Smoking in the girls’ room, sneaking a drink, napping
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Janice Levy was first published in The Sun in December 1991. She lives in Merrick, New York.
This month marks The Sun’s twenty-fifth anniversary. As the deadline for the January issue approached — and passed — we were still debating how to commemorate the occasion in print. We didn’t want to waste space on self-congratulation, but we also didn’t think we should let the moment pass unnoticed. At the eleventh hour, we came up with an idea: we would invite longtime contributors and current and former staff members to send us their thoughts, recollections, and anecdotes about The Sun. Maybe we would get enough to fill a few pages.
What we got was enough to fill the entire magazine.
Though we haven’t devoted the whole issue to the anniversary, we have allowed the section to grow beyond our original plans. After seeing the pieces, we felt that our readers would enjoy them as much as we did — for the information about the magazine’s history, for the glimpses into the writers’ lives, and (not least) for the quality of the writing.
My mother wasn’t from the cooks. Her measuring cups were chipped, her pots dented, her pans blackened and bruised. She used the bottom of her shirt as a potholder. When she burned or cut herself, she’d give a yelp, but never put on a band-aid. She was always in a hurry.
When I was seven, my father used to complain that I ate like a dinosaur — the kind that stood on its hind legs and ripped off tree branches with its mouth. The louder he yelled at me, the more I used my spoon like a shovel, until he’d wrap his fingers around my wrist and squeeze so tightly I couldn’t breathe.
“Here, take this and get out of my sight already,” he’d yell, pushing money into my shirts and pants. I learned to keep my opinions to myself. I also wore clothes with lots of pockets.