CRAZY OR NOT HERE I COME

CRAZY OR NOT, HERE I COME By Phoebe Sparrow Wagner      I used to be “crazy.” Labeled CMI, chronically mentally ill, prone to psychosis, I was a revolving door mental patient, one who spent almost as much time in her adult life in the hospital as out of it. Although I had various diagnoses,

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FAIRWELL, SCORPION

FAREWELL, SCORPION by Steven K-Brooks The sign reads, “Fresh Poems.” A handsome young fellow with dark, curly hair sits on a folding chair, his fingers caressing his Smith-Corona. Today this young man’s saxophone is nowhere in sight. Today is dedicated exclusively to poems.  A man slows down as he approaches. Then he stops, reads

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Who’s Crazy?

Who’s Crazy? Every family has secrets. Mine had more than its share. If there were a way that my mother could have avoided telling me about Aunt Rose, I am sure that I would never had found out about her.  Rose had been in Rockland State Hospital since the 1930s when her brief marriage failed,

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The man with a prehensile thumb

The Man With a Prehensile Thumb It is one of the coldest days of winter, around zero Fahrenheit, but my clients — a young couple — are looking intently for the right home to purchase. We arrive a few minutes early at the next home on our viewing schedule. I park. The listing agent’s

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The Dress

The Dress by Phoebe Sparrow Wagner I will never forget The Dress. Worn only once, with three quarter-length sleeves cuffed in white, and a demure white collar, it had two layers of navy blue crepe skirting, with a dropped waist and a sash. This was the first “dressy” dress I ever picked out all

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Remembering Wally White and Faith Ministries

This story originally was published as the lead story in the Religion Section of the Dec. 19 – 20 Weekend Edition of the Brattleboro Reformer. Thirty-five years ago, the Town of Brattleboro gave a homeless shelter run by Faith Ministries a December 25 deadline to close. The Christmas deadline — a public relations blunder

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Ronald Did Not Get Fired

Ronald did not get fired In about one minute on a Friday, Armand destroyed a fragile family which was trying to make a go of it. Most of the crews Armand sent out could fix a few common problems.  As advanced training, Armand had told them: “If you don’t know what to do, say that

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Rent Day

Rent Day – fiction “Mr. Ashiotis will be here any time now, what am I going to tell him?” I asked, looking straight at Martha. It was two days past the first.   “I had to pay my tuition or I would have been dropped,” Martha replied. “That’s not what I meant. It was

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Schmoogala!

On Friday, November 13, 1953 we left our 2 bedroom apartment with a convertible sofa in the living room for our “private house” in Queens! Schmoogala! Soon after we moved from Apt. 2H, Building 27, 550 Ave. Z in Fred Trump’s Beach Haven to our cookie-cutter, semi-attached house at 46-05 216th Street, in Bayside,

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“Hey Jew!”

“HEY JEW!’ The arresting officer opened the back door of his police car and ordered me out. “Don’t try anything,” he warned. “What am I going to try?” I asked, slightly amused. “My hands are cuffed behind my back. You have a gun, a club, and training.” “That’s right!” he replied, “You’ve got the

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Dartmouth Vacation

Dartmouth Vacation This story was first published as an April 17, 2013 VOICES column in The Commons. PART I — Facing Death In April of 2004, the Angel of Death paid me a visit, and gave me a close brush. As it turned out, he was not there to reap, but to teach. My ordeal began with

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Credentials

JOURNALISM Thin Credentials You’re not a journalist!” she accused after reading my September 23, 1989 E&P Shoptalk At Thirty:  “Scrutinizing press coverage of an issue in Vermont,” a copy of which I had given her.  Grinding out a couple of stories each day for the Rutland Herald, she thought that “journalist” only applies to a staff reporter like

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