The axe for the frozen sea…

Kafka said that a book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Chuck Radke’s stirring, at times heartbreaking memoir, Stuccoville: Life Without a Net, is such an axe. When I finished reading, I was in tears. I wanted to stand up and cheer the author’s unflinching honesty and filial devotion. Weeks later,Continue reading “The axe for the frozen sea…”

The night a beautiful lady soared on the trapeze in Fresno — and came crashing down

from the Fresno Bee, Sept. 8, 2021.by Chuck Radke Few Fresnans alive today will recognize the name Brenda Jones Cuttin. In fact, I may be the only one. I think about Brenda every year about this time, specifically on my birthday, September 8th. I have thought of her every September 8th since 1977, which ifContinue reading “The night a beautiful lady soared on the trapeze in Fresno — and came crashing down”

A Story of Survival, Acceptance, and Grace

A review of Stuccoville: Life Without a Net, by Corrinne Clegg Hales Stuccoville explores the profoundly interdependent relationship between a boy and his mother, whose chronic and increasingly debilitating illness shapes both of their lives. Charles Radke tells this remarkable story without blinders or sentimentality, without flinching from harsh details, or from his own culpability or anyone else’s.  A gifted storyteller, he makes excellent use of detail and image, and his gritty descriptions of Fresno’s west sideContinue reading “A Story of Survival, Acceptance, and Grace”

“He Wasn’t a Saint…”

A review of Stuccoville: Life Without a Net, by Tammy Ruggles Stuccoville: Life Without a Net by Charles Lewis Radke is a poignant memoir about a mother/son relationship. Radke tells of his impoverished childhood, having little to eat besides tomato sandwiches, caring for his mother, who was ill with lupus, and dealing with the voidContinue reading ““He Wasn’t a Saint…””

This Is Where I Stand

Photo Credit: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images For my son A young acquaintance of mine at a summer camp where we work told me at breakfast the other day that, because of my age, I am now part of a “protected class.”  “Protected from what?” I asked. There were about a hundred things that came to mindContinue reading “This Is Where I Stand”

Some of Us Have Never Left

A note to Gold Arrow Camp’s summer 2021 Staff: Tomorrow is arrival day for the 2021 Gold Arrow Camp staff, which means a whole bunch of college kids will arrive here on the shores of Huntington Lake with their summer lives crammed in plastic drawers and their T-shirts labeled with camp nicknames, a decades-long traditionContinue reading “Some of Us Have Never Left”

No Shot for You

Last Friday, after receipt of an email from a local school district’s office of human resources, I successfully registered for and secured a slot for my Covid vaccination at another county’s department of public health. I answered every item on the form forthrightly. The vaccine was only for educators over the age of 50, withContinue reading “No Shot for You”