Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Oh, Kaye!" - Celebrating Labor Day Weekend With Some Summer Memories




Happy Labor Day Weekend, Reds!  I hope everyone is doing something they enjoy in honor of this long holiday weekend - something relaxing and labor-free as we say good-bye to summer.




I recently read THE BIG HOUSE, A CENTURY IN THE LIFE OF AN AMERICAN SUMMER HOME by George Howe Colt.

Here’s an excerpt:

“My family calls it, simply, the Big House.  Each summer for forty-two years I have traveled here from winter homes across the United States.  The Big House is where I learned how to swim, play tennis, sail.  The Big House is where I first kissed a girl, first got drunk, first experimented with drugs.  My most vivid dreams and nightmares are set here.  It is where I read the books my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather read as children, and where I wrote my own first book.  It is where I decided to get married.  It is where my wife and I buried keepsakes to remind us of two miscarried babies, not far from where my grandfather’s ashes are buried.  I have come to recognize the peculiar rattle each window makes in its casement, the luffing of each window shade, the texture of each forest path under my bare feet, the sound of each screen door slamming, the nine-second pause between the beam from Cleveland Ledge Light that stripes my wall as I lie in bed at night.  Although I have spent only a month or two here each year for four decades, I have always thought of it as home, if home is the one place that will be in your bones forever.”

The writer describes how, as children, he and his brothers would point out, and loudly shout out, landmarks along the way during their summer journey from their winter home to the sprawling 100 year old, four-story, eleven bedroom summer home on Cape Cod.  And how his children are now pointing out the very same landmarks on their summer journey to the Big House.  And continue the pointing and shouting once they reach the house; in a kind of “Hi House, I’m back” arrive and reacquaint tradition.

And while reading I remembered my own family’s summer journey.  The journey we took every summer to Ocean City, Maryland

There certainly weren’t any Big Houses waiting for us, unless we count the rooming house hotel we always stayed in while we were there.  The Dennis.  Or as we always referred to it, “Miz Dennis’ place.”  







Ella Phillips Dennis  is a woman I wish I could have known. 


Her story has always fascinated me.

She moved to Ocean City in 1890 to regain her health after a long illness. Two years later she built the Dennis Hotel.  She was also a staunch Presbyterian and has been given credit for founding the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean City.



Miz Dennis became well known for her ability to speak her mind and is said to have made statements to, among others, the local newspaper, concerning the men of Ocean City, MD that “Ocean City is seventy percent built by women, run by women and the men are all henpecked.”  (She sounds pretty healthy to me.)


She was one among a group of smart, savy, formidable women known as the Petticoat Regime of 1890-1926.  Of the thirty-two hotels and boarding houses listed in a 1926 guide to Ocean City, all but two were owned and managed by women.  


More about that here:
http://www.ocmuseum.org/index.php/site/oc-history_article/the_petticoat_regime_of_1890_1926/
 



Now, I don’t know who actually owned “Miz Dennis’ Place” when we stayed there, but I do think it was still in the Dennis family.  I remember the place as well as I remember any place I’ve ever been.  I remember the long hallways, and I remember it having odd little nooks and crannies – the  types of little hidey nooks children just love.  I remember big wrapping porches, and I remember everyone being wonderfully kind.
 
Obviously, my family didn’t have much in common with Mr. Colt’s family.  At least not financially, and  not culturally.  But, we did share a love of the sea.  And the need to emotionally reconnect with a place that holds our hearts.

My traditional reacquaintance with Ocean City goes sorta like this.
 

Mother and Daddy and I drive from  Cambridge.  Me in the backseat bouncing, and pointing and squealing, “LOOK!  There’s  Mr. King’s filling station!  Wonder if he’s there?!  Can we stop and say Hey?!  He gives me candy.”  

"LOOK!  There’s Mr. & Mrs. Ruark’s restaurant!  Wonder if they’re there?!  Can we stop and say Hey?!  They put gravy on my French fries for me.”  

"LOOK!  Isn't that Miss Clara's house?!  Wonder if she's there?!  But let's not stop - her turkey chased me the last time we were here!"


Needless to say – the two hour drive usually took a bit longer than two hours.

