One of my earliest body memories is when I was 6. My family was going away for the weekend with our friends. It was Labor Day weekend and I noticed that my housecoat (bathrobe in American) was missing a button. I endeavored to sew one on, finding the basket where thread, needles and scissors lived. I settled onto the carpet to sew the button, threading the needle and with one hand reached across the space for the scissors and put my hand down on the carpet, feeling a prick. I rubbed my hand and didn’t think much of it. I sewed the button on my pink quilted housecoat, cleaned up the supplies and returned them to the sewing basket.

We drove to Lake George in the Adirondacks of New York state, 4 or 5 hours from our house. I began to experience a dull ache in my hand and told my parents about it. The next day I swam in the lake and likely played marathon Monopoly with our friends. During the night my hand began to ache and I woke my parents up. They gave me baby aspirin and told me to go back to sleep. My mother told our hosts what was going on the following day. The friend was a pediatrician and examined my hand. She assumed that I was getting an infection and gave me antibiotics for the rest of the weekend. The pain continued and intensified, I cried and cried and no one understood why.

On Tuesday morning, on what would have been my first day of the first grade, my mother took me to the emergency room. The doctor examined my hand and scratched his head, poking a little more, perplexed as all the adults were. According to my mother, a nurse attending this procedure asked, “Do you think something is in her hand?”

I was in emergency surgery a short time later where they extracted an entire needle, broken in half, and a piece of thread still threaded through its eye. I was in the hospital for a week. The staff soaked my hand in some kind of antibiotic solution. My mother cried uncontrollably because she thought I would lose the use of my hand or have it amputated. Although my hand hurt, I enjoyed the time in the hospital because all the of the nurses came into the room and colored with me, there was a man nurse who I thought was handsome, and my father came to see me after work and brought me a doll. A doll. She was blonde like me! I was so happy. This was a time when parents couldn’t sleep at the hospital with their kids.

I recuperated at home then returned to school several weeks after it began. I tried desperately to write with my left hand. Never happened. I am right-handed and my handwriting remains illegible. I have a scar the length of my palm which only had 3 stitches. It gives pause to palm readers every time.

When I was 22 years-old I moved to San Francisco from New Jersey. I arrived for a visit but in less than two weeks I was subletting a room in the Haight-Ashbury district and had found employment. Less than 2 months after that I got the lease on my own place with two roommates andContinue Reading

There is a pot on the stove, steam rising. A dry smell emits itself and the children ask, “What’s for dinner?” Potatoes and Chicken. Potatoes and beef. Potatoes and a pork chop. My favorite: potatoes and cottage cheese. My mother is a terrible cook. My father has a sensitive stomach which is always called anContinue Reading

I think it’s brave that you go to Whole Foods even though you might run into someone you know and have an awkward conversation about why you’ve been out of touch for months. I think it’s brave that you continue to attend Yoga classes because someone might ask you how you are and you mightContinue Reading

Where I am from (I really wish I had more photos–working on it) I am from the Hackensack River and its tributary, the creek which runs under Baylor Avenue. I am from the dams we built there, to clog up the water flow so we felt like civil engineers. I am from mosquitoes which hatchedContinue Reading

Letter to my younger self Dear very young Danielle, Have fun and smile just as much as you used to but don’t be such a pushover. Don’t think that you need so much good feedback from everyone — be yourself and know that you’re really smart. Don’t worry about what your mom’s and dad’s friendsContinue Reading

Hush Child and listen (rough draft) You don’t listen enough and sometimes you listen too much so that you are underlistening and sometimes overlistening–what is the right. balance? You need to hush to hear the rain, you need to hush to hear the sunshine, you need to hush to hear the cat’s purr, you needContinue Reading

The names have been changed to protect the innocent. My friendship was with a girl named Cindy. She was my neighbor through the woods, back in the day when walking through the woods was safe and we weren’t in danger’s path from wolves and rapists. Wendy was my age and she and her family movedContinue Reading

1974 Vacation Remember when family holidays were the coolest thing ever? Most likely this was before you turned thirteen, and still liked your parents at least a little bit. One of our most epic family vacations occurred when I was nine. My father flew us out to Los Angeles from New Jersey where he hadContinue Reading

I recently took an online women’s writing course and each week we were prompted to write about something. The teacher would give a lecture about writing and how we might access memories about the topic. When we were prompted to write about our grandmothers’ arms, each woman who shared told the story of their grandmothers’Continue Reading