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The Sun Magazine

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Channel One

Standing on the roof of a building high above Chapel Hill, I watch the sun passionately set. The sky is dazzling. The end of day heralded by pastels of tangerine, salmon, crimson, lavender, azure. Voluptuous swells of purple cumulus clouds glide across the lower sky while, high above, sleek streams of feathery cirrus race into the darkened east. I am awed.

Journal

Old letters are like old photographs of yourself. I’m shocked; I can actually hear this child-me speaking through these letters to myself. “To me when I am 13.” “To me when I am 16.” “To me when I am grown and a married lady.”

People Are Starving

We didn’t know what it was to be desired. We didn’t know what girls’ bodies were supposed to look like. We just knew it was better for us if nothing stuck out too far.

Loyalty Rewards

In the fall of 1991 I was the lowest-ranking waiter at a steakhouse in Hampton, Virginia. My sole transportation was a Honda 350 motorcycle — halfway between a street bike and a moped — whose chain slipped at the most inopportune times.

Lost Cause

My dad’s name was Ed, but his friends called him Eddie. In old photos he is Jack Nicholson handsome, with devilish good looks and a mischievous gleam in his eye. I can see why my mom fell for him.

A Place For Songs

In the summer we got word that the county forestland near our northern-Wisconsin home would be clear-cut. “Not my favorite pines,” I said, hoping. But, yes, those were the ones.

One Flight Up

One can die in cleanliness, or one can die in filth. I’m not talking about your soul. At the Prince Hotel — an old Bowery flophouse — the men paid a few dollars a night to live in stalls, four feet wide and six feet deep, with chicken-wire ceilings.

Shadow Dancing

Autumn comes, summer ends . . . so quickly.The fire is momentarily resurrected in dazzling fall days, brilliant changing falling leaves. I compete with birds and squirrels for the bounty of fruit, nuts, berries. Too delicate for scorching summer, good-eating greens form carpets everywhere. This season, between fire and ice, is a delightful respite.

Temple Sweeper

Adverse drug effects are encouraged by multiple drug use; interactions between medications may alter their intended therapeutic effect. Multiple prescriptions are common, particularly within the present fragmented health system in which a person’s care may be divided among various specialists. In addition, people are often misinformed concerning the identity, purpose, side effects and dosage instructions for their medications. Improper storage may alter the properties of drugs or even make them strongly toxic. For example, outdated tetracycline can cause kidney damage; nitroglycerin can deteriorate quickly if exposed to light or moisture.

Another Appetite

Except for a few independent strands, her soft white hair is pulled back from one of the gentlest faces ever to smile through a window. Her dress is plain, as comfortable as her worn blue tennis shoes, yet feminine. Gypsy Hollingsworth is one of those women one might have seen traveling in a conestoga wagon during the nineteenth century: appearing as fragile as a dandelion puff-ball, yet as indomitable as the plant itself. The strong silent type, she is, with a girlish spark in eyes have seen 76 years.