 
Approaching Ocean City, we cross a bridge, windows down and we can smell the salt.  And we feel “different.”  We know there’s something in the air.  Some shimmering “something.”   Something that’s hard to define.  You just know it when you experience it.  You just have to let yourself feel it.  It’s pure and clean and freeing, and I guess if we have to give it a name, it would be joy.


After crossing the bridge, we turn right and go to the parking lot at the very edge of town, past the very beginning of the Boardwalk.  As we get out of the car and I start to run, I hear my dad say, “Kaye Alan, don’t run!”  


I hear my mom say “You’re going to fall!”  

Did I listen?!  Why, no – of course not!  Fall?!  Me?!  Pfft!
 

And with the waves hitting the sandy white beach to my right, 



and Marty's Playland along with Trimper's Carousel to my left, my little feet would hit that Boardwalk going a hundred miles an hour. 

 

 





 


 


 


 
 



And boom.

Down I would go.

And it would hurt!  And my knees would be all skinned and I would cry.  Loudly.


I’d collect hugs from Mother & Daddy and hear an “I told you so” or two.  And then we would have to start the hunt for a band aid.  And there was always some kind shop keeper who would have a band aid they would give us.  Along with the use of their bottle of iodine.  Just seeing that bottle would have me screaming like a maniac.  “No No No No.  No No No No.”

Mother saying, “This might burn.  Blow on it, ok?”

MIGHT burn?!  BLOW on it?!  WTF????

Before it was over with I’d be blowing (in between the “No No No No’s), Daddy would be blowing, the shop keeper would be blowing  (surely in hopes the other customers didn’t think he was responsible for the brutal murder of this pitiful child screaming “No No No No.”), sometimes a couple other kind and nosy customers would join in on the blowing.  All blowing on my skinny little bloody knee while it got painted with iodine and plastered over with a huge band aid.


Very pretty.

Did this happen more than once?

Oh yes.

Which was a topic of conversation amongst the family for years.  Guaranteed to bring laughs and guffaws.  And the question was always asked, “Well, why didn’t you think to take your own iodine and band aids?!” 


GOOD question!   

But I think Mother & Daddy always left the house thinking, “surely to God, this child is NOT going to fall again this year.”  

Pfft.  

Wrong. 

The child was clumsy.  What can I say?
 

They did, eventually, start remembering to put the iodine and a tin of band aids in the car.

Why that passage at the beginning of this blog reminded me of my clumsiness on the Boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland might elude some of you.  


Then again, maybe not.
 

There are always memories connected to places we love.  

One memory will stir another memory, and so it goes . . .

 and it doesn't have to have a thing to do with how big a place is, or how much it costs, or if it's on Cape Cod, the French Riviera, or a small resort town in Maryland.


We all find common ground in our memories of what we love best in our lives.



 
 
Ocean City, MD is still one of my favorite spots on God's green earth.  Now though, instead of going with my mom and dad, I go with my Donald. 
 
 
 
 
And, usually, along with the same group of kids I grew up with in Cambridge.  We've been going to Ocean City together for an awful lot of years - eating Thrasher's French Fries, and bringing home boxes of fudge and salt water taffy from Dolle's Candyland, and visiting Laughing Sal who now lives in the Ocean City Museum -  and here's hoping we'll continue for many more years to come.
 
 
 
 
Best friends and favorite places.
 
Life is good.
 
 
 


Happy Labor Day, Reds!  As summer comes to a close, do you have a favorite summer memory you want to share? A summer place that lives in your heart?






Bag Lady



 Announcing the winners of this week's book giveaways! ARCs of THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS: Jack Getze, Gram, Reine, Jamie Freveletti, Karen in Ohio, Judy in Owego, Lynda and Marianne in Maine. TROUBLED DAUGHTERS, TWISTED WIVES: Lisa Alger and Mary Sutton. 

Please send an email with your mailing address to julia at juliaspencerfleming dot com. Congratulations!

 
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING:  There are two types of women in the world: shoe women, and handbag women. I am firmly in the latter camp, making me, I suppose, a bag lady. I certainly own enough to fill a shopping cart to overflowing.

I'm not sure what causes the great divide. In my case, I suspect it comes fom having extra-extra wide feet and impossibly high arches. Finding great shoes was just too much of a chore. Buy great bags - why those are everywhere. On Ebay. At yard sales. In consignment stores and designer outlets and marked down at the end of the season at Macy's.

