Category Archives: sisters

The Sister card

April 9, 2022

My sister’s birthday.

Earlier this year, I went through the big box full of my sister’s documents and mementos. I found the card we’d exchanged over several years. I thought I’d lost it or misplaced it, so this was a wonderful surprise. I only wish we’d been able to send it to each other for many more years.


sister card 1










sister card 2.0


sister card 3
























Still miss her every day.


On the occasion of my sister’s birthday

It’s April 9th, my sister’s birthday. In what has become an annual tradition–for now anyway–I’m re-posting this edited version. Five years ago, in 2014, I was out of town at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and missed being here for her birthday. So I put together something special to make up for being away, becauseContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Days of Our Lives

I wrote this last year. Today would’ve been my sister’s 68th birthday: She was born on 4/9/49–a fact that always made her birthday seem more special. She is missed terribly by all who knew her. There’s an empty place at the table on this occasion, and all others when her friends or the family–whichever partsContinue Reading

Aunt Augusta’s Chair

 An excerpt from my book, in which a special chair follows our family through many transitions. This is from one of the “artifact” chapters that are woven into the story of the fire’s aftermath. There is only one black and white photo in the book, but there are so many more… I first saw thisContinue Reading

First Birthday

  My sister’s birthday is coming up in April. This will be the first time in over sixty years that I will not buy a card, select a gift, or have dinner with her. No candles, no cake, no celebration. The following month, in May, I will observe the first anniversary of her death—and thenContinue Reading

October: It’s almost over

Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out, October. Ever since 1989 and the Loma Prieta earthquake, followed two years later by the Oakland Hills firestorm, I have not been a fan of October. Those two major disasters in two years leave me feeling uneasy the moment I flip the calendar fromContinue Reading

A tribute to my sister

C.J. Hirschfield–friend, columnist, and Executive Director of Oakland’s beloved Children’s Fairyland–wrote this beautiful tribute to my sister Susie. Delighted to be sharing it with friends, family, and the community.   A Tribute to Susie   In this picture, she’s cutting the cake at my 25th anniversary party. It’s not the first time she’d stepped upContinue Reading

Susie Moments

We held a celebration of my sister’s life a couple of weeks ago. Several of us spoke–family and friends–and this is what I read. So many of you have expressed your shock and grief over Susie’s passing, and have talked about the ways to keep her memory alive. I have a few suggestions. If youContinue Reading


I wrote this in March, 2015. Before…   The lobby smells like tragedy and sickness today. I look around to see if there are any signs of an accident of a personal nature—orange cones, a bucket and mop, yellow tape—but there is no sign of such a thing. The uniformed guy behind the desk doesn’tContinue Reading