Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Looking back to messages from readers


From page A9 | December 30, 2012 |

When a reader sends an interesting response to one of my columns, I often think, “I need to write a follow-up column” to share the reader’s ideas.

But then I forget. Or I haven’t got enough material for a whole second column. Or I simply move on.

There’s a fourth option.

Today I offer an end-of-the year wrap-up of responses I received to a variety of topics.

Giving up the landline

In October I wrote about the ever-growing number of people who are giving up their landlines. One reader pointed out something significant that changes when a household has only cell phones.

When you call a cell phone, the person who answers will be the person who owns the cell phone. You won’t have an “accidental” conversation with another person who picks up the phone, as you might in a home with a landline.

In most cases, it’s good to get the person you want.

But I feel a loss. Every time I call my son, who has only a cell phone, I reach him. His girlfriend, who has her own cell phone, never picks up. Recently, they moved in together.

I don’t feel comfortable calling her directly yet, but I would love to have an accidental conversation or two. Cell phones make that impossible.

My favorite cereal

One of my lighter topics was about the demise of my favorite — in fact, my only — cereal. I was addicted to Smart Start Oat Flavor, which my 3-year-old grandson thought was named “Grandma’s Cereal.” When it disappeared from California supermarkets, I flew it home from my daughter’s place in Wisconsin.

When it began disappearing from shelves there, I found it on Amazon and bought a case. When that ran out, I wrote my column and a sainted reader (whose husband pines for the vanished Product 19) told me it was being unloaded at the Dollar Store.

I bought 16 boxes.

I ate them well past their expiration date, until finally I was about to run out. Feeling panicky, I bought other brands and tasted them. Most were too sweet. One reader had sent me a photo of a cereal she liked and I bought it for no other reason than her good will, but I didn’t fall in love.

Last week I slowly and sadly ate my last bowl of Smart Start. The next day I tried a new cereal that I had bought in Placerville. Oh joy! Nature’s Path Heritage Crunch is the most delicious substitute I’ve found so far. I danced around the room.

Then I remembered something. It was heavily marked down at the store where I bought it.

Could it be headed for oblivion, too?

Job Hunt for Academic Women

The column about my daughter’s job search drew an exceptional number of responses. Many readers reacted with sadness to the idea that a young woman with children (or planning to have children) cannot present her whole true self on academic interviews. My daughter had been advised not to mention her family.

After that column, I was invited to a meeting of the faculty advisers for UC Davis’ Work Life Program (established 2003) which tries mighty hard to make sure our local academic women get a reasonable shot at combining children and success in their careers. They also support time off for fathers. UCD’s family-friendly policies are more generous than policies in the 10-campus system overall.

Engineering professor Michael R. Hill, a member of the committee, wrote, “My hope for (your daughter) is that she will land a plum position and lead a family-connected life in plain view of her colleagues, and one day tell her students to present on their merits, without hiding things so lovely as a devotion to children, to family, and to a full life.”

I didn’t manage to write a column about UCD’s Work Life Program, but I applaud their efforts.


I have written about Larry more frequently than anyone outside my family. Whenever I write about him, I get email thanking me for continuing his story. Larry is the former home health aide to my father who began life with many disadvantages, including an abusive father, started college after I met him and became, at age 40, a poet.

Recently, he works as a host and guide at the Apollo Theatre in New York. His emails, which formerly contained punctuation and grammar mistakes, are smooth and polished. He sounds happy.

One reader described my role in Larry’s life as being his “witness,” which is not the same as being a friend or even a supporter. I wish I had the wisdom to write a column about what it is to be a witness, but not yet.


I wrote about traveling to the Big Island for a family wedding and missing the free leis we received on our previous visit 25 years earlier. Here’s the message I got from my daughter after that column:

“Your column brought back the scent for me — and I didn’t encounter any leis when I went as an adult. These must be old scent memories from 25 years ago.”

Her recall of a smell from the distant past — she was 6 years old at the time — fills me with wonder.

I am so lucky to write this column and get the messages I do.

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at [email protected]





New chemistry building in the works at UCD

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

County supervisors receive positive report on Laura’s Law

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Fix it yourself, with a little help, at Bike Forth

By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

California regulators approve unprecedented water cutbacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: Squeezed by the math on conservation

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Big Day of Giving surpasses $5 million goal

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Heidrick Ag History Center rebranded as California Agriculture Museum

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

May 11 talk focuses on clean water

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

‘From Age-ing to Sage-ing’ guides library group

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Crossing lines, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

’12 Angry Men’ will screen Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Kids get a peek at the great outdoors

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

BeerFest expands to include cider

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pet Food Express organizes Save a Kitten fundraiser

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Origami lovers will meet at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Breast cancer treatment update offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Earth-centered author comes to Avid Reader

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

MIND Institute lecture will focus on prenatal exposure to insecticide

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Round up at the registers for Davis schools

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

Retirees to hear about Woodland’s shade tree campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Health care documentary will screen at meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Pence Gallery: We’re overflowing with gratitude

By Natalie Nelson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Who is Ralph Hexter? Chancellor’s No. 2 fills us in

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery



New book flows with good news about water

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Injection wells endanger our aquifers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

Living with this for 30 years

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



Aggies go flat in 7-1 Sacramento State win at Raley

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils crush Edison to earn McClatchy rematch

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Blue Devils grind out a victory over Oak Ridge

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis boys dominate first playoff match

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Alliance/Legacy roundup: Local squads fare well over the weekend

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

AYSO roundup: Davis teams capture Fog Classic crowns

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Pro baseball roundup: Giants blank Pads, win fifth straight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10





High school artists exhibited at Pence Gallery

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

See Christian Quintin’s paintings at Hattie Weber Museum

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble returns

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Sac Ballet presents Modern Masters on May 8-9

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

Davis Youth Flute Choir tunes up for China tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8







Comics: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B5