Marion Franck

I’ve planned my next step; will Obama follow suit?

I have a friend who used to write editorials for the New York Times. “It was the pinnacle,” he admitted over dinner recently in Chicago where he moved for the sake of his kids, took a job with the Chicago Tribune, and later became a college professor. Although I’ve read some of Don’s writing, I […]

A celebrity I saw in person honks his way into Heaven

* Editor’s note: Marion is on vacation. This column first ran in May 2006. Last week, reading an obituary, I felt sad about the death of a man I never knew and never saw — except when he wore a clown suit. I was 7 and Lew Anderson was 32 years old when he became the […]

Moments in a waiting room can be important

* Editor’s note: Marion is on vacation. This column first ran in 2005. I am sitting in a waiting room in Kaiser Permanente at Morse Avenue. I don’t belong to Kaiser, but I have driven my elderly friend Mr. Y to his medical appointment. Kaiser is renovating the building, so a fairly large number of […]

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Book speaks to the young, and maybe to me, too

* Editor’s note: Marion is on vacation. This column first ran in slightly different form in 2005. I recently read a novel that I should have read 35 years ago. Unfortunately, when I was young enough for this book, the author was young, too, and hadn’t written it yet. If I had read “The Alchemist” […]

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Reunion reminds me how I became a kayaker

Nearly 20 years ago I drove six hours and arrived all alone at Sundance Kayak School in southern Oregon for my first lessons in whitewater kayaking. In order not to leave our young children, my husband and I had decided to try this new sport one at a time, I the first summer, he the […]

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Seeking a connection with a stranger in Queens

* Editor’s note: Marion is on summer vacation. This column first appeared in January 2005. Today I am on the subway, thundering towards the apartment of my mother’s oldest living friend, Vera, who resides in Jackson Heights, Queens. My mother and Vera met at work in the 1940s, but they didn’t see much of each […]

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Does repetitive work have to fence people in?

* Editor’s note. Marion Franck is on vacation. This column originally ran January 2003. Today I feel like a mouse in a cage. I’m sitting where I always sit, with a window in front of me and another to my right, looking out on the green of my backyard, normally very soothing, but this time […]

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I await the moment of birth in two locations

“This kind of news never ceases to amaze,” wrote a good friend after I sent out the email from Wisconsin announcing the birth of my second grandson. I’m grateful to her for capturing something that is deeply true: nothing is more anticipated than the birth of a baby — calculated down to the day of […]

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Unheralded workers deserve a special thanks

* Editor’s note: Marion is on vacation. This column is slightly edited from the original, which ran in 2002. By Marion Franck “I’ve got a piece of real bad news,” my husband said as he got into the car, squinting as if he were trying not to see something. I knew he was going to […]

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Who would bother to learn the ‘language of hope’?

* Editor’s note: Marion is on vacation. This column was first published in 2002 but has been updated. This year marks the 152nd anniversary of the birth of Ludwig L. Zamenof, inventor of Esperanto. If his idea had caught on, we might be setting off fireworks today and singing “Feliĉan Naskiĝtagon.” Instead, I bet half […]

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Why do my nuggets of wisdom sound like a scold?

* Editor’s note: Marion is on vacation. This column has been slightly edited since it first ran in June 2002. In the late 1990s, a graduation speech falsely attributed to Kurt Vonnegut buzzed around the Internet and later became the basis for a popular song by Baz Luhrmann called “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”. The […]

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Father-in-law offers many lessons, but can I learn them?

Marion is on vacation. This column first ran in September 2002. I wonder if there are certain things I just can’t learn. I’m not talking about nuclear physics, which I know I can’t learn, or tying flies, which doesn’t interest me. I’m talking about genuine life skills, things I truly want to learn. Let me […]

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Kindle offers the new book, but am I the new reader?

“I always take three books when I fly,” a friend said. “The first is the book I’m finishing. The second is the book I plan to read next. The third is in case I don’t like the second one. “It gets heavy.” This friend had a birthday and now owns a Kindle, Amazon’s e-book reader. […]

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Piano music has wings that carry me home

I knew what was going to be special about the house concert I attended on May 22. I would see my new friend Dennis Johnson, an accomplished pianist, in his element, hear his music, and spend time with his wife and friends. As a young man, Dennis practiced up to five hours a day, and […]

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