• DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale smiles at Grandpa Tom before wedding
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: On the Phone with My Dad

    It was those early days in the pandemic, and I spent most of the time during the day with my kids and my students, but in the late afternoons, I talked to my dad. Evenings had become a race to bedtime so I could spend the rest of night on the phone with Chris. It was a weird – and somehow happy – existence. One day as I began to prepare dinner in the late afternoon, I called my dad. We spoke on FaceTime as I chopped vegetables, and he told me stories about what was happening in my hometown. How were we doing in DC? Was I feeling okay?…

  • Grandpa Tom, father of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale, hugs a friend
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Aren’t We Lucky?

    “Aren’t we lucky?” When I was a kid, it was one of my dad’s favorite phrases to say. When he’d realize that frozen grape juice concentrate was on sale or that my mom had made stir-fry or that the local newspaper was delivered early, he’d smile as though he’d won the lottery. As a young child, I was delighted in how he embraced serendipity, but as I approached the teen years, I thought it was annoying. “Listen! It’s my favorite song on the radio!” he’d say in his characteristic Texas twang, and I’d retort, “Dad, every song is your favorite song.” He never let my teenage doubts get to him.…

  • Family of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale in the kitchen
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Playing on the Roof

    Tommy greeted me breathlessly at the door, screaming “Mama!” and throwing himself in my arms. I was late, again. Teaching was supposed to be a job where you got home early, but that first fall without Shawn there seemed to be too many students who needed my help and too many papers to grade. I was getting home when the sun was low in the sky almost every day. “I’m sorry I’m late,” I said as I stepped in the door. Inside were a half-dozen kids and I could hear more upstairs.  I went and greeted my dad, who was reading in the recliner, seemingly oblivious to the noise around…

  • Grandpa Tom, father of DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Claire Doesn’t Want the Goldfish Crackers

    We never really talked about the division of labor in the house when my dad arrived, as I basically needed him to do everything Shawn and I had once done together: packing lunches and folding laundry and walking kids to neighborhood birthday parties. When Shawn was in the hospital, and then immediately after he died, my dad never asked much about what he needed to do. He mostly just figured it out. My youngest son, Tommy, was in preschool at our church, a short walk from our house. I couldn’t face the sympathetic faces I knew I’d encounter at the school, so I let my dad take over the task…

  • Mother of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley Hale takes photo
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: To Me, She Glowed From Within

    I was in the backseat and my father was driving. The car was a blue station wagon, the same car that half of the families in my hometown drove. The vinyl seat stuck to my 7-year-old legs even though the air conditioning was on in the car. The air conditioning was always on in the summer, as my mom would get upset if it got too warm in the car. I was sweaty from running around with my friends in the warmth of the early evening, so even with the cool air, my legs were plastered to the seat. I lifted them up over and over again, trying to find…

  • Fall leaves for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley Hale
    From the Archives

    From the Archives: Dating…It’s Just Like Improv!

    “Just make sure you’re always meeting in a public place,” my dad said, one night after I told him about an upcoming date I had. He was lying in the recliner, dressed in an old t-shirt and some sweatpants, an outfit that he only wore to bed. It was 8:30, which was close to his bedtime, and I teased him a little. “What do you think I’m going to do, have some guy I’ve never met over for 5:30 dinner with the kids?”  He didn’t reply. He merely raised his eyebrows and slightly pursed his lips. I knew he thought online dating was risky. “Just look, Dad,” I said, showing…