I can't recall any of my bags before I started my first job in D.C., but I remember going to the now-defunct Woodward & Lothrop to get my first serious, grown up purse. It was a small Coach mailflap style in British Tan. Oh, how I loved that bag. It was the first of several Coach purses and totes I've collected over the years. I still have it, although it's been sadly battered and stained over the decades.

(It was a great disappointment to me when Coach stopped making simple, classic leather satchels and started selling bags designed for sixteen-year-old mall rats.)

I don't keep all the purses I've bought over the years - I'd need an extra bedroom for those. Some are very much of their time: There was that suede mauve-and-gray clutch that was more 80's that a Debbie Harry record. Or the one I got when I mistakenly bought into the early 00's studded look - I could have used that one as a weapon in a motorcycle bar fight. But I do have several dozen at this point: leather and straw, quilted cotton and wool, satchels and shoulderbags and totes and clutches.

My husband and youngest daughter and I went to the movies last night, and I came downstairs ready for our date looking, if I do say so myself, rather fine. "How do I look?" I asked (because you do, don't you?)

"You're always so pulled together," my husband said.

"That's because I always have the right bag for the outfit."

"You do, yes." He frowned, perhaps thinking of the overflow of purses taking up large sections of our bedroom. "I didn't know that about you when I asked you to marry me."

Thankfully, he didn't speculate on what he would have done had he known about my bag lady tendencies. How about you, dear readers? Do you have the perfect bag? One you can't live without?

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Secret Sarah




Jungle Reds: Let's just say we're in awe of Sarah Weinman. We are trying to be cool, but it is not working. (It is working for one of us, but we're not telling which one...)

Anyway. Yesterday Sarah gave us a bit of the scoop on her new book, TROUBLED DAUGHTERS, TWISTED WIVES: Stories From the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense. 

Say it with us:

Fourteen chilling tales from the pioneering women who created the domestic suspense genre…
In case you missed yesterday--where were you? --in Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives Weinman brings together fourteen hair-raising tales by women who — from the 1940s through the mid-1970s—took a scalpel to contemporary society and sliced away to reveal its dark essence. Lovers of crime fiction from any era will welcome this deliciously dark tribute to a largely forgotten generation of women writers.

She's the News Editor for Publishers Marketplace, where she works on Publishers Lunch, the industry’s essential daily read. She also writes the more-or-less monthly “Crimewave” column for the National Post.

A whole lot more about Sarah below...

but today, the Reds decided to explore the secret Sarah. By asking her cleverly posed questions (Hank, ever the researcher, got some of them out of the Neiman Marcus catalog. Do you believe that?) we will try to plumb the depths of the...we mean, well, here they are. 

Her answers are quite wonderful!  And at the end? You answer some of them--and we'll give away Sarah's new new book to a lucky commenter!


**You're penning an autobiography. What's the title?

The possibility of an autobiography is pretty remote at this point, but if that changes, the title would be NORMAL FEMALE, because when my mother was five months pregnant with me and got back the results of her amniocentesis -- it was the 1970s, and 36 was considered "older" for pregnant women then, no longer so much now -- and told her mother, she exclaimed, "A Normal Female!".

**Your idea of perfection?

78 degrees, sunny with a few clouds, a book in my hand, an iced coffee and a chocolate chip scone on a plate next to me. Rinse and repeat.

**What was the moment you got the inspiration for your new book?

I'm not sure there was a moment, but once I began writing the essay for the literary magazine Tin House that was the impetus for Troubled Daughters, I knew this whole idea of overlooked female suspense writers of a certain generation was one I needed to pursue for a very long time.

**What talent do you wish you had?

 Woodworking/carpentry. Would make so many things so much easier.

**What's your greatest fear?

Dying alone, my body undiscovered for weeks. I've seen the effects of that, literally, and it is horrifying. (Also: a fairly common New York City-based fear, I've learned.)

**If not your current occupation, what would you like to be?

Investigator/policy advocate for missing persons and long term unidentified individuals. But truth be told, I don't see myself leaving writing and journalism behind.

**Cat/Bird/Dog/Fish?

Dog.

**What puts you in a creative mood?

A state of relaxation. Barring that, tenacity.

