The Emperor’s tattered clothes

Judging from the decibel level of parent and teacher complaints about what is occurring in St. Paul schools, you’d think the district administration and board members would be scrambling to address the concerns. Not so. Instead, they continue to march to their own tune, oblivious to what’s actually occurring in district classrooms. After all, they believe their new policies are working—it’s the carping stakeholders who can’t see the newly-wrought marvels. Continue Reading

Great-Grandma’s fur coat

As coats made from the pelts of animals go, the one that I inherited three years ago probably wasn’t that expensive: It isn’t mink, beaver, sable, or even fox. Rather, it’s made from the pelts of brown rabbits, dyed black. We figure it came to my Austro-Hungarian great-grandma in the 1930s; family lore has it that Great-Uncle Ted presented it as a gift to his mother. Continue Reading

Too many people have died

by Rosemary Ruffenach, September 22, 2009 • 


“Yes, n how many deaths will it take till he knows


That too many people have died?”


— from Blowin’ in the Wind by Peter, Paul and Mary Continue Reading

Berry pickin’

by Rosemary Ruffenach | August 10, 2009 • Blueberries, Gooseberries, Raspberries—Red and Purple. Eventually, no matter how urgent my other Saturday tasks, I have to heed the siren call of berry picking. It’s one of my summer traditions, and if missed, fall and winter breakfasts are less tasty. But in fact, that’s not really what my berry-picking expeditions are all about.

When I was a kid, about every ten days in July and August, we’d get a call from my grandmother saying the raspberries were ready for picking. Continue Reading

Décor deficiencies

by Rosemary Ruffenach • August 25, 2008 • Psychologists tell us that moving to a new home is one of the most stressful of life events. New neighbors, new routines, new routes to work all tax our coping systems, which is why I had postponed a move that I knew was inevitable. But, as August arrived, I thought I was mentally ready to meet these life challenges. What I hadn’t been warned about was facing my own inadequacies in home furnishing.

Continue Reading

The perfect time to fall in love . . .

by Rosemary Ruffenach, 6/9/08 • “There is someone out there for everyone,” began the essay. Yeah, yeah. “It was the perfect time to fall in love,” Emma’s memoir continued. I sighed. The memoir assignment routinely elicited tales of teen-age love lost, as well as of childhood accidents, disastrous first jobs and best friends gone missing. However, in the next sentences I realized this story was different. It was the perfect time for love to appear, said Emma, because right then her problems were so gigantic that it seemed they would never get better. Drugs? Abuse?

Continue Reading