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Holding My Breath … To Release My First Album

By Jean Storlie / October 7, 2019 /

The late-November afternoon sun cast a gloomy mood on Jackson’s day. The Sunday Scaries haunted him. His dad and he were listening to classic rock on the radio on their way to the grocery store. At 12 years old, he had been taking guitar lessons for three years. His second guitar teacher, Toby, had recently…

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The (Hi)story of a House

By Jean Storlie / September 9, 2019 /

On a dreary, rainy day in May, we decided to visit an open house that had just come on the market. We were contemplating a downsizing move but had not started to search for new homes. The whole process of buying and selling seemed daunting. But the gloomy forecast gave us an incentive to check…

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Weathering a Tornado with Target’s Customer Service

By Jean Storlie / June 5, 2019 /

We were heading toward the check-out line when an announcement came over the PA: “Attention Target Shoppers! Due to a tornado in the area, all customers must remain in the store. Please make your way to the back of the store and stay away from windows.” The announcement was unwelcome news at 7:30 pm. I’d…

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Diabetes Diagnosis Changes Family Dynamics

By Jean Storlie / April 2, 2019 /

“Mom, I’m not taking this note to my teacher,” ten-year-old Eric protested, while Karla shoved stuff into his backpack. “But Eric, your teacher needs to know these details about your blood sugar.” He grabbed his backpack and hollered, “Don’t send anymore notes to my teacher.” The door slammed shut. Twelve-year-old Emily rushed into the kitchen…

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Stroke Shattered Their Retirement Dreams

By Jean Storlie / March 5, 2019 /

Kim and Tom’s retirement dreams were shattered when Tom had a stroke five months ago. Married for 35 years, they live in a small town north of Cleveland. When Kim turned 60 three months before Tom’s stroke, she retired from her career as a social worker. Tom was a heavy-equipment operator, and they planned for him…

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Rescued from Skating on Thin Ice

By Jean Storlie / February 5, 2019 /

Overwhelmed by the throng of people whooshing past me, I drifted to the outer edge of the pond, unaware that I’d wandered onto thin ice. Suddenly, the ice gave out under me—the next thing I knew I was up to my armpits in water, clinging to the edge of broken ice. The blue sky and…

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Why Does a Jock School Need a Computer?

By Jean Storlie / November 5, 2018 /

My father fumed as he came out of a meeting with the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. It was the early 60s, and he had just pitched the need for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL) to install a computer system. The Regents had summarily dismissed his proposal. One of the Regents had scoffed at…

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Left-Handed in a Right Handed World

By Jean Storlie / June 5, 2018 /

After writing signatures with our non-dominant hands, we agreed that the action was clumsy, unnatural, inefficient—and our signatures turned out distorted. I was taking a certification course to become a facilitator in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) with a group who primarily represented the helping professions (social work, education, counseling). One of my innate, left-brain preferences came vividly…

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When You Want to Say “I Quit!”

By Jean Storlie / February 5, 2018 /

Shivering by the side of the pool, my seven-year-old-self did not want to jump into the water. The pool overwhelmed my senses; it was located in the cavernous basement of a 55-year-old YMCA (built in 1909). Kids’ voices echoed off the walls and the damp, rank air assaulted my nose. My sisters were already in…

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A Puzzling Family Gathering

By Jean Storlie / January 8, 2018 /

With sub-zero temperatures predicted for the holiday weekend, we decided to order a jigsaw puzzle and chose a picture of Santa’s Workshopthat was supposed to glow in the dark. On Christmas Eve day, we set up the 1,000-piece puzzle on a portable table in the center of our gathering space. An hour into the project, it…

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