**What is your most treasured possession?

First edition of Shel Silverstein's LAFCADIO: THE LION WHO SHOT BACK. Which is not actually among my possessions at the moment, it's elsewhere.

**What is something about you that no one would guess?

I cannot wink. Don't have the right eye muscles to do it. Believe me, I have tried, and practiced, but it doesn't work.

**Favorite indulgence?

Chocolate chip scones. Sigh.

**If you could rewrite your history, what one thing would you change?

Sometimes I think my entire life is about rewriting past history.

**Which artist do you most admire?

Shel Silverstein. A career like his is impossible now.

**What would you do with one extra hour in your day?

Work, sadly. Or read.

**What is the first musical/concert you attended?

I have my mother's word for this, but again, when she was pregnant with me, she knew I was going to be a musical child because I kicked very hard in the womb while she attended a Mozart recital.

**Which single piece of art do you wish you'd created?

Sticking to crime fiction: Dorothy B. Hughes' IN A LONELY PLACE.

**How would you like to be remembered?

Kind, but fair.

**Secret junk food vice?

Seeing as I've already mentioned chocolate chip scones twice in this Q&A, I guess it isn't so secret....

**If you had to pick your theme song, what would it be?

"I Can't Touch the Sun", as sung by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show.

Ed note--here's the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2PkbOG-Rn4

**What are you going to do next--right now?

After answering these questions? Updating the Domestic Suspense website, and then reading a few more pages of a forthcoming Sholem Aleichem biography.

Thank you, Sarah! Amazing.
Hank's three answers: The Juggler, Franz Marc's Deer in the Forest or Joni Mitchell's Carey, and Twizzlers.
How about yours? 
Remember, Sara's book to one lucky commenter!


More about Sarah Weinman:


Her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in many print and web publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Observer, the Los Angeles Review of BooksTin House, The Daily BeastMaclean’s, The Daily, The Guardian, The New York PostThe Atlantic.com, the New Yorker’sPage-Turner blog, Quill & QuireTabletThe Philadelphia Inquirer, and New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth”. She’s also appeared on C-SPAN’s BookTV, Minnesota Public Radio’s “Midmorning” and NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered to speak about crime fiction and the publishing industry.
Weinman’s short fiction has appeared in DUBLIN NOIR (Akashic Books), BALTIMORE NOIR (Akashic Books), DAMN NEAR DEAD (Busted Flush Press), EXPLETIVE DELETED (Bleak House Books), A HELL OF A WOMAN: An Anthology of Female Noir (Busted Flush Press), LONG ISLAND NOIR (Akashic Books) Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
Previously she reported on the publishing industry for DailyFinance and wrote “Dark Passages,” a monthly online mystery & suspense column for the Los Angeles Times, and “The Criminalist”, a monthly online column for the Barnes & Noble Review. Earlier in her career she was the Baltimore Sun’s crime fiction columnist and an editor for mediabistro.com’s publishing industry news blog GalleyCat.
In a parallel life, she completed her M.S. in Forensic Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of New York in February 2004 and still harbors faint hopes of actually making use of her degree someday.
From October 2003 through January 2011, Weinman created and maintained the popular blogConfessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind,  which USA Today hailed as “a respected resource for commentary on crime and mystery fiction”. The blog has been mentioned in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Ottawa CitizenLibrary Journal and the India Times Business-Standard.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why I'm Glad My First Book Is An Anthology: a guest blog by Sarah Weinman

 
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING:  Back in 2003, before YouTube, before Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest, young Sarah Weinman was a crime fiction lover who decided to start a "weblog," as they were then known. Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, with its book reviews, author interviews, tales of true crime and news of the publishing world became a daily must-read for writers, readers and publishing insiders. Its success boosted Sarah to national visibility: she became a columnist for the LA Times and the Baltimore Sun, an editor at the publishing industry news blog GalleyCat, and eventually led to her current job as an editor at Publishers Marketplace.

Along the way, she became the go-to historian and literary scholar for all things crime fiction, appearing in publications such as the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The  Guardian. Her short stories have been anthologized in several books, including Dublin Noir and Damn Near Dead, and have appeared online as well as in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

You can see why we're excited to have Sarah here at Jungle Red Writers. In fact, we think she has so much to say of interest to our readers that we've taken the unusual step of inviting her as our guest for two days running. Today, she talks about a particular kind of sleuthing: that of bringing forgotten women writers back from obscurity.

