Tina Traster, Essayist
Hey Dad, Listen to This (Damsel
When I was in my mid-twenties my father mentioned he spent the first seven years of his life living on a farm in Colchester, Connecticut, before moving to Brooklyn. “No, you didn’t!” I protested, thinking he was yanking my chain, as he often did. “You’re a Brooklyn kid,” I insisted.
“Well, not really,” he said with a straight face. . . . Read more at: http://damselflypress.net
Shine the Light (www.Mothering.com)
He’d managed to live in isolation on a 67-acre farm all his life. He had six siblings but they weren’t interested in perpetuating a way of life his parents and grandparents knew. The 1920s paint-peeled farmhouse was his and his alone. Mr. Pulda never took a wife nor had children. He was 72, still sturdy enough to ride a tractor and nudge a stubborn cow.
Nobody in the suburb that grew around Mr. Pulda’s farm paid much attention to the old man. Toothless and grizzled, he scared kids when he occasionally went to the strip mall. That wasn’t too often. Mr. Pulda lived in a world that no longer existed. As long as he had his acreage to demarcate his life, it made sense to him. He was completely shocked when I told him town officials were trying to buy his farm right out from under him, without his permission. The mayor and his cronies were up to mischief. This would make a great newspaper story. My editors agreed. It had the elements editors love: A David and Goliath conflict with the lore of a farmer in suburbia. The intricacies of town law and how it can be exploited to undermine the unsuspecting. Read more at: http://www.modernloverejects.com/?p=1496
Apples In Winter (WAMC
Northeast Public Radio) The Roundtable
Backyard Brooding (WAMC
Northeast Public Radio) The Roundtable / Performance Place.
Love Learned (Mamazina Magazine)
The Shed (www.thenervousbreakdown.com)
They emerge from
a low-slung black sports car. I’m standing in a cloud of cologne, introducing
them to Canarsie High School’s Class of 1979. My dad’s eyes narrow. These boys
are not from here. They are older. Much older. Maybe 21 or 23. They are working
boys and they are great dancers too. The one with the cherry-blond hair looks
like Robert Redford, only the Italian version. I hope they will not be bored
with us. I fiddle with my halter.
Since I scheduled
the appointment two weeks ago, I’ve tried to press the thought into the furthest
corner of my mind. There is nowhere in my mind for
the thought to hide. Instead, I count down. Twelve
more days. Seven days. 36 hours. This time tomorrow…
The Mom Egg (www.themomegg.com)
The child didn’t say, “What’s a
pimp, Daddy?” But even if he had, that would have been okay.
Folded Word Press
National Public Radio
New York House Magazine - June 2008
On my 25th birthday, I was aboard a yacht in Greece. I turned 35 on the Italian Riviera.
I celebrated 45 in Valley Cottage, a sweet hamlet in Rockland County where my family and I live after relocating from Manhattan's Upper West Side two years ago.
I once journeyed to all corners of the world. Passport agents had trouble finding blank spots to issue stamps. By the time my daughter was two—and we were still living in Manhattan—she'd been to London, Moscow, and Portugal. Read Essay
New York House Magazine - August 2007
Summering at a tumble-down lake house in the Catskills liberated me from the absurd notion that I had to raise my family on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The flower-scented air, brooding mountains, and starry night skies inspired me to ditch the co-op and buy a 150-year-old farmhouse perched on a hill overlooking acres of woods in Rockland County. Not exactly the Catskills, but a step closer to greener pastures.
My daughter was two when my husband and I, and our two cats, rented the lake house. Over three summers, the little wooden two-story Arts and Crafts–style house on Ulster Lake ruined my appetite for urban living. Swimming bare-assed in the lake, picking wildflowers, and napping in the grass reawakened feelings I last felt as a teen in summer camp in Delaware County. Read Essay
Inside Magazine - Winter 2003
My teeth clattered as my husband and I waited on the windswept, snow-drenched runway to board the Aeroflot jetliner from Moscow to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia. As we crossed the tarmac and climbed the stairs, I caught a lasting glance of the pelting storm walloping the frost-encrusted plane in the winter darkness. Tears slid down my checks. When we sat down in our sardine-sized seats, I said to my husband, “Do we really want a baby this badly?”
Half joke, half-truth, I felt nothing but panic when the plane taxied off the runway and lifted into the black January night. Siberia. A baby we knew merely from a three-minute videotape. We were journeying into the unknown. Read EssayThe Bergen Record - August 16, 1998
Yes Ma'am, Men Are Plentiful Here
Forget Big Sky country. Montana is "Big Guy" country, a place where men fish and golf and dance the two-step. This is a land where a man extends a rough, leathery hand, whisks you onto the dance floor, and teaches you to waltz in 15 minutes. Who needs Arthur Murray? Men out here say "Yes, ma'am," even when they're having impolite thoughts. And hiking and rafting guides look suspiciously like Brad Pitt. Read Essay
The rabbi at Hevrah Synagogue in Stockbridge, Massachusetts welcomed the
congregants to rise for the kaddish, the mourner's prayer. The setting was
cozy, and the rabbi asked each mourner to name the deceased and state
their relationship. I hesitated for a moment, wondering whether it was
appropriate to stand for a four-legged creature, my beloved shih tzu, but
my husband nudged me with his eyes. "Chelsea, my dog," I said, when my
turn came. The rabbi nodded, and I collapsed into tears. It had been
months since Chelsea died, but the pain seared through my flesh and bones.
The Bergen Record
My husband and I had two plane tickets to Israel, where we planned to stay for a week.
And then, on April 6, Hamas, an extremist Muslim group that opposes peace with Israel, killed seven Israelis in a car bombing in Afula. The next day, a Palestinian fatally shot one and wounded four Israelis in Ashdod. Islamic Jihad, another militant group, claimed responsibility for the second incident, but both groups said the attacks were carried out to avenge the Hebron mosque bombing, which killed at least 29 Palestinians. Hamas promised more violence. Read Essay
Animal Fair -
I knew she would be perfect for him. Those long legs, come-hither eyes, wicked waggle. She's playful, but demure. She doesn't eat off his plate (not until he's finished) - some guys really hate that. And she rolls onto her back pretty easily.
When I first set eyes on Chloe, I knew she was right for Chelsea (a male). I hopped right to the matchmaking. In no time flat, they were like two birds in a nest, or more literally, two New York City dogs who are left alone most of the day because their dog parents are out working to pay for designer pet food. Read Essay