mean to make you feel worse than you already do, but why did you wait so long to come in?


Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

You’re too old to feel this glum.

All you have to do is get up and try harder.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I wonder why she quit our group and moved across the country? Doesn’t she miss us?



I hear voices telling me to try harder and work more and not be so sensitive. I hear voices telling me I’m interesting to listen to and that I try hard things and I make the world safe for mistakes. (I love that last one).  So much of our adult lives are constrained - or opened up - by the echoes of people far away and long gone.

What echoes still reverberate in your mind?  










Leonard's picture

There is a very good Mary Oliver poem, "The Journey." (You can't click on this link, but you can copy it and paste it in your browser.)

You're flighty like Aunty Gladys. Christine can draw very well. You're so damn dumb. You got all A's again! The Irish get everything in this city. Your sister has a beautiful figure. Cats are a dime a dozen. You did what you thought was right at the time...don't beat yourself up. Try prayer. Blondes look wishy washy. Christine has lots of friends. Your sister is a fabulous cook! You have a lot of patience Christine. In fact, you were even a patient baby. Look in the mirror and know you did your best today.
Mary Beth's picture

This is poetry. Thank you. I hear it.

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Cats Again (Lost In Racine)


Because I now have my Substack site where I can publish my stories, its more exciting to write fiction. I’m working on a story now.

Meanwhile, here’s a newspaper column of yore. If you like cats, you will probably like it. If you don’t like cats, well, you are missing a lot of grace, humor, and vacuuming opportunities.

We don’t currently want to adopt new cats, but since we’ve now lived with twelve of the world’s finest, we are rich in memories that make us laugh.

Len’s Birthday


Last week I mentioned that Monday of this week would be Len’s birthday. A friend remarked to me ever so kindly later that day, “I thought his birthday was the 30th?”

It is. Len’s birthday is the 30th. This same friend has commented to me, over the years, about how much I remember.

Covid Diary #1350 Thanksgiving


Today is 1350 days since the that March Friday in 2020 when we all went into quarantine.

Today is 60 years since JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963. I remember that day, so does Len, so do many of you. Here’s a scary truth. We are as far today from that day – as that day was from the Wright brother’s first flight at Kitty Hawk on Dec 17, 1903.

Quarantine Diary #1349 Sci-Fi & Prophecy


We both took Covid tests this morning and both of us still have pink lines. I asked the internet what this means and it says I might be pregnant.

I have a call into my doctor’s office to discuss. I feel so much better that if I didn’t know I have Covid, I wouldn’t know it. I’ve been sicker than this after too much pie.

Covid Diary #1347


A few of you might realize yesterday we were 1345 days since March 13, 2020, and today we’re at 1347. Yup, I used a different calculator. Just a fun reminder that precision depends as much on asking the right question as doing perfect math.

I’m in day #4 of having Covid. No more chills. I have a fever of 100.4 which is more impressive than the 100.2 that Len achieved on his Day #4.  I’m taking various OTC meds and I keep track of them in my phone’s notes because, wow, it’s so easy to have no memory of the last time one took something. I’m good. Enough.

Covid Diary #1345


I thought I was done with the Covid Diary but guess what? Len and I caught Covid this week! Actually, Covid caught us. We have continued to wear masks in stores, library, meetings, and our church so we will never know for sure where Len encountered Covid. And since I got it four days later, I guess we know where I got it…

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