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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Author Archive: Marion Franck

Who among us deserves the label ‘creative’?

In college, my friends and I draped ourselves over dorm furniture and jawed about each other’s personalities and talents. Bobbie was good at math and science. Susan read fast and had a great memory. Marilyn was outgoing and Doreen was mysterious. I wanted “sexy” but had to settle for “not afraid to talk to new […]

What do I use to solve mysteries, fact or imagination?

It’s rare that something as small as an email will lead me to change my plans, plunk down money and enter a dark movie theatre on a sunny day. But I did that last Sunday after I got an email from my friend Hieu Dovan recommending a new movie that is briefly at the Varsity […]

Finding an old friend in a new place

About a year ago, my husband came to me full of excitement after he located two women he had known at the San Francisco Red Cross during his years as an active teen volunteer. One co-worker, whom he located through an acquaintance, still plays tennis twice a week and drives well. She’s over 90. Bob […]

When a grandparent makes a small mistake

It’s a holiday from preschool for my grandsons, aged 2½ and 4½, who live in a suburb of Chicago. My husband and I, babysitting, choose a normally sure bet for a successful excursion: the Kohl Children’s Museum. Packing for such a trip is a chore during Chicago’s third coldest winter. Sweatshirts. Overcoats. Boots. Shoes. Hats. […]

I’m ready to redesign the redesigned SAT

After 10 years, the College Board is once again changing the SAT. It’s all about fitting questions to the real world, they say. I guess they have their ideas about the real world and I have mine. According to the College Board, “The redesigned SAT (to be released in 2016) will be more focused on […]

Losing touch with the lives of the young

The year was 2005 and I was at a meeting of people from UC Davis and the Davis community to discuss the problem of irresponsible teen drinking. I was itching to raise my hand and speak, but something had changed in my life that stopped me. I no longer felt I had my finger on […]

Babies in the womb can’t keep a secret anymore

* Editor’s note: Marion is taking the week off. This column first appeared in slightly different form in 2005. “My friends look at me like I’m crazy, like it’s almost a sin or something,” said my niece, Traci, at her baby shower last weekend. “They ask me, ‘How can you stand not to know?’” “Everybody […]

Clock stops running but mystery goes on

My father liked to name things. Our cars had names like Vinnie and Eric. Our second home had a name, Shoestring. Even our clocks had names, something that seemed perfectly normal to me at the time. “The Witch,” a table clock with a rotating pendulum, got her name because she was a pain to keep […]

Why do we travel to Antarctica, or anywhere else?

I wrote seven columns about my trip to Antarctica, two before and five after the trip. I wrote with other people in mind, trying to respond to their curiosity about this unusual destination. What did Antarctica look and feel like? What would readers who are considering such a trip want to know? The more personal […]

This is my first food review; do I have it right?

Some dining experiences are unique, and when you’ve had one, you tell your friends. That’s why today I offer a review. Because I don’t normally write dining reviews, I consulted Wikihow. From this generously knowledgeable site, I learned the rules. 1) Describe, with details about the texture, taste, smell and feel to the food. 2) […]

Whale story: Lies never serve the truth

“That speaker was tearing up,” my husband said. “Did you see?” We were exiting a talk by one of the expedition team on our voyage to Antarctica. I missed the tears, but I did know that the speaker, Colin Baird, was carrying a great deal of emotion as he talked about his former work as […]

In Antarctic I seek penguins, and people, too

Today’s column describes an essential part of me, something that comes to the fore when I travel, something I wonder if other people do, too. Put simply, I look for “my people.” On my recent 17-day journey from the tip of Argentina to South Georgia Island and Antarctica, I was looking for my people the […]

What does ‘code blue’ mean in the Antarctic?

“Did you ever feel in danger?” friends asked after my trip to Antarctica. “Not really,” I said, but my anxiety did go up when I heard a term I didn’t understand over the PA system (code blue) and a couple of other times as well. From the beginning, I was trying to size up just […]

When emotion can’t keep up with what I see

A spokesman from the recent Australasian expedition to Antarctica that got stuck in ice remarked, “Surprisingly, all the passengers seem to be considering it the adventure of a lifetime.” I get that. Antarctica does something to you. I don’t know what it is for other people, but I know something about what it was for […]

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