In the book world there are dreams so many writers dream they almost feel like cliché. Publishing a novel before the age of thirty. Cracking a major bestseller list. Seeing hundreds or thousands of fans at a book signing. Winning a prestigious award. Finding that signature character that will be read and remembered years after leaving the mortal coil.

Having indulged in a few of these reveries myself – and hey, some of them are still within the realm of possibility – I'm no stranger to grand writerly fantasies. But I know that when I look back on whatever further career develops, I'll be glad my first book was an anthology. Especially this anthology. Here's why:

It's not about me. Yes, my name's on the book, I wrote the introduction and selected the stories. And, aside from Dorothy Salisbury Davis, still sharp and spry at the age of 97, I'm the only living representative readers and media can contact. But what would make me utterly giddy is if Troubled Daughters,Twisted Wives spurred current readers to go out looking for what else the authors in the anthology wrote. Which leads to...

If reissues happen as a result, the anthology is already a success. In some instances, backlists are readily available. Patricia Highsmith's, thanks to W.W. Norton and Grove/Atantic, and Shirley Jackson's thanks to Penguin and FSG. Helen Nielsen's, thanks to Prologue Books. Open Road filled in the gaps for Dorothy B. Hughes that NYRB Classics and The Feminist Press hadn't, and also sell much of Charlotte Armstrong's ouevre, too. Stark House Press has been doing yeoman's work with many books by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, and Vera Caspary's greatest suspense novels are also under The Feminist Press's watch.

But Margaret Millar's work remains, for the most part, shamefully out of print. The same goes for Davis, Celia Fremlin, Nedra Tyre, Joyce Harrington, and Miriam Allen deFord. The greater the awareness of these excellent writers off of single stories, the better chance of more permanent fixing in the literary and crime fiction canon.

I learned some valuable skills. The key reason I began work on TroubledDaughters was to give proper due to 20th century domestic suspense fiction, and the female writers who found their voice within this category. But I also wanted to learn about aspects of book publishing I wasn't exposed to as a reporter, critic, and occasional pundit.

People in the book business speak of permissions with grumbling impatience, and there were certainly times – luckily, not that many – when negotiating with an agency or author estate spiked my blood pressure. But those moments were easily counteracted by the satisfaction of being able to tell the child or grandchild of one of the authors that yes, their work would be discovered by a new audience. And yes, I thought the work was good and still held up well and resonated further in the 21st century.

An anthology requires old-fashioned detective work. There were mean streets and blind alleys and wild goose chases and lots and lots and lots of waiting, the same as any detective, working for a police department or a private firm, knows. Some estates or rightsholders were so readily available it took less than an hour to track down. Others took weeks or months. And, in the case of Miriam Allen deFord, the matter of who controls her literary rights is such a mystery that even the daughter of the Bay Area-based ACLU lawyer who was deFord's executor until his death in 1998 didn't have an answer. That's a whole other story I'd like to tell someday – hopefully with a gratifying resolution.

The stories are terrific. These fourteen women, along with dozens of their contemporaries, knew how to tell a chilling suspense tale that is impossible to put down until the reader is done. I still recall my own vivid sense of horror or wonder or voiced-out-loud amazement at these stories, wondering how so many of them had all but been consigned to the dust pile. Now, I hope, they won't ever be again. 


Please join us tomorrow for our group interview with Sarah! You can find out more about Sarah Weinman at her website (currently undergoing renovation) and at Domestic Suspense. You can friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter as @sarahw, and check out her Tumblr

BREAKING NEWS: And we are DEAD ON THE LEVEL (see above)--a signed copy of Sarah's new book to one lucky commenter today..and one tomorrow! Hurray! (And hurry..it could VANISH IN AN INSTANT.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What to Expect When You're Expecting (a college freshman)

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING:  It's that time of year again, dear readers. Back to school - or, in the case of my eldest, back to college. Over the past few years, I've handed out advice on touring campuses, on getting your student into college, and even how to deal with having the kids back for the holiday break.

