The East Coast Diaries, Part I

It happens this way …

The second trip of 2019 took us to New Jersey and Philadelphia. We spent June 28-June 30 at the Mt. St. Mary House of Prayer, a lovely retreat center run by my dear Sisters of Mercy.

On Friday, I shared the lectern for a poetry reading with my long-time friend and teacher, Sister Maria Cordis. We read to an appreciative group in the beautiful chapel at McAuley Hall, the Sisters’ nursing home.


On Saturday, I presented a poetry workshop to a group of former students, sister/friends, and area folks who love poetry. As always, these students taught me a few things about poetry – even my own — that I hadn’t thought of before. That’s the mystery of art: it keeps unfolding even after the artist thinks a piece is done.



Sister Linda, Me, Sisters Rosemary, Carole, and Mary Jo cracking up on the front porch. I’ve known Linda since 2nd grade and the other beautiful women since I was 18. Lots of history together!


My former students from Mt. St. Mary Academy: Diane Celentano Leahy (’72), Ampy Pikarsky (’72), Mary Lou DiDia (’72), and Eileen Burke (’75). What astute students — still!

On Sunday, June 30, I met my mom and brothers at the Washington Crossing Inn for a reunion brunch. We hadn’t been all together since 2005. John will retire next year from teaching Social Studies at Marist High School in Atlanta at age 70. Gerry is a lawyer who is the go-to-guy who lives near mom and is on-call when she needs help. But, at age 95, her motto is “I’ll do it my way” and she figures a lot of things out for herself.


Me, Gerry, Mom, John


A thought about the first leg of this trip: You can go home again if you remember to be the new and improved self you’ve become after you left. I’m pondering that.




  1. “You can go home again if you remember to be the new and improved self you’ve become after you left.” I, too shall ponder this over the next 10 days as I prepare for my journey home on the 19th. Think I will write this out and put it on the fridge and mirror in the bathroom as my new affirmation… Thanks, Carolyn!

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