E.L. Doctorow took the art of historical novels a step beyond by reimagining historical figures as fictional characters. In his most famous work, the 1975 best-seller Ragtime, Doctorow, who passed away on July 21 in New York at age 84, set a cast that includes Harry Houdini, Sigmund Freud, Henry Ford and Booker T. Washington interact in scenes that never happened and yet reveal so much about the characters.
In 1902, 16 years old and alone, my grandmother set sail from Cork, Ireland, to a new life in America. She landed in New York and found work as a maid with a wealthy family whose physician suggested she train as a nurse. She didn't have a high school diploma but talked her way into nursing school. After graduating, she joined the Red Cross and was deployed to French hospitals near the front lines of World War I. Terrified by all she witnessed, Grandma made a promise that if she survived she'd to go to Mass daily - twice on Sunday - and did almost to the day she died.
When it comes to gift-giving, Father's Day ranks in last place among holidays, generating $7 billion less in spending than Mother's Day. Of the average $113.80 spent on gifts, much will be for boring stuff from ties to lawn trimmers. Try giving Mom a gift like that for her day!
This is a guest post by Melanie Mantenieks. Mantenieks is a 2nd generation European American who has a strong interest in humanitarian efforts, geography, travel, and international studies. She lives in Illinois with her Latvian American boyfriend and three cats.
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