Rob Meline always dreamed of being an astronaut. He became a teacher instead. But the beloved faculty member at Camas Prairie Elementary in Spanaway, Washington kept a family secret. When he fell victim to it in October 2012, he became the symbol of a flawed judicial system. What his students did next was out of this world.
"Brigitte Höss lives quietly on a leafy side street in Northern Virginia. She is retired now, having worked in a Washington fashion salon for more than 30 years. She recently was diagnosed with cancer and spends much of her days dealing with the medical consequences. Brigitte also has a secret that not even her grandchildren know. Her father was Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz." [more inside]
The Big Father Essay. Some readers may find sections disturbing.
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
In 2003, the New York Times published a lengthy article by Lisa Belkin about women who were choosing to leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms: The Opt-Out Generation. In the the last ten years, the article's conclusions regarding upper-middle-class women's choices about work and motherhood have been debated, studied, rediscovered, denied, lamented, and defended. It's been noted by many that "most mothers have to work to make ends meet but the press writes mostly about the elite few who don’t." Ms. Belkin's piece also never mentioned what what a disaster divorce or the death of a spouse can create for dependent women in such situations. After a decade, the Times is revisiting the topic: The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.
The Old Man at Burning Man. "When I mentioned to friends that I was going to Burning Man with my 69-year-old father, 'Good idea' were the words out of no one's mouth."
Expedia's latest and ongoing ad campaign, "Find Your..." offers 'personal journey' stories from travelers who have used their site, with footage from their trip. Their latest entry: "Find Your Understanding," tells the story of a father traveling to his daughter's wedding. Via.
In 2002, Doug Monroe placed his parents in assisted living. A decade later, he's looking back at "the weighty financial and emotional costs that come with a parent's immortality": The Long Goodbye.
"Three days after the September 11 attacks, reporters at The New York Times, armed with stacks of homemade missing-persons fliers, began interviewing friends and relatives of the missing and writing brief portraits of their lives to create “Portraits of Grief.” Not meant to be obituaries in any traditional sense, they were informal and impressionistic, often centered on a single story or idiosyncratic detail." As we near the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Times has revisited some of the people they interviewed back then, for Profiles Redrawn. [more inside]
The Survivor. "When your family is murdered, and the home you had made together is destroyed, and you yourself are beaten and left for dead — as happened to Bill Petit on the morning of July 23, 2007 — it may as well be the end of the world. It is hard to see how a man survives the end of the world. The basics of life — waking up, walking, talking — become alien tasks, and almost impossibly heavy, as you are more dead than alive. Just how does a man go about surviving such a thing? How does a man go on? ... Why does one man come undone while the next finds a way to make it through?" [more inside]
'These children don’t recognize the flags of their home countries, but they can all sing "Jesus Loves Me."'
Salon.com's "Real Families" section features personal essays about modern family life submitted by their readers. [more inside]