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.