by Mary Jo Hazard
Last August 11th, Robin Williams committed suicide. He left three adult children to cope with his death—heartbroken, without a choice.
On September 26, 1972, my father shot himself. It was my sister’s birthday. He sat on my old twin bed, in the bedroom my sister and I had shared as children, and Continue reading
Several years ago, I worked as a therapist in a child abuse treatment center. I counseled victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse and traumatic loss. Melanie (not her real name) was one of these children. One afternoon in March, I was at my desk in the treatment center. Melanie’s mother was circling the block in her car honking the horn and screaming “Mel-an-ie, get out here. Get the f… out here.” Continue reading
Pollyanna Prewitt followed her father up the cracked sidewalk to the dilapidated house on the edge of the graveyard. She stopped to tie her shoe.
“Come on, Polly, “Lester said. He set the shovel down, fished the house key out of his back pocket and waited for her. “It’s almost dark and the fog’s moving in.” Continue reading
1. Swimming in my “day of the week” underwear
2. Licking the spoon when my mom baked cookies
3. Jumping in rain puddles
4. Digging in the dirt to make mud pies for giants
5. Catching fireflies and putting them in jars to light up my room
6. Sitting my mom’s lap while she read my favorite book
7. Flying kites near the beach
8. Playing jump rope
10. Checking as many books as I could carry out of the library
What were your top ten things?
A year ago, I leaned on the wall behind Point Vicente Interpretive Center, took out my binoculars, and scanned the ocean for grey whales. I watched the sun shimmer off the water and playful dolphins skim the waves not far from shore. Above me, a flock of pelicans flew in a straight line. And then a grey whale breached!
Driving home, I thought about the natural beauty of the peninsula and how fortunate our children are to live here. I decided to write P is for Palos Verdes, an alphabet book, encouraging them to explore the wonders of Palos Verdes from A to Z.
Today’s children have lots of stress. They’re driven everywhere–school, sports, lessons and play dates. Their lives are closely supervised and little time is spent outside in the natural world.
Yet here we have an unbelievable place for parents and children to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. And when children grow up with a love and understanding of their environment, they develop a sense of personal responsibility to care for it.