At Seventeen

At Seventeen

We celebrated a friend's 17th birthday last night. Since then, "At Seventeen," Janis Ian's 1975 hit song, has been stuck in my head. "I learned the truth at 17, that love was meant for beauty queens..." The truth about 17 is that it has always been a challenging age, a plateau of poignancy from which [...]

On words and their impact

On words and their impact

My father in-law understood the impact of language. A husband, father, grandfather, attorney and Scrabble savant, he selected words precisely, like instruments on a surgical tray, and recognized their power to both slice and soothe. He valued intelligent debate, jotted thoughts on lined yellow paper, and sent notes clipped to relevant newspaper articles. At one [...]