Tomorrow, Ross and I will be heading down to Hartford, Connecticut, where we will leave The Boy in Trinity College's care for the next four years. (We've done what we can, Trinity - now you take a crack at him.) We will be making this trip in a car packed with more worldly goods than a family of six took on the Oregon Trail. The Boy will be bleary-eyed from staying up until 2 am messaging his hometown friends. And I will still be filling out the last of the approximately 187 forms that are now required to transfer ownership responsibility for your teen. So, obvs, I am the perfect person to tell you, parent of a high school senior, how to handle this important period in your family's life.



1. Start saving those Target gift cards. Seriously. You will walk into your local Target (or Walmart) with the intention of getting your incoming freshman a pair of flip flops for the shower and some sheets. You will stagger out again four hours later, having spent $341 on a mini-fridge, underbed storage bins, a bed-in-a-bag set, folding chair (with coordinating lamp,) shower caddy, backpack laundry bag, a throw rug and an over-the-door whiteboard organizer.

I never thought of myself as one of those parents until I found myself trying to ensure my son's cinder-block dorm room could pass for a suite at the Hyatt. You know what I took to college with me? A hot pot and a three-gallon jug of laundry detergent! (Which I also got for my son. And stain remover. I stopped myself from buying the expandable drying rack.) I probably should have followed my mother's advice. When I went away to Ithaca, she said, "You have to live in your room for a while before you'll know what you really need." In this instance, you should probably listen to her, unless you can convince yourself that you'll decorate with multi-colored milk boxes if your kid finds she doesn't use them.

2. Bookmark those college sites and save your kid's user name and password. Unsurprisingly for institutes of higher learning, colleges want to share information with you and your matriculating student. Lots and lots of information. There will be the email service and the student portal, the financial aid page and the ebill pay site, the incoming student update list, the bookstore text list, the pdfs from professors and TAs list...  you and your student will find yourself muttering across the dining room table as you each attempt to navigate the labyrinth from your respective laptops. Save every one as you locate it, and the next time you need the orientation schedule, you'll have it in a thrice, leaving more time for important things, like telling your kid to for God's sake get off the YouTube jazz channel and start packing already.

3 Make time for those little, practical life lessons. You will be amazed to discover that the same teen who took three AP courses and hit the 95th  percentile on the SATs doesn't know how to use a washing machine. Or write a return address on a letter. Or balance a checking account (to be fair, I still don't know how to do this.) The Boy and I spent a half hour practice-sorting pieces of clothing, an exercise that looked a lot like vocational training for a severely intellectually-disabled adult. "What about khaki?" "What do you think?" "Uh... colors?"

I don't care how self-sufficient you've made your children; unless you're part of the Swiss Family Robinson, I guarantee your kid is missing out on some everyday skill that you assume everybody over the age of, say, three, knows. Did you know you have to teach your kids how to look up a phone number? See what the internet has wrought.

4. Try to keep an even keel. Living with a teen in the last weeks before her college life begins is like sitting in on Uta Hagen's master class in acting: tears! anxiety! arrogance! bravado! impatience! And that's all before your kid's had breakfast (at 11:30a.m.)  You, as a parent, will be feeling all of those (plus exciting midlife symptoms such as hot flash! indigestion! bad back!) You need to breath it out and not let things escalate into a free-for-all where you and your chick attempt to peck each other to death before he can escape the nest.

I am convinced the last month of the summer before matriculation is like the end of pregnancy: before that point, you were worried and overwhelmed and a little scared of the future. In the ninth month, however, you just want to get that kid out. So it is with August.

5. When the big day arrives, remember...it's not really your big day. Try to be as unobtrusively supportive as you can as your freshman navigates registration, the moving in process, and whatever other ceremonies and entertainments the college is putting on. (Trinity has a convocation and presidential address in the quad and we get to watch! I'm very excited.) At this point, you're  probably going to be feeling quite sentimental (taking out eldest to Smith for the first time, I had to drive because her father kept weeping when certain songs came on the radio.) But for your child, it's all looking ahead. Here and now is the start of his future. That's what you've all been working for for so long, right?

6. LEAVE at the appointed time. (And yes, wise college administrations all set appointed times nowadays.) It's okay to sit in the parking lot until you're done crying. We've all done it. And remember, Family Weekend is only a couple months away...